Gregory IX, Decretals of
GREGORY IX, DECRETALS OF
The first authentic general collection of papal decretals and constitutions, promulgated by Pope Gregory IX in 1234. When Gregory became pope in 1227 the chief collection of the legal tradition of the church was still the Decretum of gratian, then almost 90 years old. Although in the interval the activities of the decretists, and later of the decretalists, had resulted in many other collections of papal legislation, notably in the quinque compilationes antiquae, there was a lack of coherence between these collections that made for confusion. In 1230 Gregory IX, a lawyer of quality himself, called on the Spanish Dominican, raymond of peÑafort, a former professor of law at Bologna, to remedy the situation. From the bull, Rex pacificus, promulgating Raymond's compilation some four years later, it appears that his mandate from Gregory was to "collect into one volume," for "the use of schools and tribunals," the numerous constitutions and decretals of Gregory's predecessors that were scattered through the various collections, as well as Gregory's own constitutions and any decretals "circulating outside the usual collections" ("quae vagabantur extra").
The result of Raymond's labor was a systematic volume based upon the Quinque compilationes antiquae. These, indeed, provided him with the division into five books (iudex, iudicium, clerus, connubia, crimen ), with 179 of 185 titles and with 1,767 of the total 1,971 chapters; of the remaining 204 chapters, 195 are from constitutions of Gregory IX, seven from Innocent III, and two from an unidentified source. Far from verifying the texts taken from the Compilationes, Raymond perpetuated their errors, false ascriptions, and mutilations. What is more, in imitation of the compilers' methods, decretals were dissected and then dispersed through various chapters: thus fragments of Innocent III's Pastorali officio (A. Potthast, Regesta pontificum romanorum inde ab a. 1198 ad a. 1304, 2 v. 2530) occur in 13 chapters (Corpus iuris canonici, ed. E. Friedberg (Leipzig 1879–81) X.1.3.14;1.6.1; 1.29.28; 1.31.11; 2.1.14; 2.22.8; 2.25.4; 2.28.53; 3.10.9; 3.24.7; 3.30.28; 3.38.29; 5.33.19). Obeying Gregory's order to "eliminate superfluous matter," Raymond shortened some passages and modified others; on ambiguois points Gregory provided him with some pithy ad hoc decretal letters by way of clarification (see rex pacificus and Corpus iuris canonici, X.1.13.2; 4.20.8;5.19.19; "Gregorius IX. Fratri R."; 5.32.4). As a result, the compilation was in reality a fresh edition of decretal law; universal in character, it was also exclusive of all other decretals and collections, to the exception of the Decretum. Neither Gregory nor Raymond gave it a title, but it became known as Liber extravagantium (see extravagantes). It occasioned a host of commentaries, etc., and is the heart of the official corpus iuris canonici of 1582 [a modern printing of which is that of A. Friedberg (Leipzig 1881)]. The usual method of citation is by book, title, and chapter, thus: X. (for Extravagantium ) 1.13.11.
Bibliography: Corpus iuris canonici, ed. e. friedberg (Leipzig 1879–81) 2:IX–XLIV. j. f. von schulte, Die Geschichte der Quellen und der Literatur des kanonischen Rechts, 3 v. in 4 pts. (Stuttgart 1875–80; repr. Graz 1956) 1:243. a. m. stickler, Historia iuris canonici latini: v. 1, Historia jontium (Turin 1950) 237–251. p. torquebiau, Dictionnaire de droit canonique, ed. r. naz, 7 v. (Paris 1935–65) 4:627–632. a. m. stickler, Lexikon für Theologie und Kirche, ed. j. hofer and k. rahner, 10 v. (2d, new ed. Freiburg 1957–65) 3:66.
[l. e. boyle]