First this, from John Paul 11:
"Because the 1983 Code (of Canon Law) is necessary for the Church, how important are Canon Lawyers who are thoroughly acquainted with the new legislation, who can help interpret it accurately and in conformity with the teachings of the Second Vatican Council, and who can apply it with equity and charity. This is the great challenge and responsibility that belongs to those who render a vital service to the Church by properly relating it to the life and mission of the Church." (Bolded italics added.)
John Paul continues:
"A true understanding of the role of Canon Lawyers within the ecclesial community can follow only from an appropriate consideration of the purpose of the law itself and of the Code that enshrines it. My apostolic constitution “Sacrae disciplinae leges”  points out, the purpose of the Code is “to create such an order in the ecclesial society, that, while assigning the primacy to love, grace and charism, it at the same time renders their organic development easier in the life both of the ecclesial society and of the individuals persons who belong to it.” In this sense the Code is an “indispensable instrument” of the Church’s life and vitality."
With all due respect to the Vatican, I don't think their English translation of the Pope's own document does justice to what he wrote in the original Latin:
"Quae cum ita sint, satis apparet finem Codicis minime illum esse, ut in vita Ecclesiae christifidelium fides, gratia, charismata ac praesertim caritas substituantur. Ex contrario, Codex eo potius spectat, ut talem gignat ordinem in ecclesiali societate, qui, praecipuas tribuens partes amori, gratiae atque charismati, eodem tempore faciliorem reddat ordinatam eorum progressionem in vita sive ecclesialis societatis, sive etiam singulorum hominum, qui ad illam pertinent."
Here is a more accurate translation (italics mine):
Canon law "is in no way intended as a substitute for faith, grace, charisms, and especially charity in the life of the Church and of the faithful. On the contrary, its purpose is rather to create such an order in the ecclesial society that, while assigning the primacy love, grace, and charisms, it at the same time renders their organic development easier in the life of both the ecclesial society and the individual persons who belong to it."