Sources and translations

This blog provides our draft translation of Carolingian texts, mostly linked to Hincmar of Rheims or the divorce of Lothar II and Theutberga.


The texts translated are as follows:

Page references are given in square brackets in the translation. All these translations are works in progress and have not been checked for errors or readability. Readers are strongly advised to check the Latin text themselves.


Thursday, 2 September 2010

Letter on Stephen 3: patristic quotes on marriage

[p 92] Both the old and new law teach how marriage ought to be entered, the Lord ordering through Moses, and the Gospel demonstrating: 'When Mary, the mother of Jesus was betrothed to Joseph, before they should come together' [Matthew 1: 18], that is before they came together in wedding celebration, just as the same shows in a celebrated wedding - which he deigned to sanctify with his presence and illuminate with a miracle accomplished just there. But also St Euaristus, fourth Bishop of the See of Rome after the blessed Peter wrote, and St Siriacus, and the blessed Leo and also all the other teachers show, all of which things we avoid placing here because of plurality and length. Yet we have reckoned to say the necessary thing, that legitimate marriages happen between the free-born and between equals, when a woman, asked from the relatives whom it concerns and legally betrothed, dowered and honoured with public marriage is joined in the bonds of marriage and from two one body and one flesh are made, just as is written: 'And there will be two in one flesh; and now not two but they are one flesh'; and 'What God has joined let man not separate' [Matthew 19: 5-6]. About which joining the great Pope Leo writes to Bishop Rusticius of Narbonne, saying: Not every woman joined to a man is the wife of the man, since nor is every son an heir of the father. But legitimate covenants of marriage are between free and between equals. And a little after: Whence since the association of marriage is thus constituted from the start, so that alongside the joining of the sexes it has in itself this sacrament of Christ and the Church, it is not to be doubted that that woman does not belong to marriage, in which it is shown there had not been the nuptial mystery. And we over against this can also show, that not every marriage makes a marital joining, which sexual intercourse does not follow, just as neither is every son of his an heir, whose heir he is known to be. Nor does marriage have the sacrament of Christ and the Church in itself, just as the blessed Augustine says, if they do not use each other maritally, that is if sexual intercourse does not follow close after. Nor will that woman be able to pertain to matrimony with whom it is shown there was no sexual intercourse, just as it is not to be doubted that that woman does not belong to marriage in whom it is shown there had not been the nuptial mystery. Which thus the aforesaid Leo shows to be, saying: Since the association of marriage is thus constituted from the start, so that alongside the joining of the sexes it has in itself this sacrament of Christ and the Church. And again the same: Therefore, he who should have given his daughter in marriage to a man having a concubine, it is thus not to be taken as if he had given her to a married man, unless perhaps that woman is seen made free and legitimately dowered and honoured with public marriage. By paternal authority the fault of joining is lacking to men if the women, who were had by the men, were not had in matrimony. By which sentence he clearly shows, that there is then true joining of legitimate marriage, when it happens between free and equals, and by paternal authority a free woman is joined to a man, legitimately dowered and honoured by a public marriage, with sexual intercourse. And then marriage has the sacrament of Christ and the Church in it and then that woman is known to belong to marriage, in whom both sexual intercourse and the nuptial mystery are known to have been.

