View previous topic | View next topic

Lowest age of consent

Page 1 of 2
Goto page 1, 2  Next

ali
772103.  Mon Jan 03, 2011 6:54 pm Reply with quote

Nice catch, but for those who want more specific details:

Codex Iuris Canonici wrote:
Can. 1083 — § 1. Vir ante decimum sextum aetatis annum completum, mulier ante decimum quartum item completum, matrimonium valide inire non possunt.

§ 2. Integrum est Episcoporum conferentiae aetatem superiorem ad licitam matrimonii celebrationem statuere.


The English version

On the other hand:

paddington wrote:
The law of Italy applied only where it did not conflict with Canon Law


needs to be referenced - it doesn't seem to be explicit in the Lateran Treaty

 
paddington
772256.  Tue Jan 04, 2011 11:39 am Reply with quote

ali wrote:

On the other hand:

paddington wrote:
The law of Italy applied only where it did not conflict with Canon Law


needs to be referenced - it doesn't seem to be explicit in the Lateran Treaty


Unfortunately I don't think the primary source is available on-line, but there is a published research article available for reference, which identifies that the "Law of the Source of Laws" governing the adoption of Italian Law places it secondary to Canon Law, so Canon Law overrides any contrary article of Italian Law (see section 2 of that article).

I'm sure QI could obtain a copy of the document from the Vatican if they really want to be sure.

 
ali
772281.  Tue Jan 04, 2011 1:59 pm Reply with quote

I think this is the primary source - specifically N. II. - Legge sulle fonti del diritto from which article 3 (below) is the relevant section.

Quote:
3. Nelle materie, alle quali non provvedano le fonti indicate nell'art. 1, si osservano, in via suppletiva e fino a che non siasi provveduto con leggi proprie della Città del Vaticano, le leggi emanate dal Regno d'Italia fino alla data di entrata in vigore della presente insieme ai loro regolamenti generali ed a quelli locali della Provincia e del Governatorato di Boma, indicati negli articoli seguenti e colle modificazioni e limitazioni specificate nei medesimi, sempre che dette leggi e regolamenti non sieno contrari ai precetti di diritto divino né ai principi generali del diritto canonico, nonché alle norme del Trattato e del Concordato stipulati fra la S. Sede ed il Regno d'Italia nell' 11 febbraio 1929 e sempre che, in relazione allo stato di fatto esistente nella Città del Vaticano, risultino ivi applicabili.


Unfortunately, I haven't found this in an English version and my Italian isn't up to translating it (though it's good enough to see that it's full of typos), but it does seem to substantiate the view that Canon Law takes precedence.


paddington wrote:
The quibble some people then try is that this applies to marriage, not to sex - but under canon law sex is only licit within marriage anyway, so there can be no valid consent to sex under 16/14 (as above) within the Vatican City State.


I think this quibble has more force than you think - the only references I have found to sex outside marriage in Canon law relate specifically to offences committed by clerics. The fact that it is considered sinful for lay persons does not ipso facto make it illegal in a civil sense.

 
paddington
772315.  Tue Jan 04, 2011 4:39 pm Reply with quote

ali wrote:
I think this is the primary source - specifically N. II. - Legge sulle fonti del diritto from which article 3 (below) is the relevant section.

Thankyou for finding that!

ali wrote:
paddington wrote:
The quibble some people then try is that this applies to marriage, not to sex - but under canon law sex is only licit within marriage anyway, so there can be no valid consent to sex under 16/14 (as above) within the Vatican City State.


I think this quibble has more force than you think - the only references I have found to sex outside marriage in Canon law relate specifically to offences committed by clerics. The fact that it is considered sinful for lay persons does not ipso facto make it illegal in a civil sense.


Actually, I think it does: the text you quoted included the phrase:

Quote:
sempre che dette leggi e regolamenti non sieno contrari ai precetti di diritto divino né ai principi generali del diritto canonico


..which I believe translates as excluding laws which contravene not just Canon Law per se but also Divine Law and the principles of Canon Law.

