Decretum Gratiani

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The Decretum Gratiani, also known as the Concordia discordantium canonum or Concordantia discordantium canonum or simply as the Decretum, is a collection of canon law compiled and written in the 12th century as a legal textbook by the jurist known as Gratian. It forms the first part of the collection of six legal texts, which together became known as the Corpus Juris Canonici . It was used by canonists of the Roman Catholic Church until Pentecost (May 19) 1918, when a revised Code of Canon Law (Codex Iuris Canonici) promulgated by Pope Benedict XV on 27 May 1917 obtained legal force. [1]

Jurist Legal scholar or academic, a professional who studies, teaches, and develops law

A jurist is someone who researches and studies jurisprudence. Such a person can work as an academic, legal writer or law lecturer. In the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and in many other Commonwealth countries, the word jurist sometimes refers to a barrister, whereas in the United States of America and Canada it often refers to a judge.

The Corpus Juris Canonici is a collection of significant sources of the canon law of the Catholic Church that was applicable to the Latin Church. It was replaced by the 1917 Code of Canon Law which went into effect in 1918. The 1917 Code was later replaced by the 1983 Code of Canon Law, the codification of canon law currently in effect for the Latin Church. In 1990, Oriental canon law was codified in the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches, which is currently in effect for the Eastern Catholic Churches.

The 1917 Code of Canon Law, also referred to as the Pio-Benedictine Code, was the first official comprehensive codification of Latin canon law. It was promulgated on 27 May 1917 and took legal effect on 19 May 1918. It was in force until the 1983 Code of Canon Law took legal effect and abrogated it on 27 November 1983. It has been described as "the greatest revolution in canon law since the time of Gratian".

Overview

Around 1150 Gratian, teacher of theology at the monastery of Saints Nabor and Felix and sometimes believed to have been a Camaldolese monk, [2] composed the work he called Concordia discordantium canonum, and others titled Nova collectio, Decreta, Corpus juris canonici, or the more commonly accepted name, Decretum Gratiani. He did this to obviate the difficulties which beset the study of practical, external theology (theologia practica externa), i.e., the study of canon law. In spite of its great reputation and wide diffusion, the Decretum has never been recognized by the Church as an official collection.[ citation needed ]

Camaldolese

The Camaldolese monks and nuns are two different, but related, monastic communities that trace their lineage to the monastic movement begun by Saint Romuald.

It is divided into three parts (ministeria, negotia, sacramenta). The first part is divided into 101 distinctions (distinctiones), the first 20 of which form an introduction to the general principles of canon Law (tractatus decretalium); the remainder constitutes a tractatus ordinandorum, relative to ecclesiastical persons and function. The second part contains 36 causes (causæ), divided into questions (quæstiones), and treat of ecclesiastical administration and marriage; the third question of the 33rd causa treats of the Sacrament of Penance and is divided into 7 distinctions. The third part, entitled "De consecratione", treats of the sacraments and other sacred things and contains 5 distinctions. Each distinction or question contains dicta Gratiani, or maxims of Gratian, and canones. Gratian himself raises questions and brings forward difficulties, which he answers by quoting auctoritates, i. e. canons of councils, decretals of the popes, texts of the Scripture or of the Fathers. These are the canones; the entire remaining portion, even the summaries of the canons and the chronological indications, are called the maxims or dicta Gratiani. It is to be noted that many auctoritates have been inserted in the "Decretum" by authors of a later date. These are the Paleœ, so called from Paucapalea, the name of the principal commentator on the "Decretum". The Roman revisers of the 16th century (1566–82) corrected the text of the "Decree" and added many critical notes designated by the words Correctores Romani.

A maxim is a concise expression of a fundamental moral rule or principle, whether considered as objective or subjective contingent on one's philosophy. A maxim is often pedagogical and motivates specific actions. The Oxford Dictionary of Philosophy defines it as:

Generally any simple and memorable rule or guide for living; for example, 'neither a borrower nor a lender be'. Tennyson speaks of 'a little hoard of maxims preaching down a daughter's heart, and maxims have generally been associated with a 'folksy' or 'copy-book' approach to morality.

