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The Act: The Making Of Marriage In Medieval Canon Law

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Chapter Summary

Classical canon law based its matrimonial dogma on ancient foundations: the solid base of matrimony had been laid by the late Antiquity. Earlier in the Middle Ages, the Church had linked its view of a valid and legitimately contracted marriage with the observance of secular marriage customs and rites. Later, however, the Church sought more actively to define the necessary aspects of the making of marriage. Here the paths of the Church and the secular society forked. The Papal Revolution and the establishing of the Churchs exclusive jurisdiction over the sacrament of matrimony intensified the need to create an exhaustive and complete legal doctrine of marriage formation. Scholarly opinions of the ends and aims of the Churchs policy of consent have varied. Some have stressed the revolutionary nature of the freedom and democracy of marriage. Others have more cautiously doubted the intention of the consensualists to sponsor adolescent self-determination.

Keywords: Churchs policy of consent; classical canon law; marriage formation; matrimony; Middle Ages; Papal Revolution



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