A certain man took a vow of chastity betrothed himself to a wife; she renounced the arrangement left and went in great haste to another man. The first man asked her to return. The questions here are:

First, can there be a marriage between those who have made vows?

Second, may a betrothed leave her betrothed and marry another?


Part 1.

Many authorities prove that those under vows cannot contract marriage.

The Council of Carthage, c. 104, provides for widows who have abandoned a profession of continence:

C. 1.

Widows who put off their religious habit and attempt marriage are excommunicated.  Since chastity has a great reward, one should protect it with the greatest attention and care. So, if a widow or younger, less mature, unmarried woman, after vowing herself to God, putting aside lay dress, and appearing in religious habit before the bishop and the Church, then wants to enter worldly marriage, she deserves damnation, as the Apostle [1 Tim. 5:12] says. She has broken a promise of chastity vowed to God. Such are excluded from Holy Communion and may not participate in celebrations with the faithful.

Wives remain guilty of adultery, even if they do not become loathsome to their husbands. How much more guilty of adultery are widows who, after transferring their obedience to God, break the fidelity they have spontaneously and freely offered to him, and enter a second marriage out of carnal desire? Some women, whom men had taken by force, later consented to marry their violent abductors because of carnal desire. They too have incurred the aforesaid condemnation. Of such, the Apostle said [1 Tim. 5:11-12], ``for when they have wantonly turned away from Christ, they will wish to marry, and are to be condemned because they have broken their first promise.''

Also, from Gregory's letter to Boniface:

C. 2.

On widows and virgins who abandon their religious dedication.

I think you know, most dear brother, that St. Paul [1 Tim. 5:11-12] and many other Fathers have already condemned the widows about whom Your Charity consulted us, because they have abandoned their dedication of widowhood and have not repented. We, by apostolic authority, also condemn them, separate them from the Communion of the faithful, and relegate them to the vestibule of the church, until such time as they obey their bishops and return freely and voluntarily to the good work they had begun.

1. We have this decree from our predecessor, Pope Innocent of blessed memory, on unveiled virgins who stray [C. 27 q. 1 c. 9]: ``Those who have indicated that they will persevere perpetually in virginal dedication, although they are not veiled, must do penance for a certain time if they marry, for they are betrothed to the Lord. If in human affairs a good-faith contract may not be broken for any reason, how less can a promise made to God be dissolved without punishment? . . .''

2. If unveiled virgins must do public penance and be excluded from the faithful until it is completed, how much more should widows? They have the insight and experience of their age and maturity, and they experienced the rights of marriage with their husbands before they took the religious habit. Now they would apostatize and return to their vomit [cf. 2 Pet. 2:22]. We, along with all the faithful, should bar them from entering a church, and hand them over to custody, just as St. Paul handed a man like them over to Satan, so that his spirit be saved on the Day of the Lord [1 Cor. 5:5].

Concerning such, the Lord spoke through Moses, saying [Deut. 13:5], ``And you shall take away the evil out of the midst of you.'' On this, the prophet said [Ps. 57 (58):10], ``The just shall rejoice when he sees the revenge; he shall wash his hands in the blood of the sinner.'' On these, others like them, and those who support them, it says [cf. Rom. 1:32], ``They are guilty not only because they do these things, but they applaud others doing them.''


Also, from the Decree of Pope Gelasius, sent to the Sicilian bishops, c. 9:

C. 3.

After religious dedication, widows and virgins cannot pass to marriage.

We do not suffer widows and virgins, after long observance of religious dedication, to pass to marriage. Likewise, we forbid virgins who have passed many years of their life in monasteries to marry.

Also, Cyprian to Pomponius, in On Virginity:

C. 4.

A woman can be corrupted by any sensuous act.

Nor may any woman excuse herself by saying that her virginity can be tested and proved, for a midwife's hands and eyes are often deceived. Even if she is found to be a virgin in respect to her womanhood, she may still have sinned with some other part of her body. One can be corrupted in ways that cannot be tested. Do not the couch, embraces, whispers, and filthy sordid bedroom of a couple lying together also confess to impropriety and crime?

If a husband arrived and found his wife lying with another man, would he not become indignant and irate? Would he not, in sorrow and zeal, take his sword in hand? Would not Christ, our Lord and Judge, if he saw a virgin dedicated and consecrated to him in holiness lying with another, become just as indignant and angry? Taking counsel, we must provide and arrange that all our brothers and sisters be spared the Judge's spiritual sword when he comes.

The same, [in the same letter]:

[C. 5.]

If after completing penance for their unlawful relationship and separating from one another, they are found, through careful examination for virginity by a midwife, still to be virgins, they may be readmitted to the Church for Communion. If they later return to the same men and begin to live together in the same house under the same roof, they must be cast out under even graver censure, and not so easily readmitted to the Church.

If one of them has fallen and been corrupted, let her do full penance, because her crime makes her an adulteress, not before a husband, but before Christ. Then when she has confessed she may, after a justly appointed period, return to the Church.

If they stubbornly persist and refuse to separate, let them know that, because of their sordid stubbornness, we will never admit them to the Church, lest their wrong become an example that will ruin others. Nor is it contrary to life or salvation if no exception to this rule is made, even for bishops and priests.