Paucapalea was a canon lawyer of the twelfth century. He produced the first commentary on the Decretum of Gratian, his teacher.

The Decretum is quoted by indicating the number of the canon and that of the distinction or of the cause and the question. To differentiate the distinctions of the first part from those of the third, question of the 33rd cause of the second part and those of the third part, the words de Pœn., i. e. de Pœnitentiâ, and de Cons., i. e. de Consecratione are added to the latter. For instance, "c. 1. d. XI" indicates the first part of the "Decree". distinction XI, canon 1; "c. 1., de Pœn., d. VI," refers to the second part, 33rd cause, question 3, distinction VI, canon 1; "c. 8, de Cons., d. II" refers to the third part, distinction II, canon 8; "c. 8, C. XII, q. 3" refers to the second part, cause XII, question 3, canon 8. Sometimes, especially in the case of well-known and much-quoted canons, the first words are also indicated, e. g., c. Si quis suadente diabolo, C. XVII, q. 4, i. e. the 29th canon of the second part, cause XVII, question 4. Occasionally the first words alone are quoted. In both cases, to find the canon it is necessary to consult the alphabetical tables (printed in all editions of Gratian) that contain the first words of every canon.

Author

Gratian (Medieval Latin : Gratianus) was a canon lawyer from Bologna. He flourished in the mid 12th century. Little else is known about him.

Medieval Latin Form of Latin used in the Middle Ages

Medieval Latin was the form of Latin used in Roman Catholic Western Europe during the Middle Ages. In this region it served as the primary written language, though local languages were also written to varying degrees. Latin functioned as the main medium of scholarly exchange, as the liturgical language of the Church, and as the working language of science, literature, law, and administration.

Bologna Comune in Emilia-Romagna, Italy

Bologna is the capital and largest city of the Emilia-Romagna region in Northern Italy. It is the seventh most populous city in Italy, at the heart of a metropolitan area of about one million people.

Gratian Graciano.jpg
Gratian

He is sometimes incorrectly referred to as Franciscus Gratianus, [3] Johannes Gratian, [2] or Giovanni Graziano. For a long time he was believed to have been born at the end of the 11th century, at Chiusi in Tuscany. He was said to have become a monk at Camaldoli and then he taught at the monastery of St. Felix in Bologna and devoted his life to studying canon law, but contemporary scholarship does not attach credibility to these traditions. [4] Since the 11th century, Bologna had been the centre of the study of canon law, as well as of Roman law, after the Corpus Juris Civilis was rediscovered in western Europe. Gratian's work was an attempt, using early scholastic method, to solve seemingly contradictory canons from previous centuries. Gratian quoted a great number of authorities, including the Bible, papal and conciliar legislation, church fathers such as Augustine of Hippo, and secular law in his efforts to reconcile the canons. Gratian found a place in Dante's Paradise among the doctors of the Church: [5]

Chiusi Comune in Tuscany, Italy

Chiusi is a town and comune in province of Siena, Tuscany, Italy.

Tuscany Region of Italy

Tuscany is a region in central Italy with an area of about 23,000 square kilometres and a population of about 3.8 million inhabitants (2013). The regional capital is Florence (Firenze).

Camaldoli human settlement in Poppi, Province of Arezzo, Tuscany, Italy

Camaldoli is a frazione of the comune of Poppi, in Tuscany, Italy. It is mostly known as the ancestral seat of the Camaldolese monastic order, originated in the eponymous hermitage, which can still be visited.

He has long been acclaimed as Pater Juris Canonici (Latin, "Father of Canon Law"), a title he shares with his successor St. Raymond of Penyafort.

Ecclesiastical Latin, also called Church Latin, Liturgical Latin or Italian Latin, is a form of Latin initially developed to discuss Christian thought and later used as a lingua franca by the Medieval and Early Modern upper class of Europe. It includes words from Vulgar Latin and Classical Latin re-purposed with Christian meaning. It is less stylized and rigid in form than Classical Latin, sharing vocabulary, forms, and syntax, while at the same time incorporating informal elements which had always been with the language but which were excluded by the literary authors of classical Latin. Its pronunciation is based on Italian.

