Full text: Zeitschrift der Savigny-Stiftung für Rechtsgeschichte / Kanonistische Abteilung (3 (1913))

The Canon Law in England.


may have argued that this did not necessarily mean all
benefices kor which no dispensation could be produced. ln
any case Peckham was guilty of irregulär conduct. How
bis explanations were received by the Curia we do not know;
Nicholas III. was probably dead before they reached their
destination, and there is no referenee to the subjeet in the
correspondence of bis successor, Martin IV. But in 1281,
in another provincial synod, Peckham made amends kor bis
fault, by promulgating the whole of the decrees of Lyons
(including Ordinarii Locorum) and by reminding the synod
that disobedience to the Papal law is as the sin of idolatry
and witchcraft. If they think these laws unsuitable to England,
their only remedy is to petition the Pope kor some relaxa-
tion.1) Whether made spontaneously or under compulsion,
this is a clear confession that the Anglican Church has no
power to pick and choose among the Pope’s enactments; and
we may fairly say that the Archbishop was in 1281 doing
public penance kor the indiscretion of 1279.
b) Peckham s legislation about the times of baptism
professes to be an interpretation of two legatine constitutions.
Mr. Ogle thinks that Peckham was in effect annulling the
constitutions which he professes to explain. The facts lend
no support to this view. The old rule of the Latin Church
was that baptisms should only be celebrated at Easter and
Pentecost, except in cases of urgent necessity.2) But in the
thirteenth Century this was interpreted (e. g. by St. Thomas)
as meaning that those were the proper seasons for “solemn”
baptism; but that children should normally be baptised as
soon as possible after birth. Otho and Ottobon make no
attempt to set aside this interpretation, which liad been
universally accepted in their time. They denounce a current
English superstition that Easter and Pentecost are unlucky
times for baptism; and they ordain that parish-priests shall
encourage parents to reserve their children for the two solemn
baptisms. What Peckham did was to make it compulsory
that children born within eight days of either festival should
be baptised at that festival; but at the same time to state

*) Wilkins II, 51. — *) cc. 12, 16 D 4 de cons.


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