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Thursday, March 16, 2017


Fr. Paul Kramer B.Ph., S.T.B., M.Div., S.T.L. (Cand.)

I have read the relevant Latin texts of Celestine III, and of Innocent III. They were ruling on two different cases.
Celestine III ruled that the husband who defected from the faith out of hatred for his wife, thereby forfeited his matrimonial rights, so that the wife was not bound to return to her first husband, but was free to enter the monastic life, even with the husband opposed; and that the husband could marry the former infidel wife (the second wife), converted to the Catholic faith, only after thedeath of the first wife.

Innocent III ruled on a case referred to him by Bishop Hugo of Ferrara, that the wife of a man who defected into heresy could not remarry. Two entirely different cases. Celestine did not rule that the woman could divorce and remarry, but only that she was not bound to return to the first husband, and
was free to enter religious life, even against the opposition of her husband, who had forfeited his matrimonial rights. Celestine did make the error of basing his correct ruling on an erroneous interpretation of the Pauline Privilege, and thus condoned the woman's second marriage
however, his error was not expressed in a magisterial teaching, but was only an erroneous opinion on a point not yet settled by the magisterium,
expressed in a legal case, upon which he correctly ruled that the woman
was no longer bound to return to the first husband. He expressed an erroneous opinion that the woman's second marriage was legitimate, but that was not his RULING, but only an erroneous basis for a CORRECT RULING that the woman was free to enter religion against the will of her first husband.

Siscoe's claim that, "The case eventually reached Pope Celestine III (d. 1198), who considered the matter and judged that the woman should remain in her second adulterous union, rather than returning to her true husband", is utterly false. Likewise, Siscoe's claim that Celestine TAUGHT the error in his
magisterium [1] is false, and likewise, his claim that Gregory IX incorporated into Canon Law [2] a ruling allowing divorce and remarriage is absurdly nonsensical, and only demonstrates how utterly incompetent he is in Canon Law and Theology.

Celestine’s use of the expression “non videtur nobis” clearly indicates his intention to state an opinion, and not to impart a teaching.
[1] "The erroneous judgment of Pope Celestine highlights the limitations of papal infallibility by showing that a true Pope can, as part of his teaching office (Magisterium), render a judgment that contradicts divine revelation and confirms a person in objective mortal sin."

[2] "Celestine’s Error Incorporated into Canon Law" : "The limitations of Papal Infallibility is further highlighted by the fact that the error of Pope Celestine was later included in the Decretals of Pope Gregory IX (known as Quinque Libri Decretalium), which was the first collection of Canon Law
promulgated by a Pope for the universal Church." And, "this non-infallible papal judgment confirmed a woman in the objective state of adultery."
Siscoe’s claim that Celestine’s error was “incorporated into Canon Law” is absolutely false.

That ruling of Celestine III, in which the erroneous opinion was expresses was excluded from the Decretals by order of Gregory IX . That portion of text which was excluded pertains to the “partes decis æ”, the parts that were
cut out by Gregory IX.

In the Richter-Friedberg edition of the Decretals (DECRETALIUM COLLECTIONES – EDITIO LIPSIENSIS SECUNDA), those “excluded parts” were re-inserted into the text by the editors , and indicated by
Italics , as the editors explain on page XLV:

“Ut vero quae inserui a Gregoriano textu discerni possent, illa italicis quos vocant typis exprimenda curavi.
A detailed and precise presentation on
this matter is made by Fr. Anthony Cekada

Although I disagree with Fr. Cekada on
the issue of Sedevacantism, and some of his theological opinions;
in this question he is entirely correct.

The page of Gregory IX's Decretals, quoting
Celestine III's ruling:

