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ADOPTION
ADOPTION
148

to the Code of the Neapolitan Kingdom (23 February, 1853). In Great Britain and the United States legal adoption, in the sense of the Roman law, is not recognised. Adoption is regulated in the United States by State statutes; generally it is accomplished by mutual obligations assumed in the manner prescribed by law. It is usually brought before the county clerk, as in Texas, or before the probate judges, as in New Jersey. In such cases the relation of parent and child is established; but the main purpose is to entitle the adopted to the rights and privileges of a legal heir. Adoption, or contract by private authority, or under private arrangements, is not recognized by the Church as productive of this legal relationship. The Congregation of the Holy Office (16 April, 1761) had occasion to make this declaration with regard to it, as customary among the Bulgarians. Hence, generally in the United States adoption is not a diriment impediment to marriage, nor in the eyes of the Church in any way preventive of it. A different view is taken by the Roman Congregations of the Holy Office and of the Sacred Penitentiary of adoption as recognised in other countries which have retained the substantial elements of the Roman law establishing this relationship. The French Code (art. 383) decides that the adopted will remain with his natural family and preserve all his rights, but it enforces the prohibitions of marriage as in the Roman law. Hence the Congregation of the Penitentiary decided (17 May, 1826) that if the adoption took place in accordance with the French law, it involved the canonical diriment impediment of marriage. In Germany, by the new law taking effect in 1900, there is prescribed the procedure by which adoption is effected, and by which the adopted passes into the family of the adopter, losing the rights coming from his natural family. In Germany, however, many subtile distinctions have been engrafted upon this adoption. The restrictions of the relationship by the German law are not, however, accepted by the Church. When adoption is in accord with the substantial elements of the Roman law, as in the case of the German code, in the eyes of the Church it carries with it all the restrictions in the matter of marriage accepted by the Church from the Roman law. Thus, by the German law, the wife of the adopter is not united by affinity to the adopted, nor the adopter to the adopted's wife. But the Church still recognises this affinity to hold even in Germany. The Austrian Code has almost the same prescriptions as the German. When there is a reasonable doubt or difference of opinion among canonists or theologians upon the fact of legal relationship, the safe rule is to ask for a dispensation. In the Legislature of Quebec, a few years ago, an attempt was made to introduce into the Civil Code the almost identical principles of the Napoleonic Code for adoption, but the proposal was rejected by the Chamber. The Church authorities in Canada do not recognise that any impediment to marriage arises from whatever private arrangements of adoption may be there recognized.

Benedict XIV, De Syn. Diœc., IX, c. x; Feije, De Imped. et Disp. Matr. (Louvain, 1885), tit. xvii, p. 288, sqq.; De Angelis, Præl. Jur. Can. (Rome, 1880), III, i, lib. IV, tit. xii; Santi, Præl. Jur. Can. (New York), lib. IV, tit. xii; Craisson, Man. Jur. Can., lib. II, e. viii, de Matr.; Kenrick, Theol. Mor. (Malines, 1861), II, Tract. xxi, De Matr., s. v.; D'amino, Dizionario dell' Ecclesiastico (Turin, 1878); André-Wagner, Dictionnaire de droit canonique (Paris, 1901), s.v.

Adoption, Supernatural.—(Lat. adoptare, to choose.) Adoption is the gratuitous taking of a stranger as one's own child and heir. According as the adopter is man or God, the adoption is styled human or divine, natural or supernatural. In the present instance there is question only of the divine, that adoption of man by God in virtue of which we become His sons and heirs. Is this adoption only a figurative way of speaking? Is there substantial authority to vouch for its reality? What idea are we to form of its nature and constituents? A careful consideration of the presentation of Holy Scripture, of the teachings of Christian tradition, and of the theories set forth by theologians relative to our adopted sonship, will help to answer these questions. The Old Testament, which St. Paul aptly compares to the state of childhood and bondage, contains no text that would point conclusively to our adoption. There were indeed saints in the days of the Old Law, and if there were saints there were also adopted children of God, for sanctity and adoption are inseparable effects of the same habitual grace. But as the Old Law did not possess the virtue of giving that grace, neither did it contain a clear intimation of supernatural adoption. Such sayings as those of Exodus (4:22), "Israel is my son, my firstborn", Osee (1:10), "Ye are the sons of the living God", and Romans (9:4), "Israelites to whom belongeth the adoption as of children", are not to be applied to any individual soul, for they were spoken of God's chosen people taken collectively. It is in the New Testament, which marks the fullness of time and the advent of the Redeemer, that we must search for the revelation of this heaven-born privilege (cf. Galatians 4:1). "Son of God" is an expression of no infrequent use in the Synoptic Gospels, and as therein employed, the words apply both to Jesus and to ourselves. But whether, in the case of Jesus, this phrase points to Messiahship only, or would also include the idea of real divine filiation, is a matter of little consequence in our particular case. Surely in our case it cannot of itself afford us a sufficiently stable foundation on which to establish a valid claim to adopted sonship. As a matter of fact, when St. Matthew (v, 9, 45) speaks of the "children of God", he means the peacemakers, and when he speaks of "children of your Father who is in Heaven", he means those who repay hatred with love, thereby implying throughout nothing more than a broad resemblance to, and moral union with God. The charter of our adoption is properly recorded by St. Paul (Romans 8; Ephesians 1; Galatians 4); St. John (Prologue and I Epistle 1, 3); St. Peter (I Epistle 1); and St. James (I Epistle 1). According to these several passages we are begotten, born of God. He is our Father, but in such wise that we may call ourselves, and truly are, His children, the members of His family, brothers of Jesus Christ with whom we partake of the Divine Nature and claim a share in the heavenly heritage. This divine filiation, together with the right of coheritage, finds its source in God's own will and graceful condescension. When St. Paul, using a technical term borrowed from the Greeks, calls it adoption, we must interpret the word in a merely analogical sense. In general, the correct interpretation of the Scriptural concept of our adoption must follow the golden mean and locate itself midway between the Divine Sonship of Jesus on the one hand, and human adoption on the other—immeasurably below the former and above the latter. Human adoption may modify the social standing, but adds nothing to the intrinsic worth of an adopted child. Divine adoption, on the contrary, works inward, penetrating to the very core of our life, renovating enriching, transforming it into the likeness of Jesus, "the firstborn among many brethren". Of course it cannot be more than a likeness, an image of the Divine Original mirrored in our imperfect selves. There will ever be between our adoption and the filiation of Jesus the infinite distance which separates created grace from hypostatical union. And yet, that intimate and mysterious communion with Christ, and through Him with God, is the glory of our adopted sonship: "And the glory which thou hast given me, I have given to them-