It's certainly Catholic understanding of Divine Law that sex outside marriage is illicit, and this is one of the principle of Canon Law, so licit consent to intercourse cannot be given outside marriage: hence the age of consent to marriage has to be the same as the age of consent to intercourse.

 
paddington
774864.  Thu Jan 13, 2011 4:24 am Reply with quote

What, no response from any of the elves?

The myth that QI has perpetuated is gaining support from QI's error - try googling 'vatican age of consent' and you'll find the QI mistake being quoted in support of it.

Stephen Fry is of course known for his nasty views on Catholicism, so no doubt spreading this fiction delights him, but isn't QI was meant to above his personal prejudices??

 
dr.bob
774916.  Thu Jan 13, 2011 6:30 am Reply with quote

As I see it, your argument is twofold:

1) Canon law defines an age of consent for marriage (16 for boys, 14 for girls)

2) That implicitly defines the age of consent for sex, since sex outwith marriage is against Canon Law


A quick search on the internet turned up a complete list of Canon Law here:
http://www.vatican.va/archive/ENG1104/_INDEX.HTM

Now, I've had a look through the rules for marriage, and your first point is absolutely correct. Canon 1083 states:
Quote:
A man before he has completed his sixteenth year of age and a woman before she has completed her fourteenth year of age cannot enter into a valid marriage.


Sorted!

However, I can't find anything about pre-marital sex in the section about marriage. It does list a number of impediments to marriage, including impotence and not having been baptised into the Catholic church. It does not list pre-marital sex as an impediment to marriage, though.

I've not looked through the entire Canon Law to find where it mentions pre-marital sex since, frankly, I've got better things to do with my life. A few google searches on "canon law" and "premarital sex" turned up very little, though.

Perhaps you could back up part 2 of your argument by pointing out where in Canon Law it forbids pre-martial sex.

 
Neotenic
774928.  Thu Jan 13, 2011 6:45 am Reply with quote



Cannon law; He who has the cannon, makes the law.

 
paddington
774937.  Thu Jan 13, 2011 6:54 am Reply with quote

dr.bob wrote:
As I see it, your argument is twofold:

1) Canon law defines an age of consent for marriage (16 for boys, 14 for girls)

2) That implicitly defines the age of consent for sex, since sex outwith marriage is against Canon Law


No: point 2 isn't correct.

Look at my post of 4 Jan: the issue here is that Italian Law (the issue about what date isn't relevant here) is accepted only where it does not contravene Canon Law or God's Law. Sex outside marriage is clearly understood by the Church to be excluded by God's Law (as expressed in the sixth commandment - see http://www.scborromeo.org/ccc/p3s2c2a6.htm#2353 and its context for the Catechism of the Catholic Church on the subject).

So any Italian law under which consent to sex is possible outside marriage contravenes God's Law, and is thus not valid within the Vatican City under the "Law of Sources of Law" on which Vatican City law is based; and if people cannot validly consent to sex outside marriage, then the age limits for marriage are also those for sex.

(Having talked to a clergyman who was at one time regarded as a senior Canon Lawyer within the Vatican - now rather elderly and not online, unfortunately, he confirms that this is the view taken within the Vatican - has anyone from QI actually thought of asking the Vatican or the Papal Legate in the UK for a comment?)

 
dr.bob
775077.  Thu Jan 13, 2011 11:57 am Reply with quote

I will bow to the superior knowledge of a senior Canon Lawyer within the Vatican. It sounds like this could be a candidate for the Retractions Special.

However, I have a few questions:

You mention that adultery is banned by the 10 commandments, then provide a link explaining the meaning of fornication (sex between two unmarried people). Are adultery and fornication the same thing?

Is everything mentioned in the 10 commandments therefore illegal in the Holy See? Does that mean I can be arrested for coveting my neighbour's ox if I live there?

The 10 commandments also mention that you shouldn't "make for yourself an idol, in the form of anything that is in heaven above" or "bow down to them or worship them". To an ignorant atheist like myself, a lot of what goes on in the Vatican seems to violate this commandment. I'm sure this has been pointed out before, so I'd be interested to know the explanation for this behaviour.

