Gary F. Bell  (Nat’l U. of Singapore Faculty of Law) has posted Religious Legal Pluralism Revisited – The Status of the Roman Catholic Church and Her Canon Law in Singapore. The abstract follows.

By religious legal pluralism we usually mean state-recognised legal pluralism, such as the kind of legal pluralism implemented in Singapore through the Administration of Muslim Law Act. But there is also religious legal pluralism outside State recognition and enforcement. Many religions have very long legal traditions which have survived, often without much support or official recognition by States (Jewish law, for example). In this paper we shall look at one such tradition, the canon law of the Latin Church of the Roman Catholic Church and its implementation by the Church in Singapore, including the establishment of very busy ecclesiastical tribunals in Singapore to administer disputes relating to the possible nullity of religious marriages, for example. The hope is that this example of Canon Law in Singapore will show that there can be very detailed and formal religious laws implemented by formal institutions such as tribunals outside the ambit of the State.

One thought on “Bell on The Status of the Roman Catholic Church and Canon Law in Singapore

  1. In some countries, such as Israel, religious courts adjudicate most personal status matters. I presume that includes Roman Catholic courts as well as Jewish, Muslim and other courts. In India, marriages between two members of the same relitgious community must be religious marriages. I don’t know about dissolution of marriage, custody over children, inheritance, etc.

    I doubt these nations are unique. It is rational for nations committed to support of a religious tradition to recognize the courts of minority religions to the extent they recognize those of the predominant confession. Certainly, a nation that wants to delegate powers to religious courts is not likely to want to delegate interpretation of any religious law to secular courts.

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