Also, from the Sixth Synod [in Trullo, c. 4]:

C. 6.

A cleric is deposed, and a layman excommunicated, for adultery with a nun.  If any bishop, priest, deacon, subdeacon, lector, psalmist, or porter commits adultery with a woman consecrated to God, let him be deposed, for he has corrupted a bride of Christ. If a layman, he is excommunicated.

Also, from the Sixth Council of Toledo, c. 8:

C. 7.

Widows and girls who marry after taking the religious habit are suspended from Communion. Some widows and girls, either with their parents or by themselves, put on the religious habit at home. If afterwards, contrary to the rules and canonical precepts of the Fathers, they attempt marriage, they are to be suspended from Communion for a long period, while they atone for this unlawful act. If they do not make atonement, they are to be perpetually excluded from Communion and all celebrations of the faithful.

[Also, from the council of Pope Martin:

[PALEA. C. 8.

[No pontiff may give the veil to widows, because, as established in Pope Gelasius' Decree, c. 13, neither Divine Authority nor canonical forms provide for this. If a woman professes continence on her own, one can read in Gelasius, c. 12, that he intends her to answer for herself to God. According to the Apostle [1 Cor. 7:39], if she had been unable to remain continent, she was not, after all, prevented from remarrying. Thus, having thought this over carefully herself, she should now guard the pledge of purity she made to God.]

[We, supported by the authority of the Fathers in this holy council, establish and freely decide that, if any woman has taken an unconsecrated veil on her own, and offered herself to God like those who have taken the veil, she should forthwith also take the nun's habit, for it completes the symbol. By the same logic, she who has taken the veil on her own, may also abandon it.]

Also, from Pope Innocent's Decrees, c. 20, [in Letter ii, to Victricius, in the Collection of Canons, c. 13]:

C. 9.

On those who marry after making a vow of virginity

without taking the sacred veil.

Those who have never taken the sacred veil, but have indicated that they will persevere perpetually in virginal dedication, [and following [cf. C. 27 q. 1 c. 2]: PALEA although they are not veiled, must do penance for a certain time if they marry, for they are betrothed to the Lord. If in human affairs a good-faith contract cannot be broken for any reason, how much less can the promise they have made to God be dissolved without punishment?] If the Apostle [cf. 1 Tim. 5:12] said that those who abandon a dedication of widowhood deserve damnation for violating their first pledge, how much more do virgins who violate their pledge?



Also, from the same Decrees, c. 19, [in the same letter to Victricius, in the Collection of Canons, c. 12]:

C. 10.

Sacred virgins may not be admitted to penance

if they marry publicly.

Those who have married Christ spiritually, if they later marry publicly, are may not be admitted to penance, unless those whom they have joined leave the world. In human affairs, whoever marries another while her husband is alive is an adulterer, and may not do penance until one of the two husbands has died. How much more is this so when one married to the Immortal Bridegroom passes to a human marriage?

Also, from the Council of Trebur:

C. 11.

Dissolute individuals living among monks and nuns are to be expelled from the Church and placed in prison.

There are dissolute and detestable individuals living among monks and nuns, who have abandoned their dedication to sanctity and introduced unlawful and sacrilegious pollution. They persist in ignoring the judgment of conscience, and have freely procreated children in unlawful unions.

We command them to be expelled from monastic communities and conventual churches, and to be restrained in prison. There they shall stay, weeping over their crime in unbroken lamentation, to be warmed by the purgatorial fires of repentance until death, unless, through an exercise of singular mercy, they are allowed to return to the Grace of Communion.

Also, from the same:

C. 12.

Monks or virgins consecrated to the Lord are excommunicated if they marry.

We decree that neither a virgin consecrated to God nor a monk may contract marriage. If any do so, let them be excommunicated. We decree that the bishop of the place has authority to show mercy and compassion to those who confess this.

Also, from the same:

C. 13.

Let those who knowingly marry nuns afflict themselves with cries of repentance for the rest of their lives.

So, those who knowingly enter matrimony with nuns enter that union in offense to Christ. In accord with the judgment of zealous Christians, they must separate and never rejoin them in the conjugal bond. Rather, let them afflict themselves ernestly with cries of repentance for the rest of their lives.



Also, from the same:

C. 14.

Those who marry sacred virgins are deprived

of Holy Communion.

We understand that certain men have dared to marry sacred virgins. Since this occurred after their dedication to God, they have formed an incestuous and sacrilegious union. It is wholly equitable that they be barred from Holy Communion. They may not be reconciled without manifest public penance. Nevertheless, the Last Sacraments should not be denied them as they leave this world if they are worthily repentant.



Also, Gregory:

C. 15.

Let those who refuse to avoid fornication be returned the monastery and confined there.

We have heard that a certain wicked man, under diabolical influence, convinced a woman consecrated to God to leave her monastery. Then, after she had left, another man brought her back. The first wicked man again coaxed her out of the monastery by making evil proposals and kept her dissolutely in his house. It is our will that, by your episcopal authority, she be returned to her monastery and confined there.


Also, from the Council of Arles:

C. 16.

It is wrong for widows to abandon their sacred dedication after taking the veil.

This synod decrees that widows, who spontaneously receive the veil of oblation from the sacred altar, must persevere in that dedication. For we decree that it is wrong, after consecrating oneself to God by the veil, to deny that one has received it through the Holy Spirit.

Also, from the same:

C. 17.

Let those who marry women who have received the sacred veil be anathema.