What else in the Bible counts as God's Law and therefore legally enforceable in the Vatican City? Deuteronomy 14 famously prohibits the eating of shellfish (among other things). Are shellfish restaurants illegal in the Holy See?

 
paddington
775140.  Thu Jan 13, 2011 4:39 pm Reply with quote

dr.bob wrote:
I will bow to the superior knowledge of a senior Canon Lawyer within the Vatican. It sounds like this could be a candidate for the Retractions Special.

However, I have a few questions:

You mention that adultery is banned by the 10 commandments, then provide a link explaining the meaning of fornication (sex between two unmarried people). Are adultery and fornication the same thing?


No; but the commandment against adultery is taken as covering a wider range of specific behaviours. You'd have to do some reading in Catholic theology for the full reasoning behind this, but I don't think anyone could reasonably argue that the Church didn't regard premarital sex as against God's law!

Quote:
Is everything mentioned in the 10 commandments therefore illegal in the Holy See? Does that mean I can be arrested for coveting my neighbour's ox if I live there?


Probably not; the Holy See adopted Italian law as far as it did not conflict with God's Law and Canon Law. If there's an Italian law which provides for coveting an ox to be a crime, then it would be valid law in the Vatican (as it wouldn't contravene those other laws), but I doubt that there is. If there's no such Italian law, then there's no such Vatican law.

Quote:
The 10 commandments also mention that you shouldn't "make for yourself an idol, in the form of anything that is in heaven above" or "bow down to them or worship them". To an ignorant atheist like myself, a lot of what goes on in the Vatican seems to violate this commandment. I'm sure this has been pointed out before, so I'd be interested to know the explanation for this behaviour.


In Catholicism, the only object of worship is God; a physical object (such as a statue or painting) may be a reminder of the presence of God, or a sign of God; but if a Catholic bows in front of the altar (for example) it is an act of worship of God, with the altar just a sign, not of worship of the altar itself.

But I accept that from external appearances the difference may not be obvious, especially to someone who has no knowledge of the presence of God.

 
dr.bob
775307.  Fri Jan 14, 2011 6:59 am Reply with quote

paddington wrote:
No; but the commandment against adultery is taken as covering a wider range of specific behaviours. You'd have to do some reading in Catholic theology for the full reasoning behind this, but I don't think anyone could reasonably argue that the Church didn't regard premarital sex as against God's law!


I'd certainly agree that premarital sex is a sin, but I'm trying to establish whether everything that's a sin is, by extension, illegal in the Vatican City. After all, AIUI, impure thoughts are a sin, but I doubt you can get banged up for them.

paddington wrote:
Probably not; the Holy See adopted Italian law as far as it did not conflict with God's Law and Canon Law. If there's an Italian law which provides for coveting an ox to be a crime, then it would be valid law in the Vatican (as it wouldn't contravene those other laws), but I doubt that there is. If there's no such Italian law, then there's no such Vatican law.


OK, now I'm really confused. You mention adultery as being specifically mentioned in the 10 commandments is against God's Law. Yet coveting, which is also specifically mentioned in the 10 commandments, is not against God's Law, so there'd need to be an Italian law banning it for it to be illegal in the Vatican City.

Is there any strict definition of God's Law, is it defined in terms of precedent (much like the UK's "unwritten" constitution), or is it largely made up as you go along? (The "you" there being a general "you". I'm not specifically trying to have a go at you personally)

Mind you, all this theological debate seems to be fairly irrelevant. After 10 minutes with google, I managed to dig up this law (or check out this version which, as well as the original Italian, has the text (badly) translated into English and French as well). The law in question defines penalties for sexual violence. Article 3 deals with sexual violence, Article 4 deals with "compounding circumstances" (i.e. the use of weapons, drugs, etc), but the most relevant article to this discussion is Article 5.

As far as I can tell, Article 5 simply deals with sex with minors (with or without violence), and defines a crime as anyone who has sex with someone who is less than 14 years old (or 16 years old if the older person has a position of responsibility to the child, for instance a teacher), although it permits sex with anyone 13 years or older provided the older partner is not more than three years older than the younger partner.