Raymond of Penyafort Dominican Master General and archbishop and saint

Raymond of Penyafort, OP, was a Spanish Dominican friar in the 13th century, who compiled the Decretals of Gregory IX, a collection of canonical laws that remained a major part of Church law until the 1917 Code of Canon Law abrogated it. He is honored as a saint in the Catholic Church and is the patron saint of canon lawyers.

Textual history

The vulgate version of Gratian's collection was completed at some point after the Second Lateran Council, which it quotes. Research by Anders Winroth established that some manuscripts of an early version of Gratian's text, which differs considerably from the mainstream textual tradition, have survived. [7] With later commentaries and supplements, the work was incorporated into the Corpus Juris Canonici . The Decretum quickly became the standard textbook for students of canon law throughout Europe, but it never received any formal official recognition by the papacy. Only the Codex Juris Canonici of 1917 put it out of use. [8]

As late as 1997, scholars commonly set the date of completion at 1140, but this accuracy in dating isn't possible after Anders Winroth's groundbreaking scholarship. [9] Research by Anders Winroth shows that the Decretum existed in two published recensions. [10] The first dates to sometime after 1139, while the second dates to 1150 at the latest. There are several major differences between the two recensions:

These differences led Winroth to conclude that Roman law was not as far developed by 1140 as scholars had previously thought. He has also argued that the second recension was due not to the original author of the first recension (whom he calls Gratian 1), but rather another jurist versed in Roman law. [11] However, Winroth's thesis of two Gratians remains controversial. [12]

An illustration from a 13th-century manuscript of the work, illustrating the kinds of blood relatives and common ancestry which made marriage impossible and contracted marriages null - it has since then been dispensed with so third cousins can now marry. Treegratian.jpg
An illustration from a 13th-century manuscript of the work, illustrating the kinds of blood relatives and common ancestry which made marriage impossible and contracted marriages null - it has since then been dispensed with so third cousins can now marry.

This field of inquiry is hampered by ignorance of the compiler's identity and the existence of manuscripts with abbreviated versions of the text or variant versions not represented by Winroth's two recensions. One of these is the manuscript St. Gall, Stiftsbibliothek, 673 (=Sg), which some have argued contains the earliest known version (borrador) of the Decretum, [13] but which other scholars have argued contains an abbreviation of the first recension expanded with texts taken from the second recension. [14]

Gratian's sources

Gratian's sources were Roman law, the Bible, the writings of (or attributed to) the Church Fathers, papal decretals, the acts of church councils and synods. In most cases, Gratian did not obtain this material from a direct reading of the sources, but rather through intermediate collections. Thanks to the research of modern scholars - in particular, Charles Munier, Titus Lenherr, and Peter Landau - we now know that Gratian made use of a relatively small number of collections in the composition of most of the Decretum, these being:

Other sources are known to have been used in the composition of particular sections of the Decretum:

Effect

Gratian himself named his work Concordia Discordantium Canonum - "Concord of Discordancies of Canons." The name is fitting: Gratian tried to harmonize apparently contradictory canons with each other, by discussing different interpretations and deciding on a solution. This dialectical approach allowed for other law professors to work with the Decretum and to develop their own solutions and commentaries. These legalists are known as the decretists.

...the Concordance of Discordant Canons or Decretum served the function of giving the canonists a text like that of the Corpus Iuris Civilis for the civilians or the bible for the theologians. [15]

These commentaries were called glosses. Editions printed in the 15th, 16th or 17th centuries frequently included the glosses along with the text. Collections of glosses were called "gloss apparatus" or Lectura in Decretum (see also glossator). Systematic commentaries were called Summae. Some of these Summae were soon in circulation as well and obtained the same level of fame as the Decretum itself. Early commentators included Paucapalea and Magister Rolandus. The most important commentators were probably Rufin of Bologna (died before 1192) and Huguccio (died 1210). Less well-known was the commentary of Simon of Bisignano, which consisted of the Glosses on the Decretum and the Summa Simonis.

