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A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far, away…

Wait, what I really mean is:

Eight hundred, no, wait, Seven Hundred and ninety seven years ago, in a land across the ocean

Yes, that’s much better…

Seven Hundred and Ninety Seven years ago, in a land across the ocean, lived a man named Pope Innocent III.  Pope Innocent III would redefine the face of marriage for ages to come.  Only, he didn’t know it at the time.

Lateran IV was convened by Pope Innocent III in 1215, and deal with things such as transubstantiation, papal primacy, and confession, and the reception of communion once a year.  Except that was not all.  Innocent III also dealt with things regarding marriage, and, while the others were huge for the Catholic faith, his decrees on marriage redefined the world as they knew it.

Lateran IV declared 3 canons on marriage.  But 3 very influential canons they were.  His three canons dealt with marriage, impediments, and publication of the banns.  Now, you may be asking yourself, impediments?  Why is Holy Mother Church worried about impediments.  Well, in 1215, marriage was really all that mattered.  It was arranged to stop wars and alliances, arranged for this reason and that reason.  In fact, the only people it wasn’t arranged for was the peasants, since in the grand scheme of things, all that really mattered was that they married and produced children to keep working the land.  Who was going to take over Father’s castle wasn’t an issue, nor was dealing with legitimacy of children.  Oh, to be a peasant… But I digress.

Here is where the impediments become handy.  You see, when that arranged marriage went bad, or the 100 years War started again, or whatever, these impediments suddenly appeared out of the blue in order to end the marriage, both on the civil and religious level.   Suddenly, because there are no heirs, the marriage was never consummated, or they married too closely (if only the Hapsburg’s learned this…)   Anyway, impediments are useful to these people who hate each other and are forced to be married…

Or so we think…

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