FROM THIS week lay people will he able to officiate at weddings, sit on marriage tribunals and receive Holy Communion as many times as they attend Mass.
These are some of the effects of the new Code of Canon Law which came into force on Sunday.
The universal Church from now on will be bound to observe abstinence from flesh meats on Fridays, unless the local bishops' conference has made other specific provisions.
The bishops of England and Wales are still deliberating what Friday penance would he most suitable to impose here. In
the meantime they have asked the Vatican for permission to carry on as before with each person choosing his own penance.
The Pope has urged careful study of the new code so that Church life may be "more profound, more united and better ordered".
Speaking to a group of students at Rome's Gregorian University. he called the text of the new code "the fruit of a remarkable collegial work" and a "sign of true communion."
The new code binds the Latin rite Church. Eastern Canon Law is being revised separately.