If anyone takes in marriage a woman consecrated by the sacred veil, and then pollutes the dedication she has offered to God through an incestuous and sacrilegious union, it is wholly equitable that he be excluded from Holy Communion, as is read in the enactments of Pope Gelasius, c. 20 [cf. C. 27 q. 1 c. 14]. He can in no way to be reconciled without manifest public penance. If such repent, they should not be denied the Last Sacraments when they depart this world.

1. In the Council of Chalcedon, c. 17: ``Let those who do this be excommunicated; those confessing to it may be granted mercy by the bishop's authority.''

2. In the letter of Pope Siricius, c. 6: ``Some women, who are veiled and consecrated to God, secretly abandon their dedication to sanctity, involve themselves in sacrilegious pollution, and from these unlawful relations publicly and freely procreate children. It has been decided that these marriages and the detestable persons involved should be eliminated from monastic communities and conventual churches. Let them be confined in prison to weep for their crime in uninterrupted lamentation.''

Hence, following the Lord's word and canonical authority, we command, in this holy synod, that they be completely separated, and that they swear under oath no longer to cohabit under one roof.

Also, Gregory to Vitalian, bishop of Siponto, [in [Register], VII (Indiction 1), ix]:

C. 18.

One who throws off religious attire should be compelled to reassume the habit, and be enclosed in a monastery.

If you had known how to be a bishop and a protector of the religious habit, your provision in this matter would have prevented the daughter of the Master of the Soldiers, Tullian of glorious memory, from returning to secular attire after throwing off the religious habit, and this absurd letter would not have been sent to us. But, as you acted with indolence and sloth, this unlawful act has been perpetrated to your disgrace. As we said above, if you had exercised care, we would have received a report of that wretched woman's punishment rather than her crime. But you were so sluggish and negligent that, if canonical pressure had not been applied to you, you would not have known how to maintain oversight and discipline. So now we shall, God willing, show you how to exercise oversight at the proper times.

1. When you receive this letter, be vigilant and punish immediately what you, out of cowardice, have hitherto been ignoring. It is urgent that you and our Guardian Sergius seize the aforesaid woman without delay. Then you must, not only immediately put her back into that habit which she treated so foully and contemptuously, but also confine her in a monastery. There she is to be guarded with the greatest severity. You must display great care to discover by your oversight all other crimes that have been committed.

2. If, in this matter, any lay person attempts to resist you through some ruse (something we could not believe), suspend him from participation in Communion. Then report back to us immediately on how grave his actions were. Then, you shall be told what sort of expiation should be made, if you cannot determine it by your own judgment.

3. In all such matters, strive to display the greatest caution and vigilance, lest you further multiply your own culpability through carelessness, instead of reducing it somewhat through conscientiousness.


The same, to the Guardian Sergius [in [Register], VII (Indiction 1), x]:

C. 19.

She who exchanged religious dedication for secular attire should be handed over to the regional guardian.

If you had been a man, or had exercised any oversight, you would have shown yourself the guardian of regular discipline. Then this unlawful infraction would have been corrected by punishment, before report of it reached us. But, as you have been foolishly negligent, you have not only displeased us in this, but we are now taking counsel on punishing your sloth.

So put aside all delay or excuse and make haste, along with our brother Chorbishop Vitalian, to apprehend the daughter of the Master of the Soldiers, Tullian of glorious memory, who threw off the religious attire that she had freely assumed, and besmirched herself with lay clothing. Put her back in the religious habit and place her in a monastery, where she can be guarded with the greatest severity.

Never allow any relaxation of the guard, unless you receive a letter from us. If you are in any way negligent or slow in this, know that you will be punished most severely. Now, while your punishment is held in abeyance, investigate what you yourself ignored. For, as we said, if you had earlier possessed the intelligence of a man, you would have already commanded what was necessary, instead of having to learn about it through our admonition.


Also, Augustine, in The Conflict of the Vices and Virtues, [xxiv]:

C. 20.

Those who resolve to observe continence cannot be granted permission to marry.

Permission to marry is granted to some, that is, to those who have professed neither virginity nor chastity as widows. To some it is not granted, that is to those who resolve to practice virginity or continence. Fornication is conceded to none without punishment.

Also, in the book On the Good of Marriage:

C. 21.

Those who violate a dedication to continence are

worse than adulterers.

It is manifest that women who lapse into marriage from their higher dedication, that is, from the holy chastity they have vowed to God, are worse than adulterers.

Also, from the Council of Chalcedon, [c. 16]:

C. 22.

Monks and virgins who have dedicated themselves to God cannot be joined in marriage.

As with a monk, no virgin who dedicates herself to God is permitted to marry. If they do so, they are rendered excommunicate. But we declare that they may receive forgiveness, if the bishop of the place approves.

Also, from the same, [c. 15]:

C. 23.

Deaconesses who marry after their consecration are anathema.

We establish that deaconesses may not be consecrated before forty years of age, and then, only after careful testing [cf. 1 Tim. 5:9]. If they receive consecration, and practice their ministry for a time, but then marry, they abuse God's Grace. Thus she and the one who married her are anathema.

Also, from the Synod of Ancyra, [c. 18]:

C. 24.

They who abandon promised virginity are reputed bigamous.

