Canon Law and Legal Definition

Canon law refers to laws and regulations over church-related matters developed between circa 1100 and 1500 and used by the Roman Catholic Church. Canon law is the body of laws and regulations made by or adopted by ecclesiastical authority, for the government of the Christian organization and its members. Canon laws deal with personal morality, status and powers of the clergy, administration of the sacraments and church and personal discipline. It encompasses ordinances of general councils of the church, decrees, bulls and epistles of the Popes, and the scriptures and writings of the early fathers of the church. Canon law in binding within the Vatican in Rome, Italy, and in those nations in which the Catholic Church is the "official" church, but not in state and federal courts.