This law came into effect on 20 February 1996 and so, AIUI, should have been adopted into Vatican law under the Lateran Treaty.

Unless I've missed something important, that should be a fairly simple, straight-forward proof that the age of consent in the Vatican City is not lower than in the rest of Italy.

paddington wrote:
but if a Catholic bows in front of the altar (for example) it is an act of worship of God, with the altar just a sign, not of worship of the altar itself.


Thanks for the explanation. I figured there must be some kind of explanation like that, I just didn't know what it was.

paddington wrote:
But I accept that from external appearances the difference may not be obvious, especially to someone who has no knowledge of the presence of God.


I must admit, the difference between making an idol in the form of something that is in heaven above (not allowed under the 10 commandments) and simply creating a "reminder" of the presence of God (apparently OK) does seem to me to be a very subtle distinction.

But I guess that's a whole other discussion, so I won't start anything here.

 
paddington
775368.  Fri Jan 14, 2011 9:46 am Reply with quote

dr.bob wrote:
paddington wrote:
No; but the commandment against adultery is taken as covering a wider range of specific behaviours. You'd have to do some reading in Catholic theology for the full reasoning behind this, but I don't think anyone could reasonably argue that the Church didn't regard premarital sex as against God's law!


I'd certainly agree that premarital sex is a sin, but I'm trying to establish whether everything that's a sin is, by extension, illegal in the Vatican City. After all, AIUI, impure thoughts are a sin, but I doubt you can get banged up for them.


As I understand it, the situation as far as criminal law is concerned is this:

- Italian Law applies (subject to some quibbles over date and what constitutes 'new law', as flagged by a previous poster)
- Unless it contravenes God's Law or Canon Law.

God's Law and Canon Law are not themselves criminal law, so you don't get prosecuted under them in the criminal courts.

Sex under certain ages is criminal by the laws of Italy, and that's not against God's law; making it legal outside marriage would be (so any provision which makes consent possible outside marriage would not apply in the Vatican).

dr.bob wrote:
paddington wrote:
Probably not; the Holy See adopted Italian law as far as it did not conflict with God's Law and Canon Law. If there's an Italian law which provides for coveting an ox to be a crime, then it would be valid law in the Vatican (as it wouldn't contravene those other laws), but I doubt that there is. If there's no such Italian law, then there's no such Vatican law.


OK, now I'm really confused. You mention adultery as being specifically mentioned in the 10 commandments is against God's Law. Yet coveting, which is also specifically mentioned in the 10 commandments, is not against God's Law, so there'd need to be an Italian law banning it for it to be illegal in the Vatican City.


As I said above, God's law is not criminal law and can't be prosecuted in courts - or not human ones anyway! - unless a code of criminal law is in place to back it up.

Quote:
Is there any strict definition of God's Law, is it defined in terms of precedent (much like the UK's "unwritten" constitution), or is it largely made up as you go along? (The "you" there being a general "you". I'm not specifically trying to have a go at you personally)


There's certainly an understanding of what is and is not in line with God's law in Catholic theology, but it's not in one easy to find place; it's in documents which have official standing. Much, in fact , as English law is based on a combination of statue, common law and court decisions.

Quote:
Mind you, all this theological debate seems to be fairly irrelevant. After 10 minutes with google, I managed to dig up this law (or check out this version which, as well as the original Italian, has the text (badly) translated into English and French as well).

[...]

This law came into effect on 20 February 1996 and so, AIUI, should have been adopted into Vatican law under the Lateran Treaty.

Unless I've missed something important, that should be a fairly simple, straight-forward proof that the age of consent in the Vatican City is not lower than in the rest of Italy.


I reckon (for what its worth) that the Italian courts would probably agree with you.

However, the issue brought up by a previous poster was that the wording of the Law of Sources of Laws referred to adoption of *new* laws, and that may be an amendment to previous law - and without knowing how the Vatican itself interprets the meaning of "new" in that context (is amended law a new law? It's a new provision of law, but is that the same thing?) it's hard to be sure that the 1996 law is covered.

