Digest of terms
rules formulated in some religious traditions to set out the preferred order of their corporate life; it has its secular equivalent in party political or trade union decrees and rule books. In Christianity the tradition may be seen as beginning at the so-called Council of Jerusalem, as recorded in the New Testament in Acts 15. It is variously developed in councils of church leaders, in both Eastern (Orthodox) and Western (Roman Catholic) churches. With the overlap between Christendom and the countries of Europe, aspects of canon law also became civil law in some of them (e.g. the Republic of Ireland), though never so in the US, with its strict separation of church and state. Whilst that may continue in some respects, it cannot in all, given the growing influence of liberalism, and the correlative need for modern restatements of distinctive church teachings has given rise to new versions of canon law, as found in both Anglican and Roman Catholic traditions. See http://canonlaw.anglican.org.