Innocent III's ruling:
Quanto te magis novimus in canonico iure peritum, tanto fraternitatem tuam amplius in Domino commendamus, quod in dubiis quaestionum articulis ad sedem apostolicam recurris, quae disponente Domino cunctorum fidelium mater est et magistra, ut opinio, quam in eis quondam habueras, dum alios
canonici iuris peritiam edoceres, vel corrigatur per sedem apostolicam vel probetur. Sane tua nobis fraternitas suis literis intimavit, quod, altero coniugum ad haeresim transeunte, qui relinquitur ad secunda vota desidera
t convolare et filios procreare, quod, utrum possit fieri de iure, per tuas nos
duxisti literas consulendos. Nos igitur consultationi tuae de communi fratrum nostrorum consilio respondentes, distinguimus, licet quidam praedecessor noster sensisse aliter videatur, an ex duobus infidelibus alter ad fidem catholicam convertatur, vel ex duobus fidelibus alter labatur in haeresim, vel
decidat in gentilitatis errorem. Si enim alter infidelium coniugum ad fidem catholicam convertatur, altero vel nullo modo, vel saltem non sine blasphemia divini nominis, vel ut eum pertrahat ad mortale peccatum, ei cohabitare volente: qui relinquitur, ad secunda, si voluerit, vota transibit. Et in hoc casu
intelligimus quod ait Apostolus: “Si infidelis discedit, discedat. Frater enim vel soror non est servituti subiectus in huiusmodi,” et canonem etiam, in quo dicitur, quod “contumelia creatoris solvit ius matrimonii circa eum, qui relinquitur.” Si vero alter fidelium coniugum vel labatur in haeresim, vel
transeat ad gentilitatis errorem, non credimus, quod in hoc casu is, qui relinquitur, vivente altero possit
ad secundas nuptias convolare, licet in hoc casu maior appareat contumelia creatoris. Nam etsi matrimonium verum quidem inter infideles exsistat, non tamen est ratum. Inter fideles autem verum quidem et ratum exsistit, quia sacramentum fidei, quod semel est admissum, nunquam amittitur; sed
ratum efficit coniugii sacramentum, ut ipsum in coniungibus illo durante perduret. Nec obstat, quod a quibusdam forsan obiicitur, quod fideli
s relictus non debeat iure suo sine culpa privari, quum in multis
casibus hoc contingat, ut si alter coniugum incidatur. Per hanc autem responsionem quorundam malitiae obviatur, qui in odium coniugum, vel quando sibi invicem displicerent, si eas possent intali casu dimittere, simularent haeresim, ut ab ipsa nubentibus coniugibus resilirent. Per hanc ipsam responsionem illa solvitur quaestio, qua quaeritur, utrum ad eum, qui [vel] ab haeresi vel infidelitate revertitur, is, qui permansit in fide, redire cog
atur. [Dat. Lat. Kal. Maii 1199.]

Pope Innocent III: On the Bond of Marriage and the
Pauline Privilege [From the letter "Quanto te magis"
to Hugo, Bishop of Ferrara,
May 1, 1199]
405 Your brotherhood has announced that with one of the spouses passing over to heresy the one who is left desires to rush into second vows and to procreate children, and you have thought that we ought to be consulted through your letter as to whether this can be done under the law. We, therefore, responding to your inquiry regarding the common advice of our brothers make a distinction, although indeed our predecessor seems to have thought otherwise, whether of two unbelievers one is converted to the Catholic Faith, or of two believers one lapses into heresy or falls into the error of paganism. For if one of the unbelieving spouses is converted to the Catholic faith , while the other either is by no means willing to live with him or at least not without blaspheming the divine name or so as to drag him into mortal sin, the one who is left, if he wishes, will pass over to second vows. And in this case we understand what the Apostle says: "If the unbeliever depart, let him depart: for the brother or sister is not subject to servitude in (cases) of this kind" [1 Cor.7:15]. And likewise (we understand) the canon in which it is said that "insult to the Creator dissolves the law of marriage for him who is left." [from Isaac406 But if one of the believing spouses either slip into heresy or lapse into the error of paganism, we do notbelieve that in this case he who is left, as long as the other is living, can enter into a second marriage; although in this case a greater insult to the Creator is evident. Although indeed true matrimony exists between unbelievers, yet it is not ratified; between believers, however, a true and ratified marriage exists, because the sacrament of faith, which once was admitted, is never lost, but makes the sacrament of marriage ratified so that it itself lasts between married persons as long as the sacrament of faith endures.

Summary: 1) Quanto te affirms that true marriage does exist among unbelievers, (notwithstanding the fact that they do not regard marriage as indissoluble.)
2) Quanto te affirms that a marriage between believers is "ratified" because of the "sacrament of faith."
A ratified marriage remains even if one of the partners should renounce their faith.
3) The Pauline Privilege is affirmed and the grounds permitting the convert to remarry are expanded to include not only a) convert who have been deserted by the unbelieving spouse, (as per Paul) but also, b) a convert who would be subjected to blasphemy by an unbelieving spouse who remains, or, c) a convert who would be led into mortal sin by a spouse who remains.
How the unbeliever's blasphemy or drawing to mortal sin amounted to the forteiture of the unbelievers marriage and how these acts were to be proved were not determined by these decretals.
The implication of course was significant: a valid, consummated marriage between Christian and unbeliever was dissoluble.