Peter Lombard borrowed and adapted from the Decretum when discussing penance in his Sentences (≈1150). [16]

Importance to Western law

The Decretum served as a model for 12th century jurists in the formation of Western law based on rational rules and evidence to replace barbaric laws which often involved trial by ordeal or battle. [17]

The Decretum was called "the first comprehensive and systematic legal treatise in the history of the West, and perhaps in the history of mankind- if by 'comprehensive' is meant the attempt to embrace virtually the entire law of a given polity, and if by 'systematic' is meant the express effort to that law as a single body, in which all parts are viewed as interacting to form a whole. Decretum made a direct contribution to the development of Western law in areas that it dealt with such as marriage, property and inheritance. Specific concepts included consent for marriage and wrongful intent in determining whether a certain act constituted a crime. [17]

Related Research Articles

Decretals are letters of a pope that formulate decisions in ecclesiastical law of the Catholic Church.

Irnerius Italian jurist

Irnerius, sometimes referred to as lucerna juris, was an Italian jurist, and founder of the School of Glossators and thus of the tradition of Medieval Roman Law.

<i>Canon Episcopi</i>

The title canon Episcopi is conventionally given to a certain passage found in medieval canon law. The text possibly originates in an early 10th-century penitential, recorded by Regino of Prüm; it was included in Gratian's authoritative Corpus juris canonici of c. 1140 and as such became part of canon law during the High Middle Ages.

Burchard of Worms Roman Catholic bishop

Burchard of Worms was the bishop of the Imperial City of Worms, in the Holy Roman Empire. He was the author of a canon law collection of twenty books known as the Decretum, Decretum Burchardi, or Decretorum libri viginti.

Huguccio was an Italian canon lawyer.

The canon law of the Catholic Church is the system of laws and legal principles made and enforced by the hierarchical authorities of the Catholic Church to regulate its external organization and government and to order and direct the activities of Catholics toward the mission of the Church. It was the first modern Western legal system and is the oldest continuously functioning legal system in the West, while the unique traditions of Oriental canon law govern the 23 Eastern Catholic particular churches sui iuris.

In the history of canon law, a decretist was student and interpreter of the Decretum Gratiani. Like Gratian, the decretists sought to provide "a harmony of discordant canons", and they worked towards this through glosses (glossae) and summaries (summae) on Gratian. They are contrasted with the decretalists, whose work primarily focused on papal decretals.

Collections of ancient canons contain collected bodies of canon law that originated in various documents, such as papal and synodal decisions, and that can be designated by the generic term of canons.

<i>Decretales Gregorii IX</i>

The Decretals of Gregory IX, also collectively called the Liber extra, are an important source of medieval Canon Law. In 1230, Pope Gregory IX ordered his chaplain and confessor, St. Raymond of Penyafort, a Dominican, to form a new canonical collection destined to replace all former collections. It has been said that the pope by this measure wished especially to emphasize his power over the Universal Church.

Antonio Agustín y Albanell Canon law historian

Antonio Agustín y Albanell (1516–1586), also referred to as Augustinus, was a Spanish Humanist historian, jurist and Roman Catholic archbishop of Tarragona who pioneered the historical research of the sources of canon law.

Anders Winroth medieval historian

Anders Winroth is a professor of medieval history at Yale University.

The term Extravagantes is applied to the canon law of the Roman Catholic Church, to designate some papal decretals not contained in certain canonical collections which possess a special authority. More precisely, they are not found in Gratian's Decretum or the three official collections of the Corpus Juris Canonici.

Carlo Sebastiano Berardi was an Italian Roman Catholic priest and canon lawyer.

The Summa Parisiensis is an anonymous commentary on the Decretum Gratiani from about 1170.

