Monday, November 24, 2008

Surprise Visitor in Class

Today in Class we had a surprise visitor - dutifully arranged by our Marriage Law teacher Fr. Kowal, S.J.  He reminded us that November 27th of this year is the 25th anniversary of the effectual start of the New Code of Canon Law in the Latin Church (it having been promulgated on January 25th, 1983, and after a vacatio legis of some 10 months, came into effect on the First Sunday of Advent 1983)  One of the major collaborators in that momentous work (which I am now devoting considerable amounts of time to learning) was none other than the Gregorian University's own Urbano Cardinal Navarrete, S.J.  

I guess if you're famous enough you get a wikipedia entry:

Urbano Cardinal Navarrete Cortés, S.J. (born May 25, 1920) is a Professor of Canon Law and former Rector of the Pontifical Gregorian University. He was made Cardinal in 2007.

Urbano Navarrete Cortés was born in Camarena de la Sierra, Teruel; his father was named José Navarrete Esteban. He entered the Society of Jesus on June 20, 1937, after his licentiate in philosophy and in theology he obtained a doctorate in canon law. Navarrete was ordained to the priesthood on May 31, 1952, during the International Eucharistic Congress. A world renowned canonist, he then served as Dean of the Faculty of Canon Law at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome until 1980, when he was appointed rector. Navarrete was granted an honorary doctorate by the Pontifical University of Salamanca, in his native Spain, in 1994, and is a consultor to the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments in the Roman Curia.

On October 17, 2007, Pope Benedict XVI announced that he would elevate Navarrete and twenty-two other prelates to the College of Cardinals. The Pope agreed with Navarrete's request to be dispensed from the requirement of episcopal ordination, and, at the consistory in St. Peter's Basilica on November 24, 2007, he was created Cardinal Deacon of S. Ponziano. As he is above the age of 80, he is not eligible for participation in a papal conclave.

That was a nice treat and a little break from the tediousness of the canons themselves.  It is always interesting to get the insight that only a man with such a closness to and amount of time spent with a particular subject can bring.  Cardinal Navarette is truly a master of Canon Law and has shaped its understanding for the better part of half a century!  This is one of those instances of being at the feet of the master ad liminum Magistri - soaking in the collected wisdom of practical insight and lived experience.  He is a humble man who has gained the respect given him not by demanding it from others as a simple 'rite of passage' granted to one's elders.  But rather from working diligently and competently in the vineyard producing a consistent, rational exposition of the portion of the universe of knowledge entrusted to him.  A rare man, a rare experience and definitely a welcome surprise!

1 comment:

Fr Paul said...

Knowing how boring Fr Kowal is I am sure that you would welcome any distraction!