Holden again quotes the (indefinite) decretum of the Council of Basel regarding the Immaculate Conception.
On the other hand, the Decretum actually enjoys a certain public authority which is unique; for centuries it has been the text on which has been founded the instruction in canon law in all the universities; it has been glossed and commented on by the most illustrious canonists; it has become, without being a body of laws, the first part of the Corpus juris canonici, and as such it has been cited, corrected and edited by the popes.
Wished to supersede the compilationes, he had no idea of superseding the Decretum of Gratian, still less of Their codifying the whole of the canon law.
His principal works are In Gratiani Decretum commentarii (4 vols., Venice, 1578); Expositio brevis et utilis super toto psalterio (Mainz, 1474); Quaestiones spirituales super evangelic totius anni (Brixen, 7498); Summa ecclesiastica (Salamanca, 1550).
The treatise on canon law known as the Decretum Gratiani, which was compiled towards the middle of the 12th century and had an enduring and far-reaching effect (see Canon Law), merely gave theoretical sanction to the existing situation in the Church.
The result of all these supplements to Gratian's work, apart from the inconvenience caused by their being so scattered, was the accumulation of a mass of material almost as considerable as the Decretum itself, from which they Decretals Y tended to split off and form an independent whole, ixGregory embodying as they did the latest state of the law.
But we must not forget that these compilations were intended by their authors to complete the Decretum of Gratian; in them were included the decretals called extravagantes, i.e.
In the Decretum Gelasii, of an apocryphal Gospel of Barnabas (see APOCRYPHAL LITERATURE), but we have no knowledge of its contents.
Most of the canons, however, which constitute the ancient law, and notably those which appear in the Decretum of Gratian, emanate fr.,m local councils, or even from individual bishops; they have found a place in the common law because the collections of canons, of which they formed the most notable part, have been everywhere adopted.
FRANCISCUS GRATIANUS, compiler of the Concordia di,s cordantium canonum or Decretum Gratiani, and founder of the science of canon law, was born about the end of the filth century at Chiusi in Tuscany or, according to another account, at Carraria near Orvieto.