But the best canonists, from the Roman professor De Angelis (Prael.
Cranmer suggested that if the canonists and the universities should decide that marriage with a deceased brother's widow was illegal, and if it were proved that Catherine had been married to Prince Arthur, her marriage to Henry could be declared null and void by the ordinary ecclesiastical courts.
Not to speak of the canonists, Thomas Aquinas gives natural law an important place; while Melancthon, drawing from Aquinas, gives it an entrance into Protestant thought.
With the later 9th century we enter upon a new epoch, and by the time of Gregory VII., in the 11th century, the tribunals have fallen into the hands of a regular class of canonists who are in fact professional church-lawyers in orders.
The substitution of " civilians," rather than common lawyers, for canonists (civilians, hitherto, not an important body in England) had important consequences (see Maitland, op. cit.
Prelacy is defined by the canonists as "pre-eminence with jurisdiction" (praeeminentia cum jurisdictione), and the idea supposes an episcopal or quasi-episcopal jurisdiction.
It is not unlike the procedure of the canonists and casuists of the middle ages with regard to the doctrine of usury, by which the doctrine was to all appearances preserved intact while in reality it was stripped of all its original meaning by innumerable distinctions " over-curious and precise."
"Simony according to the canonists," says Ayliffe in his Parergon, " is defined to be a deliberate act or a premeditated will and desire of selling such things as are spiritual, or of anything annexed unto spirituals, by giving something of a temporal nature for the purchase thereof; or in other terms it is defined to be a commutation of a thing spiritual or annexed unto spirituals by giving something that is temporal."
The canonists define the degrees of suspicion as "light" calling for vigilance, "vehement" demanding denunciation, and "violent" requiring punishment.
Declared that to lead a solitary life, to refuse to accommodate oneself to the prevailing manners of society, and to frequent unauthorized religious meetings were abundant grounds of suspicion; while later canonists were accustomed to give lists of deeds which made the doers suspect: a priest who did not celebrate mass, a layman who was seen in clerical robes, those who favoured heretics, received them as guests, gave them safe conduct, tolerated them, trusted them, defended them, fought under them or read their books were all to be suspect" (T.M.
The phrase exercised the minds of learned canonists all through the middle ages, but still held its ground.
Nobody, however, has ventured exactly to reconstitute this hypothetical phrase; nor is the theory easy to reconcile with (i.) the uncertainty of canonists at the time when the locution was quite recent, (ii.) the fact that Clement V.
It should be said, however, that most of these practices met with very considerable opposition both from councils and from theologians and canonists, amongst others from the English canonist William Lyndwood (Provinciale, lib.
From this time forward it was increasingly used by popes and canonists in support of the papal pretensions, and from the 12th century onwards became a powerful weapon of the spiritual against the temporal powers.
The great scholastic controversies had already begun in the schools of France; the revival of Roman law had called forth the university of Bologna, and the canonists had begun the codification of the law of the Church.