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.


Friday, 3 September 2010

Letter on Stephen 6: even more things on marriage

[p 100] If these other things which we have placed in no way suffice the studious or curious, we attend to adding also yet other things. For the blessed Augustine says in the book about marriage and concupiscence: A man will leave behind father and mother and he will adhere to his wife and they will be two in one flesh: which is a great sacrament, the Apostle says in Christ and in the Church. What therefore is great in Christ and the Church, is very little in individual husbands and wives, but yet the inseparable sacrament of marriage. Therefore joined legally and maritally they cannot be separated except in the case of fornication and, separated in the case of fornication, they ought either to remain unmarried or be mutually reconciled, just as gospel and apostolic authority teaches and the African synod defined: It has pleased that according to the gospel and apostolic discipline neither the one sent away by a wife nor by a husband may be married to another, but let them remain thus or be reconciled to one another. Which if they should despise, let them be called back to penance. And since from that gospel and apostolic doctrine, wife from husband, or husband from wife, is not able, nor ought to separate, except in the case of fornication, blessed Augustine in the first book about adulterous marriages to Pollentius says: Who is it who may say, if a woman should separate from a man not fornicating, let her remain unmarried, when it is by no means allowed her to separate except from a fornicating man? And again: The Lord as teacher excepted only this case of fornication, when he spoke about sending a wife away, and he gave to understand such an image also to be preserved by a husband, since not only "the woman does not have power of her body, but the man", but similarly also "the man does not have power of his body but the woman". And therefore except from common consent they are not able to be separated even for the sake of continence, so much that, if a man converted should be tonsured against the will of the woman, or the woman converted should be veiled without the will of the man, the man is ordered to be restored to the woman or the woman to the man, by St Gregory in the letter to Secundinus, Bishop of Taormina, and in the letter to Hadrian, notarius of Panorni. But if from common consent they should promise to change themselves and whichever of them should retract themselves from thence, they are ordered to follow the conversion of their peer. But in the case of fornication, man or woman separating from each other because of the sacrament of marital union either will remain unmarried until one of them should die, or take care to be reconciled to each other. But reconciliation ought to happen after the penitence and priestly reconciliation of the one who has sinned, so that first he may be restored to the sacrament of the Church and afterwards to the nuptial mystery.

[p 101] And hence St Augustine in the second book about adulterous marriages: And thus a spouse is lawfully to be sent away, in the case of fornication, yet the chain of modesty remains, because of which the crime of adultery happens to him who should take the woman dismissed in the case of fornication. But just as with the criminal excommunicated for any crime, the sacrament of regeneration remains in himself, and he does not lack that sacrament, even if he will never be reconciled to God, thus if a wife is sent away because of fornication, with the chain of the conjugal tie remaining in her, nor will she lack that tie, even if she is never reconciled to her husband. But she will lack it if her husband should die; but therefore the excommunicated criminal will never lack the sacrament of regeneration, even if not reconciled, since God never dies. Thus it remains that if we want to be wise according to the Apostle, we should not say a man is to be reckoned an adulterer before death and therefore allow his wife to marry another. For though the death of adulterers may not be of the body, but, what is worse, of the soul, yet the Apostle did not speak about that death when he said: "If her husband should die, let her marry whom she wants" [1 Corinthians 7: 39], but only about that death which is taken from the body. And again in the same: For this band, since indeed it is not dissolved, even if a husband may be separated from a chaste wife through repudiation; much less is it dissolved, if, not separated, she should commit adultery. And it is not dissolved, except by the death of a spouse, not running into adultery, but exiting from the body. Therefore if a woman should withdraw from an adulterous man and does not want to be reconciled to him, let her remain unwed. And if a man should send away an adulterous woman and does not want to receive her either after penitence, let him keep continence, even if not willingly choosing a preferable good, certainly from necessity avoiding a ruinous evil. And the most eloquent doctor disputes hence more widely in the aforesaid book, just as he who should read intelligently will be unable not to know. Also in the first book about marriage and concupiscence he says that all evils of regenerated men are wholly cleaned and healed by the bath of regeneration and word of sanctification, not only the sins which then are all remitted in baptism, but also those which are incurred afterwards by human ignorance or infirmity. Not so that baptism, however often one sins may be repeated that often, but since it happens by that, which was given once, that not only the previous pardon, but also afterwards of whatever sin you may like may be obtained by the faithful. For what benefits either penitence before baptism unless baptism should follow, or after, unless it should proceed? And in the epistle to Boniface he writes: Not that something remains in baptism of all past sins, that may not be dismissed - if yet the baptism itself should not be had in vain outside, but either should be taken inside, or if now taken outside, should not remain outside with him - and whatever is committed by human infirmity of whatever fault, by those who live thus after the accepted baptism is dismissed because of this bath.

[p 101] Hence it is clearly demonstrated, that just as the once accepted sacrament of baptism, by which each faithful person is incorporated into the unity of the Catholic church in Christ, is afterwards lost by no intervening cause, so also the marital bond legally and nuptially celebrated, remains tied, indissolubly, although it may seem to be separated in the case of fornication or in whatever case. But having been separated in the case of fornication, if it should be reunited after penitence, it will not therefore yet be reiterated that it remains one. But if the spouses are not able to remain in penitential continence, which befits penitents more, by indulgence they are reckoned to be healed by medicinal reconciliation and mutual consent after ecclesiastical reconciliation. Just as baptism is not repeated as often as there is sin, but by the medicine of penitence, through clerical reconciliation, is not repeated, nor returned, but repaired by divine grace. But 'repaired' is said about something not lost in this way, just as also the mind and the body are read to be repaired by the receiving of Eucharist and the spirit to be renewed by suitable satisfaction of our mind. And just as it is by the employment of baptism that sins before baptism or after baptism, by human ignorance or infirmity, may be remitted by the worthy fruits of penance, so thus, lest crimes occur, the good of marriage is maintained, which was conceded by the Apostle according to indulgence. Those things, namely, which with desire impelling, are conceded only to the married, merely that they may lie naturally with the legally married. But we say naturally, since also Onan is read to have died, struck by the Lord, not lying with his wife naturally.

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