One who has abandoned a promise of virginity in contempt of her profession, that is, one who went on to a second marriage, is to be considered bigamous.

Also, from the Council of Granada, [c. 13]:

C. 25.

Even at death, communion should not be given to virgins dedicated to God who have become enslaved to lust.

It pleased us that communion not be given, even at death, to virgins who have dedicated themselves to God, if they have lost the seal of their virginity and have enslaved themselves to lust, failing to understand what they have lost.

If any acknowledge that they lapsed through bodily weakness, do penance for part of their life, and abstain from intercourse, it pleased us that they receive communion at death.

Also, from the council of Pope Martin, [c. 30]:

C. 26.

Let a cleric's daughter be compelled to penance, if she takes a husband after becoming a sister.

The daughter of a bishop, priest, or deacon is excluded from Communion if she takes a husband after becoming a sister, unless she does penance after the man dies. If her father or mother receives her with affection, the father must be arraigned before the council, and her mother is not permitted Communion.

If, however, while he is still alive, she leaves him and does penance, let her take Communion at the very end of her life if she requests it.

Also, from the First Council of Toledo, [c. 16]:

C. 27.

A sister should not be reconciled to the Church,

unless she refrains from sin.

A sinful sister is not to be received into the Church, unless she refrains from sin. If she does suitable penance and refrains from sin for ten years, let her receive Communion. Until she is readmitted to the church for prayers, however, let her attend no celebration with Christian women. If she is admitted, let the one who received her be sent away and corrected with the same penalty. One who takes a husband may not be admitted to penance until he dies, unless she lives chastely while he is alive.

Also, from Gregory to John, bishop of Cagliari, [in [Register], III, ix]:

C. 28.

On nuns led into adultery.

If any nun, because of past laxity or uncorrected evil custom, has been induced to fall into adultery, or should be dragged into this abyss in the future, we decide that she, after severe and suitable punishment, be placed for penance in a stricter monastery of virgins. Let her spend her time there in prayers and fasting, and thus be corrected through penance. Let this be a warning to others for stricter discipline.

A man discovered in similar iniquity with women is to be deprived of Communion if a layman. If a cleric, he is to be removed from office and perpetually confined in a monastery to lament his excesses.

The same, to Bishop Januarius, [in [Register], III, xxiv]:

C. 29.

Those guilty of impropriety with religious women may receive Communion after a suitable penance.

We want you to allow those suspended from Communion for impropriety with religious women, who have left their monasteries, to return to Holy Communion, so long as Your Fraternity has provided for them to undergo suitable penance for their crime.





Also, from the Novels of the Emperor Justinian [Nov. 123.64 (Coll. IX. 15)]:

C. 30.

On the ordinances of the emperors.

If anyone rapes, solicits, or corrupts an assistant, deaconess, nun, or other woman of religious life or habit, let his goods, and those of anyone else implicated in this sin, be sold to found a religious house where the woman can live. Let religious bishops, treasurers, and provincial governors, or their officials, see to this. The man himself is subject to capital punishment.

The woman should be thoroughly investigated, and placed in a secure monastery with her goods. If she was a deaconess with legitimate children, they are to receive their share of the legal inheritance.

Also, from Pope Eugenius II's decrees [at the Council of Rome, c. 29]:

C. 31.

Let those veiled under the pretext of religion guard the chastity of their religious habit.

Let women veiled under the pretext of religion, or living regularly in a monastery, guard the chastity of the habit they received at home.



Also, from the [First] Council of Arles, [cc. 22-23]:


C. 32.

A monk who takes a wife can never be selected for an office of sacred rank.

It is not permitted for a monk in a monastery to have a stole or cincture. And, if any monk associates himself with a wife, he may never be selected for an office with ecclesiastical rank.



Also, Augustine, in On the Good of Widowhood, [xxviii]:

C. 33.

Before profession of continence, widows may marry whom they wish.

Let widows who are not continent marry, but only before they profess a vow of continence. For if they do not observe such a vow, they are condemned by law.

Also, Nicholas to Archbishop Charles and his suffragans:

C. 34.

Widows are not permitted to abandon their vows of continence after profession.

A widow who has taken on her head the sacred veil, if she prays among the other veiled women in the church, offers her offerings with them, and has professed to persevere in the same habit, pledging never to lay aside the veil of religion, should not presume to abandon this religious observance.

Also, from the Council of Orange, [c. 27]:

C. 35.

None are permitted to violate a profession of widowhood, after the habit has been received before the bishop.

We say that a profession of widowhood before the bishop in the sacristy, when one has received the widow's attire from the bishop, is not to be violated. We decree that she who deserts her profession has merited condemnation.



Also, from the [Tenth] Council of Toledo, [c. 5]:

C. 36.

Let the ritual and ceremony of making profession

follow this order.

All women entering sacred religion shall cover their head with a coverlet and recite a written and authorized profession, so that they cannot afterwards renege on that written profession through some rash transgression.

1. Those who later commit any transgression by act or intention are to suffer the sentence of excommunication, and, after they have reformed their habits, they are to live in a monastery until the end of their lives, bound under the burden of arduous penance.

Also, from the Council of Arles:

C. 37.

Those who violate the bodies of women consecrated to God are sons of perdition.

