54 This allowance of marriage between second cousins seems to have caused surprise in some quarters. Cf. Epistle of Felix of Messana to Gregory (XlV. 16). The motive of St. Boniface in his letter to Nothelm, referred to above under note 1, in which he asked for a copy of these Questions and Answers, seems to have been a desire to ascertain whether Gregory had really allowed such marriages. He writes, "in qua inter caetera capitula continetur quod in tertia generatione propinquitatis fidelibus liceat matrimonia copulare."
56 It is to be observed that Gregory, though aware of the existence of British bishops, as his answer to the following questions shews, does not contemplate their taking part in ordinations. He may have been unwilling to invite their co-operation till assured of their orthodoxy and submission to the Roman See. The failure of Augustine's negociations with them has been attributed to his own imperious attitude towards them. But it is at least a question whether his instructions did not justify the position he assumed (See Bede, H.E. 11.2.).
59 In the scheme, sketched in this letter for the constitution of the Church in England which Gregory seems to have contemplated being carried out in Angustine's own day, he shews serious ignorance of the state of things in England at the time, and consequently of possibilities. Among other things he appears to have known little of the ancient Brtish Church or of the independent position which its bishops would be likely to assume. Still it is interesting to observe that the scheme in its main features-that of two independent Metropolitans in the North and in the South, each with his suffragan bishops under them-was after all eventually realized, and that the present constitution of the English Church may be traced to this letter; only that Canterbury never yielded its primitive dignity, as had been proposed, to London.
61 Or Iberia, corrected from Hibernia by the Benedictine Editors, with the support of some few mss. That the letter was addressed to the bishops of Hibernia (i.e. Ireland) is highly improbable. Not only is it unlikely that the Eastern heresy of Nestorianism would have infected Ireland, but the fact also, mentioned in the beginning of the letter, that the messenger from the bishops addressed had passed through Jerusalem on his way to Rome evidently points to some Eastern locailty. For similar reasons it cannot well be supposed that Iberia here denotes Spain. It may have been the territory so-called in the neighbourhood of Armenia, between Cholchis on the West, and Albania on the East, now Gurgistan.