Communis sententia doctorum; kanoniści okresu klasycznego; kanoniści okresu neoklasycznego
"Z Dziejów Prawa" (T. 3 (2010), s. 13-21)
Middle-aged canonists did not gain the authority comparable to the one of Roman lawyers.
Their opinions were not respected by the source of law, they interpreted the law. They dealt with
revealing and announcing the law, not its creation. The promulgation of decretals took place by
sending them to the universities, above all the University in Bologna, which meant respect and
appreciation of the importance of scholars. Thanks to promulgation decretals were “handed in”
to lawyers, and were grammatically, rhetorically and dialectically worked by them. This way,
they started their “second life” being moved into another context, used to solve other problems
unpredicted by the author, confronted with other sources. Confronting the texts with reason, but
also giving free rein to their imagination, their content was entirely taken out, ambiguities were
cleared, and general statements were formulated. A canonic law was in effect not according to
the sound of the text, but its interpretation by scholars.
The advantage of a common opinion by scholars was largely weakened as a result of Pius
VI’s prohibition to comment the decrees of the Trident Council. The interpretation of the council
decrees was reserved to the congregation of the council created in 1564. The congregation did
not publish its decrees (since 1793 they have been collected in volumes) and it was possible to
get to know only thanks to the publications of the congregation clerks. At that time the notion of
auctores probati appeared. The names communis sententia doctorum and auctores probati have
existed together since then. The former meant the scholars who reached a consensus in the very
subject-matter, the latter stood for the authors who based their opinions on hypotheses taken
from church preaching. One should not draw hasty conclusions from accepting the hypotheses
method instead of the issue method as to the academic level of postTrident canonists.