I'm saying that even if that law is not 'new law' (and that's the basis on which it might be argued that the age of consent is till the 12 it was under Italian law at the time of he Latern Treaty), then the provisions of the Law of Sources of Laws mean that the ruling age would have to be that in Canon Law for marriage; and that's 16 for boys and 14 for girls.

Either way, the "12" is a myth, and needs exploding.

 
dr.bob
775377.  Fri Jan 14, 2011 10:23 am Reply with quote

paddington wrote:
As I understand it, the situation as far as criminal law is concerned is this:

- Italian Law applies (subject to some quibbles over date and what constitutes 'new law', as flagged by a previous poster)
- Unless it contravenes God's Law or Canon Law.

God's Law and Canon Law are not themselves criminal law, so you don't get prosecuted under them in the criminal courts.


OK, so let's see if I've got this right. I'm struggling a bit to understand here, so please correct me if I'm wrong.

From what you've said, it sounds as if the law in the Vatican City is based on Italian Law, and they simply have the option to opt out of new laws if they conflict with God's law. For instance, if Italy changed the law to legalise same sex marriages, the Vatican would opt out of that change and keep the old laws that banned it.

However, just because something is against God's law, doesn't mean that it's illegal in the Vatican City, since you say that "God's Law and Canon Law are not themselves criminal law." For something to be illegal in the Vatican City, it sounds like it needs to have been illegal in Italy at some point, and the change to the law to legalise it was viewed as contrary to God's law, so the Vatican opted out of it.

paddington wrote:
Sex under certain ages is criminal by the laws of Italy, and that's not against God's law; making it legal outside marriage would be (so any provision which makes consent possible outside marriage would not apply in the Vatican).


So any change to Italian law making extra-marital sex legal would not be recognised by the Vatican City? I guess that kind of makes sense. In which case my question would be: was extra-marital sex illegal at the time of the the Lateran Treaty?

If it was, then I think your argument holds. If it wasn't, though, then it sounds like we're back in the territory of coveting my neighbours ox: something that's against God's law, but wasn't actually illegal in Italian law and so is not upheld by the criminal courts.

 
Jenny
775455.  Fri Jan 14, 2011 12:05 pm Reply with quote

dr.bob wrote:
For instance, if Italy changed the law to legalise same sex marriages, the Vatican would opt out of that change and keep the old laws that banned it.


AIUI, it's not that same sex marriage is actively banned by any laws. It's just not permitted by virtue of not falling within the categories of things that are possible. A subtle distinction, but a real one.

 
paddington
776460.  Mon Jan 17, 2011 8:49 am Reply with quote

dr.bob wrote:

However, just because something is against God's law, doesn't mean that it's illegal in the Vatican City, since you say that "God's Law and Canon Law are not themselves criminal law." For something to be illegal in the Vatican City, it sounds like it needs to have been illegal in Italy at some point, and the change to the law to legalise it was viewed as contrary to God's law, so the Vatican opted out of it.


More or less, though I'm making the point that there is a distinction between 'illegal' (outside the law) and 'criminal' (outside the criminal law). Canon Law within the Vatican can make things illegal (since it's a source of law), but Canon law wouldn't stand up in a criminal prosecution in the Italian courts; only in Church courts. There are things which are illegal in Canon law which a criminal court wouldn't look at - conferring baptism in a private house (except in emergency), for example.

Quote:
paddington wrote:
Sex under certain ages is criminal by the laws of Italy, and that's not against God's law; making it legal outside marriage would be (so any provision which makes consent possible outside marriage would not apply in the Vatican).


So any change to Italian law making extra-marital sex legal would not be recognised by the Vatican City? I guess that kind of makes sense. In which case my question would be: was extra-marital sex illegal at the time of the the Lateran Treaty?


Extra-marital sex before certain ages was, and that's what affects the age of consent aspect.

I'd be quite surprised if Italian law had ever made all forms of extramarital sex criminal - perhaps we should ask the Italian prime minister :-)

 

Page 1 of 2
Goto page 1, 2  Next

All times are GMT - 5 Hours


Display posts from previous:   

Search Search Forums

Powered by phpBB © 2001, 2002 phpBB Group