affinity as an impediment to wedlock. This is evident from the legislation contained in Lev., xviii, 8, 14–16, 18; xx, 11, 12, 14, 20, 21. Unlike canonical affinity, which arises both from lawful and unlawful consummated carnal intercourse, affinity in the code of the Old Testament springs from the sponsalia only, which with the Hebrews did not differ substantially from our matrimonium ratum. The above mentioned texts forbid marriage (1) in lineâ rectâ, with stepmother, stepdaughter, grand-stepdaughter, mother-in-law, daughter-in-law; (2) in lineâ collaterali, with paternal uncle's wife—aunt—(some versions include also maternal uncle's wife), with sister-in-law, except in those cases where the lex leviratus obtains, with wife's sister as long as the former is living. Be it remarked here that the Jews considered the relationship existing between the wife and her husband's family as of a closer nature than that between the husband and his wife's family.
The laws given in Lev., xviii receive sanction in Lev., xx. Death is indicated as the penalty of those who transgress the ordinances of affinity in lineâ rectâ, whereas childlessness is threatened to those who marry within the forbidden degrees in lineâ collaterali. It is well to note that childlessness here referred to means either that the offspring shall be looked upon as illegitimate, or that they shall be considered as the legitimate descendants of the deceased uncle or brother. In either case they would be childless before the law, and their possessions would pass into another family. No sanction is given to the law prohibiting a man from marrying simultaneously two sisters. From the fact that the separation of the spouses is nowhere enjoined in case they married within the forbidden degree in lineâ collaterali, we may infer that the existence of these impediments did not void the matrimonial contract. The sanction of the laws in question is, with one exception, rather severe. What reasons dictated this rigor? Moral propriety is one. The expressions "heinous crime" and "great abomination" are tokens of the inspired writer's unfeigned abhorrence of the acts qualified by them. The welfare of family life is another. People closely related as a rule dwell together, especially in Eastern countries. Were it not for the above-mentioned prohibitions disorders fatal to family life would creep in under the pretext of future marriage. Maimonides and St. Thomas insist strongly on this reason. The Bible finally intimates that the observance of these laws will differentiate the chosen people from heathen nations (Lev., xviii, 24). The New Testament does not contain any legislation on this subject, but narrates two incidents where the laws of Leviticus were violated. Herod Antipas married Herodias, the wife of his brother Philip (Matt., xiv, 3, 4; Mark, vi, 17–18; Luke, iii, 19), contrary to Lev., xviii, 16. For, even granting that Philip was dead, a much controverted question, the lex leviratus did not obtain since Herodias had a daughter by Philip. The man of Corinth had his father's wife (I Cor., v, 1) in opposition to Lev., xviii, 8.
De Hummelauer, Commentarius in Leviticum (Paris, 1897); James in Hastings, Dict. of the Bible (New York, 1898); Many in Vig., Dict. de la Bible (Paris, 1895) s.v.; Crelier, Commentaire sur l'Exode et le Levitique (Paris, 1886).
Affinity (in the canon law), a relationship arising from the carnal intercourse of a man and a woman, sufficient for the generation of children, whereby the man becomes related to the woman's blood-relatives and the woman to the man's. If this intercourse is between husband and wife, this relationship extends to the fourth degree of consanguinity, and the degree of affinity coincides with that of blood relationship. Today affinity does not beget affinity. Therefore the relatives of the man do not become relatives of the woman's relatives, neither do those of the woman become relatives of the man's relatives. Even if the intercourse were the result of force or committed in ignorance, e.g. in drunkenness, the juridical effect would follow. If the intercourse is licit, it is a diriment impediment of marriage in the collateral line of the fourth degree, as also in the direct line. If the intercourse is illicit or out of marriage, the impediment today is limited to the second degree. The Council of Trent makes no distinction with regard to the extent in either line. Though the Church has no jurisdiction over the not-baptized, yet it considers an affinity arising before baptism as a diriment impediment. The regulations of the Mosaic law, based on considerations of relationship, are contained in Leviticus, xviii. The design of the legislator was apparently to give an exhaustive list of prohibitions; he not only gives examples of degrees of relationship, but he specifies the prohibitions which are strictly parallel to each other, e.g. son's daughter and daughter's daughter, wife's son's daughter and wife's daughter's daughter, whereas had he wished to exhibit the prohibited degree, one of these instances would have been sufficient. He prohibits marriage to a brother's widow, but not to a deceased wife's sister. Yet he requires a brother to marry his brother's widow in case the latter died without issue; and he cautions the man not to hold intercourse with his wife's sister while the wife is living. The Roman law considered the intercourse of marriage to be a bar to marriage only with the kindred in the direct line. The Christian emperors extended it to the first degree of collateral affinity. The ecclesiastical law extended the juridical effect also to illicit intercourse. In the Council of Elvira (c. 300), the only recognized prohibition is the marriage of a widower with his deceased wife's sister. The prohibition became slowly more extensive till, in 1059, the eleventh canon of the Council of Rome recognizes the impediment of affinity as well as of consanguinity to extend to the seventh degree. This probably arose from the need of mingling the various barbarian races through marriage, an end that was effected by the extension of prohibitions of marriage between persons related. Innocent III in the Fourth Council of Lateran (1215) limited both affinity and consanguinity to the fourth degree. The Council of Trent (Sess. XXIV, c. iv, De Ref.) limited the juridical effect of the extra-matrimonial intercourse to the second degree of affinity.
The motive for the impediment of affinity is akin to, though not as strong as, that of consanguinity; there arises from the partners' carnal intercourse a nearness and natural intimacy with the blood-relatives of the other side. The degrees of affinity are determined by the same rule as the degree of blood-relationship. Before the Fourth Council of Lateran two other kinds of affinity were recognized as an impediment to marriage. If a man then married a widow, those who were akin to her by the previous marriage were also akin to the present husband. Moreover, if the first husband of the widow had been a widower, the blood relatives of his first wife were akin to the first husband, were also akin to the new wife, and to the last husband. We give an example: Titius contracted and consummated marriage with Bertha. The blood-relatives of Bertha were akin to Titius. Bertha dies. Titius contracts and consummates marriage with Sarah. The blood-relatives of Bertha, akin to Titius by the first kind, became akin to Sarah by the second kind of affinity. Titius dies and Sarah contracts and consummates marriage with Robert. The blood-relatives of Bertha, akin by second kind to Sarah, become akin by the third kind of affinity to Robert. Affinity also, in the ancient law, arose between the children of a woman from a deceased husband and the children of her