Progress in juridic science
Juridic science must progress, just as any other science. Otherwise it stagnates and loses vitality. By means of continuous reflection it needs to seek deeper insights on major questions that have always been at its very basis, such as the relation of truth and justice; or on the juridic treatment to be given to what may be considered new but are certainly not secondary themes, such as the definition and legal protection of human rights; or again on lesser but still important topics, such as the way of accelerating legal procedures without violation of due process or detriment to justice.
"Married personalism" (the debate on this site between Professor Rik Torfs of Louvain and myself) has provoked quite a number of email comments from readers. While Prof Torfs and I are very good friends, our views on the topic of Married Personalism are quite different; which of course is why we could debate. It might be helpful if I here attempt a very brief summary of my views on two points in particular: married personalism and the good of the spouses.
"A matrimonial contract cannot validly exist between baptized persons unless it is also a sacrament by that fact". So runs canon 1055, § 2 of the 1983 Code reproducing literally canon 1012, § 2 of the pio-benedictine Code. This word-for-word reproduction is all the more striking in view of the many suggestions and efforts made over the twenty years of drafting of the new Code, to have this paragraph of the old canon 1012 changed. If the suggestions were not accepted in the end, this would seem to be because, while the pastoral concerns behind them were understandable enough, they were not held to correspond to sound theological (and therefore to sound juridic) thinking.
Rules of interpretation