husband from a deceased wife. Hence a father and a son could not marry a mother and a daughter. Affinity begot affinity. But the Fourth Council of Lateran took away all but the first kind of affinity; hence the axiom that "affinity does not beget affinity". There was some really groundless discussion in the eighteenth century as to whether a step-father could marry the widow of his deceased stepson; but it was authoritatively decided, as Benedict XIV states (De Syn. Dioec., IX, xii) that there was no impediment to their marriage, it having been done away with by the Fourth Council of Lateran.
The impediment to marriage from affinity arises from ecclesiastical law. This is clearly recognized to-day by theologians with regard to collateral affinity. The Church grants dispensation in all the degrees of this affinity. In regard to affinity in the direct line, there was a serious discussion whether in the first degree it arose from a natural, Divine, or ecclesiastical law; by what law was a stepfather forbidden to marry his stepdaughter? The Church refrains from granting the dispensation, but does not disclaim the right to do so. Indeed, a decree of the Holy Office (20 February, 1888) implies that this affinity arises from ecclesiastical law: "The Holy Father permits bishops to dispense from all public impediments diriment of marriage derived from the ecclesiastical law, except from the order of the priesthood, and affinity, in the direct line, arising from lawful intercourse." Craisson states (Man. Jur. Canon, Lib. II, De affin., n. 4285) that "Collator Andegavensis" quotes (394) Sanchez and Pontius as asserting that "the Pope … dispenses converted infidels married within this first degree of affinity, if they had contracted marriage in accord with the law of their country." This supposes that this affinity in the first degree of the direct line is not an impediment of the natural or Divine law. An additional argument may be drawn from the dispensation which the Church grants in this case where there has been occult unlawful intercourse. Any repugnance of nature would hold then, as where the intercourse proceeded from marriage.
If a married person should have intercourse with the marriage-partner's blood-relative of the second degree, in the direct or collateral line, a penalty is placed upon the one so sinning of forfeiting the right to ask for marital intercourse from the marriage-partner, though the innocent party does not forfeit the right to claim it. If the wrong had been done through fear, the common teaching is that the penalty is not incurred, and this is also probably so if done without knowledge of the penalty. If incurred, a dispensation from the penalty may be obtained from the bishop. The affinity would become more complicated, and add new bars to marriage, if the person had intercourse with several persons of varying degrees of affinity. By the Roman law, the affinity ceased at the death of the one from whom it originated. Thus when a remarried father died, his second wife was no longer akin to the children of his former wife. By canon law a marriage not consummated does not beget affinity. By a marriage null through a diriment impediment, the affinity probably does not extend beyond the second degree. By the French code the affinity in the direct line, and in the first degree of the collateral line, is a bar to marriage, though the privilege was given to the king to dispense in the second case. The British law forbids the marriage of a man with his deceased wife's sister, and a marriage of this kind performed in the colonies of the British Empire, where it may be allowed, is not held as valid in Great Britain. In the session of the British Parliament in 1906, a strong effort was made to enact a law to recognize as valid, in Great Britain, such a marriage, if the colonial law recognized its validity where contracted. In Virginia this marriage is null, but it is generally recognized in the other States of the Union. The Greek Church adheres to the law as laid down in Leviticus, xviii, 8, 14, 16, 18; xx, 11, 12, 14, 19, 21. Yet the Greek patriarchs and bishops grant dispensations from some of the affinities therein mentioned. Nestorians allow affinity to beget affinity very extensively. Armenians extend the affinity to the fourth degree. The United Orientals approach the Catholic regulations.
Benedict XIV, De Syn. Diœc., IX, xiii; Santi, Prælect. Jur. Canon. Decret. Gregorii. IX, Lib. iv, Tit. xiv, De affinitate (Ed. Leitner, Ratisbon, 1898); Feije, De Imped. et Disp. Matr. (4th ed., 1893); Craisson, Manuale Jur. Can., Lib. II; André-Wagner, Dict. de droit canon., s.v. Affinite (3d ed., Paris, 1901); cf. Freisen, Geschichts des Kanon. Eherechts (2d ed., 1893), and Esmein, Le mariage en droit canonique, I (Paris, 1891).
Affirmation, a solemn declaration accepted In legal procedure in lieu of the requisite oath. In England, Canada, and the United States, this is universal. In England and Canada the statutory enactments upon the matter provide that false statements under affirmation shall constitute the crime of perjury in like manner as false statements under oath. The same provision either direct or implied is found in the legislation of the various States of the Union. This right to affirm instead of giving oath is generally conferred in deference to conscientious or religious scruples against swearing, such as are entertained by Quakers, Moravians, Dunkers, and Mennonites. In the court of conscience such an affirmation is not held to have the standing of an oath for the cardinal and obvious reason that the intention to swear, i.e. to call God to witness, is formally excluded.
Afflighem, a Benedictine abbey near Alost in Brabant, Belgium. It was founded by a party of six knights who, after abandoning their wild life, had resolved to do penance in the religious life on the scene of their former excesses. After building a church, they received, in 1084, a gift of the neighbouring lands from the Countess Adela and her sons. The rule of St. Benedict was adopted, a Benedictine, Wederig, having been the instrument of their conversion, and in after times the abbey became known for its strict observance of religious discipline. The Dukes of Brabant and Lorraine, and the Counts of Flanders, Louvain, Brussels, and Bologne were its patrons and protectors, and regarded it as a coveted privilege to be buried in the abbey church. Several monasteries, among them Maria-Laach, owe their foundation to monks from Afflighem. St. Bernard, who visited the abbey in 1146, declared that he had found angels there. It was during this visit that an image of Our Lady is said to have replied to the salutation of the Saint. In 1523, Afflighem joined the Bursfeld Congregation—a union of Benedictine Monasteries formed in the fifteenth century for the stricter observance of monastic rule. In 1569, the Archbishop of Mechlin became commendatory abbot and exercised his authority through a prior. This continued until the Suppression. Archbishop Boonen desired to sever relations with the Bursfeld Congregation and introduce the Monte Cassino observance. Yielding to his solicitations, the Prior, Benedict Haeften, founded, in 1627, a new congregation, "B. M. V. in Templo Præsentatæ". It included Afflighem and several other Belgian monasteries. It was dissolved in 1654. In 1796, in consequence of the French Revolution, the monks were dispersed, the buildings destroyed, and the lands sold. The last Prior, Beda Regauts, preserved the miraculous image of Our Lady, and the staff and chalice which had been presented by St. Bernard.