[p 93] About which mystery, the apostle Paul says to the Ephesians: "He who loves his wife, loves himself. For no one ever has his own flesh in hatred, but nourishes it and cherishes it, just as Christ does the Church, since we are members of his body, from his flesh and bones. Because of this a man will leave his father and her mother and will adhere to his wife; and they will be two in one flesh. This is a great sacrament: but I say in Christ and in church." [Ephesians 5: 25] Hence St Ambrose signifies that the sacrament of the mystery is greatly in the unity of man and woman. Nor does only this appear, but it also demands another case, which is not in discord from the remembered mystery, which he knows to pertain to the human kind, that is of the church and Saviour, so that just as with parents left behind the man adheres to his wife, so also with all error left behind, the Church may adhere and be lain under its head, which is Christ. Since there is one nature in man and wife, therefore the man is reminded thus to love the woman as if himself. For by natural reason, the woman is a part of the body of the man, and through this the man loves himself in the woman; in which way, if he should fornicate, he sins in himself, since the two are in one flesh. The persons do not therefore divide the substance, so that through persons the number of nature may happen (?), but the natures are in unity. And St Augustine in the first book of marriage and concupiscence says: Clearly it is not only fecundity, whose fruit is in offspring, nor is it only modesty, whose chain is faith, but also a certain sacrament of marriage is commended to the faithful married, whence the apostle says: "Men, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the Church." The matter of this sacrament is without doubt that male and female, joined by marriage, as long as they should live, should persevere joined inseparably, nor is it allowed to separate man from wife except in the case of fornication. For this is kept in Christ and the Church, that the living with the living in eternity may be separated by no divorce in the City of God on his holy mountain, that is in the Catholic Church. And St Gregory in the letter to Patriarch Teoctista says: For the Truth says through himself: 'What God has joined, let not man separate.' Who also said: 'It is not allowed to send away a wife except in the case of fornication.' [Matthew 5: 32] For we know that it is written: 'They will be two in one flesh.' If therefore man and wife are one flesh and for the sake of religion a man sends away the wife or the wife the husband, remaining in this world or perhaps moving to illicit things, what is this conversion, in which one and the same flesh both partly moves to continence and partly remains in pollution? But if it should befit both to lead a continent life, let who may dare accuse this, when it is certain that omnipotent God who concedes lesser things, has not prohibited greater things? And somewhat after: But if the wife does not follow continence, which the man seeks, or what the wife seeks, the husband rejects, the marriage is not allowed to be separated. Since it is written: 'The woman does not have power over her body, but the man; similarly the man does not have power over his body, but the woman.' [1 Corinthians 7: 4] And in the letter to Adrian, notary of Panormi: For, except in the case of fornication, divine law concedes to the man to leave his wife for no reason, since after joining of marriage, one body is made of the man and a woman, it cannot be converted partly and partly remain in the world.

[p 94] And St Augustine in the book about the good of marriage: For this reason there is marriage, so that concupiscence itself reduced to a legal chain should not flow deformed and dissolute, having from itself uncheckable infirmity of the flesh, but from marriage the indissoluble society of faith, from itself immoderately increase of uniting, from marriage the means of chastely procreating. Therefore married persons owe one another not only the faith of their sexual intercourse itself, for the begetting of children, which is the first fellowship of the human kind in this mortal state; but also, in a way, a mutual service of sustaining one another's weakness, in order to shun unlawful intercourse: so that, although perpetual continence be pleasing to one of them, he may not, save with consent of the other. For thus far also, the wife hath not power of her own body, but the man: in like manner also the man hath not power of his own body, but the woman. So that also they deny not the one or the other that which either he seeks of marriage, or she of her husband, not for the begetting of children, but for weakness and incontinence. Lest by this they fall into damnable seductions, through temptation of Satan, by reason of incontinence either of both, or of whichever of them. Again in the same book: Therefore that marriage takes place for the sake of begetting children, as the Apostle is a witness: "I will," says he, "that the younger women be married." And, as though it were said to him, For what purpose? straightway he added, "to have children, to be mothers of families." [1 Timothy 5: 14] But unto the faith of chastity pertains that saying, "The wife hath not power of her own body, but the husband: likewise also the husband hath not power of his own body, but the wife." But unto the sanctity of the Sacrament that saying, "The wife not to depart from her husband, but, in case she shall have departed, to remain unmarried, or to be reconciled to her husband: and let not the husband put away his wife." All these are goods, on account of which marriage is a good; offspring, faith, sacrament. And in the book about marriage and concupiscence: Yet in marriage let the marriage goods be loved: offspring, faith, sacrament. But offspring not only so that they may be born, but also so that they may be reborn. For they are born to punishment, unless they should be reborn to life. But faith, not such as the infidels have between themselves jealous of loving ardently the flesh. For what man however impious wants an adulterous wife? Or what woman however impious wants an adulterous husband? For this in marriage is indeed an natural good, yet carnal, but a member of a Christian spouse ought to fear to be joined to an adulterer, not for himself/herself, and to hope for whatever prize of faith from Christ of the marriage. But let married people keep harmonious and chastely the sacrament, which neither the separated nor adulterated lose. For that is the only thing which also a sterile marriage holds by the law of piety, with hope of fecundity now lost, because of which they had been joined. Let him praise these nuptial goods in marriage who wants to praise marriage. And in the literal Genesis: The good which marriage has and which are the marital goods can never be a sin. But this is threefold: faith, offspring, sacrament. It is attended to in faith lest besides the marital bond one sleeps with another male or female; in offspring so they may be received lovingly, nourished benignly, educated religiously; in sacrament, so that the marriage may not be separated and nor is the one sent away (male or female) joined to another for the sake of offspring. For this is as if the rule of marriage, by which either the fecundity of nature is adorned, or the wickedness of incontinence is ruled.

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