Everyone should know that the bodies of women consecrated by vows of betrothal to God and by the words of the priest become a temple, as the Scriptures [cf. 1 Cor. 6:15-20] testify. Thus those who violate them are sons of perdition, as the Apostle [cf. 2 Thess. 2:4] says.


[PALEA. C. 38.

[The same.

[Let Widows, who decide to marry before professing continence, marry whomever they chose for their husbands. The position of virgins is similar, but they cannot be compelled to take husbands against their parents' will.]

Also, Gregory, to the Subdeacon Artemius, in [[Register], I], xli:

C. 39.

Monks who have taken wives are to be confined

in a monastery.

Since we know that some monks have fallen into such immorality as to associate themselves publicly with wives, we order you to seek them out with all

vigilance and, when you find them, make them return, using coercion if necessary, to the monasteries where they were monks.

Also, Pope Innocent [II, in the Council of Rome, c. 7, Ut lex]:

C. 40.

On a nun charged with lapsing into adultery.

We establish that bishops, priests, deacons, subdeacons, canons regular, monks, and professed oblates, who have transgressed their dedication by daring to take wives, are to be separated from them. Thus the rule of continence and purity, which is pleasing to God, will be promoted among ecclesiastical persons and those in Holy Orders. We declare that such a union, contracted contrary to ecclesiastical norms, cannot be considered matrimony. So let them separate and do suitable penance for their transgression. We order this also to be observed for women who are nuns, if (God forbid) they attempt marriage.

Gratian: All these authorities prohibit those who have made vows to contract matrimony, and order some of whose who do to separate.

Part 2.

In contrast, Augustine declares such separation a sin, speaking thus [in On the Good of Widowhood, vii]:

C. 41.

The marriages of those who have made vows

should not be dissolved.

The good of marriage remains a good, as it has always been a good among the People of God. Once it was a legal observance, now it is a remedy for weakness and gives human solace to many. Now it allows human beings to procreate children, not like animals by merely copulating with females, but in a decent conjugal order.

Nevertheless, when a Christian mind focuses on celestial things, it wins a victory beyond all praise. Yet, since, as the Lord says [Mt. 19:11-12], not all can accept this message, let those who can do so, and let those who cannot be content to marry. Let them weigh well what they have not chosen, and persevere in what they have embarked on. Let no opportunity be given to the Adversary, and let Christ be robbed of no offering.

1. If purity is not preserved in the conjugal bond, one should fear damnation. But a more excellent reward is proposed for virgins and widows who practice continence. When this course is considered, elected, and promised by the required vow, not only marrying, but even wishing to marry, is damnable. The Apostle proves then when he says, not of those marrying for sensuality, but of those marrying in Christ [1 Tim. 5:11-12], ``they will wish to marry, and are to be condemned because they have broken their first promise.'' They are here condemned not for marrying, but for wishing to marry.

It is not marriage in general, or even these marriages in particular, that are condemned. He condemns the denial of their dedication, and condemns the broken faith of their vow. It is not choosing a lower good that is condemned, but falling from a higher good. They are condemned, not because they later embrace conjugal fidelity, but because they brake their earlier pledge of continence. As the Apostle briefly suggests, he does not want people to consider those condemned who marry after dedication to greater sanctity, not because they are not condemned, but because he does not want to suggest that marriage itself is condemned.

So, when he said, ``they will wish to marry,'' and adds immediately ``and are to be condemned,'' he then explains why, ``because they have broken their first promise.'' This shows that their desire to abandon their dedication is condemned, whether they later marry or not.

2. Some say that these marriages are not marriages but adulteries. I do not consider this a correctly considered opinion. They have mistaken the appearance for the truth. They, who decide not to marry for the sake of Christian holiness, are said to choose marriage to Christ. So one can argue that if a woman married to one man marries another, she becomes an adulteress, just as the Lord declared in the Gospel [Mark 10:11]. Now Christ lives, because death no longer has power over him [Rom. 6:9], so the one who chooses him in marriage, if she marries a man, becomes an adulteress.

3. Some consider this argument subtle but point out an absurdity that follows. It is praiseworthy for a woman, while her husband is alive, to vow continence to Christ with his consent [1 Cor. 7:5]. But, by the logic of the previous argument, none should do this, lest Christ himself commit adultery (something immoral even to think) because she is marrying him while her husband is alive. But, since marriage to Christ is of greater merit than human marriage, far be it that Christ is like a widow's second husband. For (while they were faithfully subject to their husband) they already had Christ as a husband, not carnally but spiritually. This is because the Church, whose members they are, is Christ's Bride.

In the fullness of Faith and Love, not only sacred virgins, but all the married faithful compose that one virgin. For it was to the entire Church, whose members all are, that the Apostle said [2 Cor. 11:2], ``For I betrothed you to one spouse, that I might present you a chaste virgin to Christ.'' He, whom his mother bore from her own flesh without corruption, has himself taken that virgin as his bride without any scent of corruption.

4. But, because of this poorly considered opinion, some think that, because of their holy dedication, fallen women can form no union if they marry, and are then adulteresses, not wives. Since they want to separate them and return them to continence, they say that their husbands are also adulterers, if they take other women while their wives are still alive.

