[PDF] Komentarz do ‚CODEX IURIS CANONICIS’ z A. D. 1917 [St. Louis 1918]
Taking for granted that the Church is a complete and autonomous society (societas perfecta), she must evidently possess legislative power, i. e. the faculty of enacting laws. For a law is nothing else than an ordinance of reason for the common good, made by him who has care of the community, and promulgated (S. Theol., I-II, q. 90. a. 4.).
Therefore, every law must proceed from the legitimate power residing in that community for which the law is given. Now, the Church Catholic being founded by our Lord and perpetuated by the Apostles and their lawful successors, among whom the Roman Pontiff holds not only an honorary but also a jurisdictional supremacy, the following must be acknowledged as ecclesiastical lawgivers:
1. Christ our Lord, the original source of divine laws laid down chiefly in the Constitution of the Church, and next to Him the Apostles as lawgivers either of divine or human laws, viz.: as inspired or merely human instruments.
2. The Roman Pontiff, either alone or in unison with a general council, as endowed with the supreme and ordinary power of enacting laws for the universal church;
3. The Bishops for their respective districts, inasmuch as they are empowered to enact laws subordinate to common law;
4. Customs, too, must be considered as a source of law, universal as well as particular.
Whether the natural law can be called a source of Canon Law depends on the formal declaration of the supreme authority ; for the natural law as such — its extent is very uncertain— cannot be called a homogeneous source of Canon Law except it has been declared such by the highest authority. Besides its range being very uncertain, the so-called natural law is often nothing but a subjective sentiment, or, at most, a dictate of reason.
Dom Augustine – A C O M M E N T A R Y on the new Code of the canon law 1917 (all volumes) [St. Louis 1918]