XVI-1 - L'exception à la loi (2011)

Revue des Facultés de Théologie et de Philosophie


Bernard Plongeron - In the name of just law, should the tyrant be killed?

Inhabited by Saint Thomas's teachings, in the classical era of monarchies, theologians (reformed and Catholic) call forth recourse to tyrannicide to defend a just law (and not people's freedom first) against sacral power which a source of despotism. This applies all the more to the 16th century and beginning of 17th century as social norms are upset by constant calls for murder in dynastic troubles, wars of religion, religious persecutions. The Vindiciae contra tyrannos are, maybe, the most beautiful jewels of this literature. With a semantic slippage, tyrannicide is called regicide (murder of Henri the 3rd and Henri the 4th) set up as parricide, therefore still more horrendous for monarchy supporters. In the 18th century tyrannicidal argumentation starts off again with the practice of absolutism. Jesuits fall to suspicion; Jansenists invent a hypothetical Christian policy which desacralizes monarchic power.

Mariette Canévet - How can a monastic rule integrate exception ?

This question is of importance nowadays where the instability of our world and the uncertainty of our future make it difficult for us to imagine following the same rule throughout life. In order to answer the question asked, the author relies on two widely accepted rules, that of Saint Benedict and that of Saint Augustin, together with the writings of Cassien which reflect and resume a hermit's life, therefore more attentive to singular cases. After having related rules with the personal choice of the beginner, one can ask whether the rule provides for adaptation to the various circumstances of stages in life or integrates exceptions. Then it is highlighted that the purpose of a rule is not to establish uniformity but rather harmony in diversity. Above all, more radically, rule helps in complying with the Gospel and the purpose of the monk, just as that of any Christian is to answer the call of Grace, and not to correspond with a human plan for perfection. Then it is underlined that the rule is fundamentally addressed to beginners. In conclusion, the extreme case present in Cassien's conferences is raised where a call for more perfection puts in question the initial undertaking and brings to light the fact that the rule of all rules is to follow Christ.

Pierre Gire - Norm and exception

In its social, economical, political, religious and cultural development, norm and exception share in the regulation of human life. Norm defines its own field of application, whereas exception highlights what the norm does not integrate for multiple reasons. It is in their reciprocal interaction really that lies just as much their truth as their respective fecundity. In the name of the future of life, exception opposes renouncing limitless power to the norm. As for exception, norm puts forward the impossibility of a life free from all structuration. Thus, human life requires organisation and freedom. In answer to this paradoxical demand dimly appears the ultimate significance of the inseparability of norm and exception.

Christophe Nihan et Hervé Gonzalez - Exceptions to the law in the Old Testament

The law of the Old Testament is frequently portrayed as a relatively rigid and frozen law, which should be applied to the letter in full and suffering no exception. However, on closer examination, the main collections of laws of the Old Testament already provide for many concessions to the application of the rule. This short study endeavours to update this phenomenon by reviewing four main exception dimensions: involuntary homicide exceptions, exceptions in case of particular circumstances or events, exceptions for socio-economical reasons, and last, cases where the law provides for a person to require the non application of the rule. These various cases put forward the ways in which the codes of the Old Testament provide for many concessions in the application of the rule. Besides, it should be taken into account the fact that the Old Testament legislative codes are not codes or manuals of law in the modern sense of the word, but rather are learned compositions showing a strongly theoretical character. Various clues suggest that, in ancient Israel, the effective juridical practice could vary in a significant way in relation to the rulings of these codes and show still greater exception phenomena.

Philippe Toxé - The exception to the rule in the canon law of the Roman Catholic Church

Because it is set up for souls' salvation, canon law provides that the abstract norm of the law may encounter exceptions. These may be provided in the norm itself which, besides a main imperative prescription, indicates other mean to comply with one of the values that norm wants to protect. In the same way, when enacting a new universal norm, the universal legislator does not intend in principle to abrogate the norm valid in individual churches. Other exceptions to the law stem from individual decisions that are dispensation and privilege which, in one special case, waive common law while letting it remain.

Xavier Lacroix - Marriage indissolubility between mystery and law

Marriage indissolubility stems from one of the most certain and most original of Jesus that is forbidding of divorce and remarriage. That norm is one of the two forms of the call to Gospel's radical character, at the same time with a mystical dimension plunging into the mystery of a single and final Alliance. The Catholic Church has chosen to translate this call in terms of rule and discipline. Between mystery and law, what is the place for an itinerary which does not meet this requirement? We propose a research hypothesis which maintains affirming the permanence of union while integrating the idea of progression. This progression may take place within the present church discipline, while the theologian questions himself on possible accommodation of that discipline where a period of penitence would open to a reconciliation proceeding. In any case, reconciliation would not negate the rule, but would assert an economy above that rule.