Under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, as promised by the DivineFounder (Jn 14: 16 & 26), the Church has always been at work
for the eternal salvation of men. Empowered by God "to bind and to loose" (Mt.16:19), she has been guiding the faithful not only with her teachings but also with her wise laws.
give a rightful place to the laws of the Church in its task of taking care of the Lord's flock in the Philippines, The Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines organized a Commission on Canon Law.
This started as a simple committee on Canon law. It was established in 1958, when the Decrees of the First Plenary Council of the Philippines were approved by the Sacred Consistorial Congregation in Rome (now the Sacred
Congregation of Bishops), and then promulgated by the CBCP. The committee on Canon Law was tasked to give an authentic interpretation of these decrees.
After the Vatican II, when His Holiness, Pope Paul VI
established a Pontifical Commission to revise the 1917 Code of Canon Law, our Committee on Canon Law was raised to the rank of a commission, with Archbishop Mabutas as Chairman. He relinquished this position when he was
elected President of CBCP, and was succeeded by Archbishop Mauel Salvador who was Chairman from 1978 to 1993, when he requested the bishops not to re-elect him anymore. Archbishop Alberto Piamonte was then elected
Chairman of the Commission.
According to CBCP Constitution and By-laws this commission istasked to do studies and make recommendations to the CBCP topromote and organize updating seminars on Canon Law for
bishops, priests, religious and laity; to assist dioceses in preparing personnel for the chancery, for the matrimonial tribunal, and in general to look after canonical matters. Since the beginning the Commission
has been faithfully complying with tasks entrusted to it.
When the Code of Canon Law was being revised in Rome and the Episcopal Conferences of the world were to collaborate, the members of the CBCP
Commission on Canon Law, together with the expert canonists of the Faculty of Canon Law of the Pontifical University of Santo Thomas in Manila, carefully studied the questionaires from Rome and made recommendations to
the CBCP. These were approved in plenary session and sent to Rome.
When Rome promulgated the new Code of Canon Law in 1983, the CBCP Commission on Canon Law was tasked with formulating the
complementary norms for the Philippines, in order to inculturate the universal laws of the Church to the particular circumstances of the country. The Commission's proposals were again approved by the CBCP, and later
confirmed by the Holy See with some revisions.
After the revision of the Code of Canon Law, the CBCP Constitution and By-laws also needed revision. The Commision made several drafts, then sent a final draft
to the CBCP Plenary Assembly which approved it. The Holy See also confirmed it with some modifications.
Among the Commissions' other canonical tasks are the approval of national shrines, renewal of
faculties from the Holy See, and the withdrawal of faculties of priests who do not accept the New Order of the Mass.
With the recent organization of the Canon Law Society of the Philippines, a speakers'
bureau was formed upon the request of the current chairman, to continue Canon law seminars in dioceses which opt to have them.