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Title: Accidental Parricide during the Ius Novissimum
Subtitle: How Canonical Commentary Mitigated Rigorous Law
Author(s): PETERS, Edward N.
Journal: Ephemerides Theologicae Lovanienses
Volume: 83    Issue: 4   Date: 2007   
Pages: 339-358
DOI: 10.2143/ETL.83.4.2025341

Abstract :
While canon law is distinguishable in several respects from secular law, both legal systems employ some common techniques as they grapple with juridic questions in their respective societies. In particular, both legal systems make use of private scholarly commentary in seeking the proper application of public law. Given, however, canon law’s reticence to allow judicial interpretation to establish what one might call “precedent” (see CIC 16), it is all the more important to appreciate the important role that private commentary plays in the application of the Church’s legal system. This article is an historical investigation into one such episode in penal canon law, namely, that by which, over several centuries, the “strict liability” canonical legislation against parent-child bed-sharing that can be traced back to the Decretals of Gregory (if not before), was ameliorated by private canonical commentary in ways unforeseen, but eventually accepted, by the Legislator.

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