The Plight of Canon Law in the Early Dutch Republic
CANON LAW IN PROTESTANT LANDS, pp. 135-164, R.H. Helmholz, ed., Dunker & Humbolt, 1990
16 Pages Posted: 3 Jun 2011
Date Written: 1990
This article argues that the Roman Catholic canon law remained a vital part of Dutch legal life in the decades following the Protestant Reformation. Part I analyzes the relationship of canon law and civil law, and of church courts and civil courts, on the eve of the Dutch Reformation. It shows that canon law dominated the Netherlands, both through the vast spiritual and temporal jurisdiction exercised by the church courts and through the extensive penetration of canon law into the writings of the civil jurists and the statutes of the civil authorities. Part II describes the constitutional and theoretical changes in church-state relations born of the Dutch Reformation of c. 1566-1581. Part III shows that, despite the polemics of the early reformers, the canon law remained an integral part of the law of both the reformed church and the reformed state. The reformed church law, though much narrower in scope, emulated basic canon law forms. The reformed state law, though filled with bold revisions, readily incorporated canon law provisions.
Keywords: Catholic, canon law, Dutch, Protestant Reformation, Netherlands, Dutch Reformation, church law
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