But the best canonists, from the Roman professor De Angelis (Prael.
Cranmer suggested that if the canonists and the universities should decide that marriage with a deceased brother's widow was illegal, and if it were proved that Catherine had been married to Prince Arthur, her marriage to Henry could be declared null and void by the ordinary ecclesiastical courts.
Not to speak of the canonists, Thomas Aquinas gives natural law an important place; while Melancthon, drawing from Aquinas, gives it an entrance into Protestant thought.
With the later 9th century we enter upon a new epoch, and by the time of Gregory VII., in the 11th century, the tribunals have fallen into the hands of a regular class of canonists who are in fact professional church-lawyers in orders.
It is not unlike the procedure of the canonists and casuists of the middle ages with regard to the doctrine of usury, by which the doctrine was to all appearances preserved intact while in reality it was stripped of all its original meaning by innumerable distinctions " over-curious and precise."