Couples in England have married out of necessity for centuries, but a new canon law book written by an Italian known as “Gratian” says marriage should be about consent.
The book, Decretum Gratiani, establishes two basic rules for marriages: the man and woman must decide on their own to marry and must be able to legally carry out their decision. In order to meet both standards the couple must be of the age of consent. The age of consent for women is 12 and for men it is 14.
Gratian’s rules have impacted Catholics in England. Thea Baker, a resident of London, is making preparations for her daughter’s marriage ceremony.
“When I was her age I got married for money and to raise a family. I was pressured by the Church to get a husband. I think it’s nice that people are now seeing marriage as something more,” Baker said.