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Dispensations for Marriage

GREGORY the Great was the first of the Popes who introduced the custom of Dispensations for Marriage. It was occasioned by William the Conqueror; who, having espoused Matilda, daughter of Baldwin the Fifth, Count of Flanders, who was related to him in a prohibited degree, the Pope permitted him to live with her, on condition of him and Matilda each founding an abbey. In this business it appears, the Pope got two abbeys for nothing; and, he who had conquered all Europe, could not vanquish the fears of religious prejudice.