In the great compilations of ecclesiastical law which arose in the East since the 4th century (see below: also Apostolic Constitutions) much of the material was taken from the writings of Hippolytus; how much of this is genuinely his, how much of it worked over, and how much of it wrongly attributed to him, can no longer be determined beyond dispute even by the most learned investigation.
Having made these general observations, we must now consider the history of those texts and collections of canons which to-day form the ecclesiastical law of the Western Church: (1) up to the Decretum of Gratian, (2) up to the council of Trent, (3 and 4) up to the present day, including the codification ordered by Pius X.
Thomas Aquinas was the first theologian to describe the Church as a divinely organized absolute monarchy, whose head concentrated in his person the entire authority of the Church, and was the source of all the ecclesiastical law (conditor juris), issuing the decrees of general councils in his own name, and claiming the right to revoke or modify the decrees of former councils - indeed, to make exceptions or to set aside altogether anything which did not rest upon the dictates of divine or natural law.
The control of the church; the universities were remodelled and modernized by the introduction of new faculties, the study of ecclesiastical law being transferred from that of theology to that of jurisprudence, and the elaborate system of elementary and secondary education was established, which survived with slight modification till 1869.
The revelation of the antagonism between the German conception of ecclesiastical affairs and Roman views of ecclesiastical law was sooner or later inevitable.
Here in 1 754 he became professor extraordinarius of theology, and three years later received an ordinary professorship. He lectured on dogmatics, church history, ethics, polemics, natural theology, symbolics, the epistles of Paul, Christian antiquities, historical theological literature, ecclesiastical law and the fathers, and took an active interest in the work of the Gottinger Societdt In 1766 he was appointed professor primarius.
The principle of personality, however, gradually gave way to that of territoriality; and in every district, at least north of the Loire, customs were formed in which were combined in varying proportions Roman law, ecclesiastical law and the various Germanic laws.
The popes, then, or at least the more politic of them, have been content to lay down as the condition of reunion no more than the acceptance of the distinctive dogmas of the Roman Catholic Church, especially the supremacy and infallibility of the pope; the ritus of the Uniat Oriental Churches - liturgies and liturgical languages, ecclesiastical law and discipline, marriage of priests, beards and costume, the monastic system of St Basil - they have been content for the most part to leave untouched.
To the curial system, so evolved, and continually fortifying its position in the domains of theology, ecclesiastical law and politics, the episcopal system stands in diametrical opposition.
A bigamous marriage, by the ecclesiastical law of England, is simply void.