<i>Collectio canonum Wigorniensis</i>

The Collectio canonum Wigorniensis is a medieval canon law collection originating in southern England around the year 1005. It exists in multiple recensions, the earliest of which — "Recension A" — consists of just over 100 canons drawn from a variety of sources, most predominantly the ninth-century Frankish collection of penitential and canon law known as the Collectio canonum quadripartita. The author of Recension A is currently unknown. Other recensions also exist, slightly later in date than the first. These later recensions are extensions and augmentations of Recension A, and are known collectively as "Recension B". These later recensions all bear the unmistakable mark of having been created by Wulfstan, bishop of Worcester and archbishop of York, possibly sometime around the year 1008, though some of them may have been compiled as late as 1023, the year of Wulfstan's death. The collection treats a range of ecclesiastical and lay subjects, such as clerical discipline, church administration, lay and clerical penance, public and private penance, as well as a variety of spiritual, doctrinal and catechistic matters. Several "canons" in the collection verge on the character of sermons or expository texts rather than church canons in the traditional sense; but nearly every element in the collection is prescriptive in nature, and concerns the proper ordering of society in a Christian polity.

The legal history of the Catholic Church is the history of the oldest continuously functioning legal system in the West, much later than Roman law but predating the evolution of modern European civil law traditions. The history of Latin canon law can be divided into four periods: the jus antiquum, the jus novum, the jus novissimum and the Code of Canon Law. In relation to the Code, history can be divided into the jus vetus and the jus novum. Eastern canon law developed separately.

For the legal system of ecclesiastical canons, see Canon law and Canon law.

Catholic canon law is the set of rules and principles (laws) by which the Catholic Church is governed, through enforcement by governmental authorities. Law is also the field which concerns the creation and administration of laws.

References

  1. Ap. Const. Providentissima Mater Ecclesia (by Pope Benedict XV, 27 May 1917)
  2. 1 2 Van Hove, Alphonse. "Johannes Gratian" in the Catholic Encyclopedia, Vol. 6. Robert Appleton Co. (New York), 1909. Accessed 19 Sept. 2014.
  3. "Wikisource-logo.svg Baynes, T.S.; Smith, W.R., eds. (1880). "Franciscus Gratianus"  . Encyclopædia Britannica . XI (9th ed.). New York: Charles Scribner's Sons. p. 60.
    • Noonan, John T. (1979). "Gratian Slept Here: The Changing Identity of the Father of the Systematic Study of Canon Law". Traditio. 35: 145–172.
  4. University of Texas at Austin, accessed June-25-2013
  5. Dante, Paradiso Canto X, accessed 25 June 2013
  6. Winroth (Cambridge 2004), 138
  7. Crompton (2006):174
  8. Hartmann & Pennington, History of Medieval Canon Law in the Classical Period, pg. 7.
  9. Winroth, (Cambridge, 2004), 3
  10. Winroth, (Cambridge, 2004), 146-74
  11. See most recently Atria Larson, Master of Penance: Gratian and the Development of Penitential Thought and Law, ca. 1120-1215, Washington, DC: Catholic University Press, 2013, arguing for even greater complexity in the addition and adaptation of the text of the Decretum.
  12. Carlos Larrainzar, ‘El borrador de la “Concordia” de Graciano: Sankt Gallen, Stiftsbibliothek MS 673 (=Sg)’, Ius Ecclesiae: Rivista internazionale di diritto canonico 11 (1999): 593-666
  13. Titus Lenherr, "Ist die Handschrift 673 der St. Galler Stiftsbibliothek (Sg) der Entwurf zu Gratians Dekret?: Versuch einer Antwort aus Beobachtungen an D.31 und D.32" (unpublished paper) Archived 2012-04-02 at the Wayback Machine ; Anders Winroth, “Recent Work on the Making of Gratian’s Decretum,” Bulletin of Medieval Canon Law, n.s. 26 (2004-2006): 1-29; John Wei, “A Reconsideration of St. Gall, Stiftsbibliothek 673 (Sg) in light of the Sources of Distinctions 5-7 of the De penitentia,” Bulletin of Medieval Canon Law, n.s. 27 (2007): 141-80.
  14. Donahue, Jr., A Crisis of Law?, pg. 16.
  15. See Appendix B in Larson, Master of Penance.
  16. 1 2 Woods, Thomas E. (2005). How the Catholic Church Built Western Civilization. Washington, DC: Regency Publishing. ISBN   0-89526-038-7.

Bibliography