5. Therefore I will not say whether it is adultery or marriage when men marry women who have fallen from their higher dedication [cf. C. 27 q. 1 c. 21]. But I do not hesitate to say that, when women fall from the holier chastity they have vowed to God and are ruined, this is worse than adultery. Just as (about this there is no doubt), when one member brakes faith with her husband, this offends Christ, would it not offend Christ even more if she broke faith with him who had merely requested her offering? So then, when someone refuses to perform what she vowed, not after a command but only after counsel, the sin of breaking this vow is greater because the requirement of making the vow was less.



Also, Gelasius [in his letter to the bishops of Lucania and the Abruzzi, c. 23]:


C. 42.

On widows who have broken their first pledge of faith.

We have spoken long enough above about widows who are veiled without a blessing. If by their own free will they then spurn the chastity of this immaculate marriage because of their own instability, they run the danger that the Lord will demand satisfaction from them. As the Apostle says [1 Tim. 5:12], ``They have broken their first promise.'' For, according to the Apostle [1 Cor. 7:9], those unable to be continent, were not forbidden to marry. So they should plan with forethought how they will keep the pledge of purity they have made to God. We do not lay traps for them, rather we are thinking of their eternal reward and pointing out the penalty of divine judgment. Thus our conscience is clear, and they are accountable to God for their actions.

What St. Paul the Apostle testifies [1 Tim. 5:12] about their habits and actions should be observed. We have explained this more fully, not to deter unstable women, but to admonish them.



Also, Theodore:

C. 43.

The same.

If anyone makes a vow of virginity, etc.1

Gratian: The preceding authorities command those who have made vows to separate form each other, but the authority of Augustine [C. 27 q. 1 c. 41], Theodore [D. 27 c. 3; C. 27 q. 1 c. 43], and the capitulum on the ordination of clerics [D. 27 c. 9] clearly show that their marriages are not dissolved.





1. The passage from Innocent [C. 27 q. 1 c. 10], where sacred virgins who marry publicly are forbidden admission to penance as long as the men they married are alive, should not be interpreted as excluding them merely for some period if they do worthy penance. After the dedication of sacred religion, one cannot be reconciled to God through penance, unless one takes up again the habit of one's profession.

When she has then withdrawn from his unlawful embraces, the man to whom she joined herself is dead. This is the meaning of the capitulum [C. 27 q. 1 c. 10], ``Those who have married Christ spiritually, if they later marry publicly, may not be admitted to penance, unless those to whom they have joined themselves leave the world.'' This should be understood as, ``leave those they married.'' When people leave the world they die, because they have separated themselves from its desires. So they are said to be ``dead to the world,'' since they are no longer trapped by its allurements. Likewise, the world is dead to one who desires nothing of the world.

The same Innocent shows that this interpretation is correct in the following example [C. 27 q. 1 c. 10]: ``Whoever marries another while her husband is alive is an adulteress, and may not do penance until one of the two husbands has died.'' This woman is understood to have been abandoned, but if she marries another, she is an adulteress. She cannot be admitted to penance until her first husband returns to the dust from which he was made, or the second becomes dead to her by leaving their relationship, as was explained above. Therefore, because Christ, whom the vowed spiritually marry, died only once, and death no longer has power over him [Rom. 6:9], the only possibility is for the second man she married to become dead to her.

In both cases, it must be understood this way, lest it contradict the Lord who spoke through the prophet [cf. Ez. 33:12], saying, ``In what day soever the sinner shall turn to me . . .'' This is the way any text that appears to contradict the divine law must be treated. The capitulum concerning the religious [C. 27 q. 1 c. 27], who had taken a husband and was not allowed to enter penance until both professed continence or the man she had married left the world, also proves this.



Part 1.

Gratian: The second question is whether girls betrothed to one man can renounce this previous arrangement and transfer their vows to another. Two issues must be examined. First, whether a marriage exists between them; and second, whether they can withdraw from each other.

1. That they are married is easily shown both by the definition of marriage and the authority of many. Nuptials, or marriage, is the union of a man and woman who keep an undivided way of life, and between whom there was consent [Instit. 1.19.1]. The later is the efficient cause of matri-mony, according to saying of Isidore [cf. C. 27 q. 2 c. 6], ``Consent makes marriage.''

Also, John Chrysostom, on Matthew:

[C. 1.]

Not intercourse, but the will makes a marriage. The separation of bodies does not dissolve it, only the separation of wills. Thus he who dismisses his spouse and does not take another is still married. Although he is now separated in body, he is still joined in will. Then, when he takes another, he fully dismisses the first. So the one who dismisses does not commit adultery, but only the one who takes another.

Also, Pope Nicholas:

[C. 2.]

For the union of a man and woman, their consent by itself is sufficient, according to law. If it is lacking, all other ceremonies, even with intercourse itself, are in vain.


[Gratian:] Since there was consent between them, and this by itself can make a marriage, it is plain that they were married. But what kind of consent makes a marriage? Consent to cohabitation, consent to carnal union, or both? If consent to cohabitation by itself makes marriage, then a bother can contract marriage with his sister.

If consent to carnal union by iteself, then there was no marriage between Mary and Joseph. Mary had vowed to remain a virgin, for she said to the angel [Lk. 1:34], ``How shall this happen, since I do not know man?'')that is, ``I do not intend to know man.'' For a question about how she could have a son would make no sense if she had merely not yet known man, but only if she intended never to know man.

1. If she consented to carnal union later, contrary to her vow of virginity, she would then be guilty of violating the vow in her mind, even if she had not yet violated it by a deed. It is wicked to admit this possibility, as Augustine says:

[C. 3.]

