Vol 21 No 2 2014

The Structures of the Sensus Fidelium and Canon Law Part II

Anthony Ekpo

Abstract

More than fifty years ago Pope John XXIII convoked the Second Vatican Council to which about 2,500 bishops were invited from all over the world. It was at this council, and in its reception over the years, that the sensus fidelium was re-discovered as an ecclesial reality and a theological insight that has characterized the Church since its inception. The central question of this study is how the sensus fidelium is expressed and received in the Church through the post-conciliar canonical norms and structures, since the post-conciliar legislation is believed to be the canonical reception of the ecclesial and theological insights rediscovered at Vatican II. In other words, the study investigates the sensus fidelium, highlighting particularly, how the post-conciliar canonical norms and structures aid its expression and reception in the Church. The study identifies canonical structures such as the parish pastoral council, finance council, presbyteral council and college of consultors, diocesan curia, diocesan synod, Synod of Bishops, Roman Curia and ecumenical dialogue, as structures of the sensus fidelium. It argues that, when these canonical structures are used to their fullest potential, they can be useful instruments for the expression and reception of the sensus fidelium in the Church.