In 1201 he [Pope Innocent III] decreed that such was the need of the Holy Land that a man could take the Cross without his wife’s assent. This ran counter to the traditional principle of canon law on the binding and enduring consequences of the marriage contract: no one could unilaterally refuse his partner marital rights without that partner’s permission. Even Urban II had been careful to state that no young married man was to join the First Crusade without his wife’s consent. Innocent had made an elementary mistake and later canon lawyers were careful to limit the exception to the sole case of the interests of the Holy Land.
From “What Were the Crusades?” by Jonathan Riley-Smith
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