« Banks, Louis Albert Banns Baptism »


BANNS: A public announcement of an intended marriage, made in church during service. The word is a plural of ban, meaning an authoritative proclamation. The singular in the modern sense occurs in the fifteenth century; since then the plural only is found. Banns really have no connection either with the professiones of the early Church, alluded to by Ignatius and Tertullian, or with the provision made in the Carolingian capitulary of 802 for investigation by the clergy and seniores in order to avoid incestuous marriages. 435 The public announcement seams to have become customary first in France, then in England (where the Synod of Westminster, 1200, decreed that no marriage should be contracted without banns thrice published in the church), and were prescribed for the whole Church by Innocent III in the Lateran Council of 1215. According to the provisions of the Council of Trent the proclamation must be made in the place of residence of both parties on three consecutive Sundays or feasts of obligation. The bishop may dispense from this rule, and in case of need the parish priest may disregard it; in any case its observance does not affect the validity of the marriage. The evangelical churches of Germany retained this custom, as involving investigation of possible impediments and intercession of the congregation for the couple, and most secular laws, where marriage in church is required, have also sanctioned it, as a preliminary to ecclesiastical marriage. [In the Church of England the Prayer-book requires the publication of banns on three successive Sundays, after the second lesson at morning or evening prayer. This may be avoided by the procuring of a special licence from the Archbishop of Canterbury. In the United States banns are published only in the Roman Catholic Church and certain minor denominations.]

E. Friedberg.

Bibliography: Bingham, Origines, book xxii chap. ii, § 2; E. Martène, De antiquis ecclesiæ ritibus, book ii, chap. ix, art. v, 3 vols., Antwerp, 1736-37; J. Fessler, Der Kirchenbann und seine Folgen, Vienna, 1862; Schilling, Der Kirchenbann nach kanonischen Recht, Leipsic, 1859.

« Banks, Louis Albert Banns Baptism »
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