The Blessed Mary intended in her heart to keep her vow of virginity, although she did not express that vow of virginity with her mouth. She subjected herself to the divine plan, intending to keep herself a virgin, unless God revealed otherwise to her. Therefore, subordinating her virginity to the divine plan, she consented to carnal union, not seeking it, but obeying divine inspiration. After she had born her son, she told her husband with her lips what she had intended in her heart, and then both preserved their virginity.

1. Therefore, consent to cohabitation and the keeping of an undivided way of life makes them married. An undivided way of life means that she can hold nothing back from her husband about herself, and vice versa. Thus an undivided way of life demands that, without the consent of her lawful husband, she could not take time away from him for prayer or profess continence. Since this kind of consent existed between them, it is plain that they were married.

[John Chrysostom, that is, the author of the Incomplete Work on Matthew, Sermon xxxii:

[PALEA. C. 4.

[Whatever results from a certain cause ends with the same cause. Not intercourse, but will, makes marriage, so division of bodies does not end it, but only division of wills [cf. C. 27 q. 2 c. 1]. Thus he who dismisses his spouse but does not take another is

still married. Although separated in body, he is still joined in will. If he then takes another, he has fully dismissed the first. Thus one who merely dismisses a spouse does not commit adultery, but only the one who takes another.]






Gratian: Also, authority proves they were married, for Ambrose, in his book, On Virginity, [vi], says:

C. 5.

A conjugal contract, not the deflowering of virginity,

makes a marriage.

When a marriage is initiated, the name of marriage is given to it. Not the deflowering of virginity, but the conjugal contract, makes a marriage. When one is united to a man there is marriage, not when there is mere intercourse with a him.

Also, Isidore, in Etymologies, IX, vii:

C. 6.

After the first pledge of betrothal they are called spouses.

They are truly called married after the first pledge of betrothal, although conjugal intercourse is as yet unknown to them.

[PALEA. C. 7.

[That an condition imposed has no effect is proved from the African Council.]

[PALEA. C. 8.

[The same.

[When one is betrothed to someone conditionally, and afterwards wishes to leave her on that account, we say that the condition has no effect, and the betrothal must be held as unbreakable.]

Also, Augustine, in On the Good of Marriage, [I, xi]:

C. 9.

The same.

One is called a spouse after the first pledge of betrothal, even before one has been known by intercourse. If one who was not known should die, the name of spouse would not be a lie, even though there had not been then, or at any other time, any carnal intercourse. Because of marital fidelity, both deserve to be called Christ's parents)not only his mother, but also his father, because he was the mother's spouse. Both were spouses through intention, although not through the flesh.

Also, Augustine, in the same [book and chapter]:

C. 10.

The parents of Christ possessed the threefold

good of marriage.

Therefore, the whole good of marriage was complete in the parents of Christ)fidelity, sacrament, and offspring. The offspring was the Lord himself; fidelity because there was no adultery; sacrament because there was no divorce. Only nuptial intercourse was lacking, because with sinful flesh this could not have occurred without the shameful fleshly concupiscence that results from sin, and he without sin wished to be conceived without that.



Gratian: Also, in Leviticus [i.e. Deut. 22:25], the Lord commanded Moses, saying, ``If a man find a woman that is betrothed in the field, he alone shall die, because he has violated another's wife.''

1. Also, in the laws of princes [Cod. 5.9.2], a betrothed is ordered to mourn the death of her betrothed as that of her husband.

Also, it is found in the canons:

C. 11.

A brother may not take his brother's betrothed after his death.

If someone is betrothed to a woman and, because of his death, he does not know her, his brother cannot take her as a wife.


Also, Gregory to the Emperor Maurice, concerning a certain count who took as wife a woman betrothed to his deceased nephew:

[C. 12.]

If one has taken in marriage a girl betrothed to his neighbor, let him and all those consenting be anathema, because God's law decrees that he should die [Deut. 22:23-25].

1. Divine law customarily calls betrothed persons married, as in the Gospel [Mt. 1:19], ``Take to you Mary your wife,'' and again in Deuteronomy [cf. 22:25], ``If a man find a woman that is betrothed in the field, or any place, and taking hold of her, lie with her, or has abducted her to his home, he alone shall die, because he has violated the wife of his neighbor.'' That woman was not yet a wife, but was to be given as a wife by her parents.

2. And below: Just as it is unlawful for any Christian to marry someone consanguineous, or anyone whom a cognate has had, so he cannot marry those consanguineous to his wife [cf. C. 35 qq. 2-3].


Also, Jerome:

C. 13.

If a wife dies, her husband may lawfully take another, but not one repudiated or betrothed.

There is also a fourth lawful marriage. If the wife of someone has died, it is lawful for him to take another who is free, but not one who has been repudiated or betrothed to someone. A woman may do so similarly. Hence Paul says [Rom. 7:2], ``For the married woman is bound by the law while her husband is alive.'' Therefore, while her husband is alive, she is an adulteress if she unites with another man. But, if her husband dies, she is freed from the husband by law, and thus is not an adulteress if she takes another husband.

Also, Gregory:

C. 14.

After the a wife's death, one may not take a spouse from those consanguineous to her.

