Bishop Emeritus of Grosseto
Rector of the Pontifical Lateran University
It is always useful to collect into one volume the writings of authors who have offered a significant contribution to a given field of knowledge, whether it be directed to specialists, or to those who are beginning to study the subject.
With regard to the scholarly career of Corecco, the Bishop of Lugano who has prematurely passed away, the value of such a collection of writings is still more precious. The great majority of his contributions to canon law – which many hold to be of decisive importance for the formation of an adequate theory of canon law – are found scattered in specialized journals, in dictionaries and encyclopedias, in the acts of conferences and other collective works. Furthermore, many of the contributions were motivated by particular circumstances.
Thus in the writings of Corecco we encounter an organic reflection on canon law, considered in its full right as a theological discipline, together with an in-depth study of various particular themes. Despite the apparently heterogeneous nature of these themes, a precise web of thought unifies Corecco’s scholarly contributions.
There were two tenets which allowed Corecco to develop in an original way the conception of law which he learned from Mörsdorf, in regard to method and content.
In the first issue of the journal Communio (1972), which dealt with the question of participation and of “representation” within the Church, the professor from Fribourg began a special theological-canonistic investigation of the notion of communio which, beginning with the texts of the Council, helped illuminate some new aspects. The continuation of these studies then allowed our Author to show how the Catholic concept of communio is capable of expressing the rich network connecting the ecclesial-sacramental nature of Christian existence with the anthropology which it entails, and which is tied to the categories of substance and of relation which are well expressed by the notion of communio personarum. This network is based on Revelation understood as the event of Jesus Christ, and reveals the contemporaneousness of the incarnate Son of God with all men of all times.
The category of communio becomes, in this way, the key methodological principle for the scientific development of the second tenet in the thought of the Bishop of Lugano. This tenet, correctly understood, is a development which is formally distinct from the notion of communion: the co-essentiality of the charismatic dimension with respect to the institutional element in the constitution of the Church. The contribution of Corecco at the Assembly of the Synod of Bishops concerning the figure of the lay person was very significant in this regard. His precision and scientific equilibrium can be seen, for example, in the careful distinction he made between the co-essentiality of this charismatic dimension and the historical contingency of every charism.
One aspect of the legacy we have received from Bishop Corecco is the task of forming a deeper understanding of these two categories, both from the point of view of dogmatic theology as well as of canon law.
Therefore it is to be hoped that the present collection, prolonging the selfless ecclesial service rendered by Bishop Corecco, will show how the law of the Church can be an instrument in the building up of the communio catholica. This is because it guarantees the freedom of each and everyone on the basis of an equitable evaluation of the varied subjective situations, according to the celebrated definition that Corecco chose as his episcopal motto: “in omnibus aequitas quae est Deus.”