If a man has betrothed a wife or given her a pledge, and her death prevents him from taking her to wife, it is unlawful for him to take anyone consanguineous to her in marriage. If this has happened, let them by all means be separated.

Also, Pope Julius:

C. 15.

The same.

If any man has betrothed a wife or given her a dowry, and her death or some other intervening event makes it impossible for him to know her, neither his surviving brother, nor anyone consanguineous to him, may ever take her as wife.

Part 2.

Gratian: These authorities all prove that they were married. But Augustine testifies to the contrary, saying:


C. 16.

Those who not joined by a sexual intercourse

have not entered marriage.

There is, I say, no doubt that a woman has not entered marriage, if there has been no sexual intercourse.

Also, Pope Leo:

C. 17.

A woman has not entered matrimony if the nuptial mystery has not been consummated with her.

Since the marriage community was so instituted from the beginning that, without sexual intercourse, marriage does not contain the Sacrament of Christ and the Church, there is no doubt that a woman who has not experienced the nuptial mystery has not entered marriage.

[Benedict, Servant of the Servants of God, to the Patriarch of Grado. Greetings . . .

[PALEA. C. 18.

[A law of divine enactment has set the Apostolic See as teacher of the whole world, so that it may give a answer to all doubts that arise anywhere. One of your subjects, by the name of John, who speaks on behalf of his surviving daughter's marriage, has addressed the holder of this See in writing. Her dead sister was betrothed by words alone to a certain young man named Stephen, but, before she could undergo the marriage ceremony, she died. Can the surviving sister celebrate marriage with the same young man or not? Testimony before us shows that this question is in dispute. With God as our teacher, we shall now give it an answer.

[Our archetype, who is our root and origin, seeing the woman formed from his own rib, proclaimed with a prophetic spirit, among other things [Gen. 2:24], ``Wherefore a man shall leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife, and the two shall be one flesh.'' These words show that a man and woman cannot become one flesh unless they join together in carnal union. It is inconceivable for us that a man, who never had intercourse with woman in nuptial union, could became one flesh with her through the mere words of betrothal. Blood relationship is stated by words, but not made by words. Nor does a kiss create the relationship, because it involves no mixing of blood.

[Since John's case is like that, and he now wants to give his second daughter in marriage to the same man he betrothed the first to, we declare, with the sanction of Apostolic Teaching, that this may be done without stain of crime if it suits the involved parties.

[Why should something be prohibited when Holy Scripture does not prohibit it? Nor do the worldly laws enumerating persons between whom marriage may not be contracted say anything about this kind of marriage. So, you now should not forbid what you now know there is no reason to forbid.]





Gratian: Also, the Apostle [1 Cor. 7:3] commands that a wife render the debt to her husband and the husband to his wife, except for short periods by mutual consent, so that they more appropriately engage in prayer. Hence it is understood that, without the consent of one, it is unlawful for the other to go off and pray. Also, the husband cannot make a vow of celibate life without his wife's consent, and vice versa.

Hence Gregory writes, to Theutista Patricia, [in [Register], IX, xxxix]:

C. 19.

Marriages should not be dissolved for the sake of religion.

Some say that marriages should be dissolved for the sake of religion. One should recognize that, although human law permits this, divine law prohibits it. He who is Truth itself says [Mt. 19:6], ``What therefore God has joined together, let not man put asunder.'' He also says [Mt. cf. 19:9], ``It is not lawful to dismiss a wife, except on account of fornication.'' Who, then, would contradict this law-giver? We know that it is written [Gen. 2:24], ``The two shall be one flesh.'' If husband and wife are one flesh, and the husband dismisses his wife for the sake of religion, or the wife dismisses the husband, yet one spouse remains in the world, or perhaps wanders off into illicit activities, what kind of oblation is this? One and the same flesh will be partly continent and partly polluted.

But if both agree to lead a continent life, who will dare to blame them, since Almighty God, who permits the lesser good [1 Cor. 7:8-9], does not prohibit the greater? Holy people abstain from what is lawful for two reasons: to increase their merits before Almighty God, and to cleanse the faults of their past life.

1. Hence, when good married persons want to increase their merits or cleanse the faults of their past life, it is lawful that they bind themselves to seek a better way of life. Many of the saints first led a life of continence with their spouses, and then adopted a rule of the Holy Church.

But when a wife does not practice continence along with her husband, or the wife does but the husband refuses, the marriage cannot be divided, for it is written [1 Cor. 7:4], ``The wife does not have power over her own body, but the husband; and similarly the husband does not have power over his body, but the wife.''


The same, to Leo, bishop of Catania, [in [Register], III, xxxiv]:

C. 20.

A wife assigned to a monastery without her husband's consent is not prohibited from returning to his company.

Many have told us that there was once a custom among you, that subdeacons might lawfully have intercourse with their wives. That no one should again presume to do this, a servant of God, a deacon of our See, acting with authority from our predecessor, prohibited this. That same prohibition allowed those joined to wives to choose one of two courses: they were either to stop practicing their ministry, or to abstain from their wives. As was said, Speciosus, then a subdeacon, suspended himself for this reason from administering his office, and fulfilled the office of notary until his death. He stopped performing the ministry essential to the exercise of the subdeaconate.

After his death, his widow, Honorata, was united with a husband, but we have learned that Your Fraternity has assigned her to a monastery. But, if, as reported, her husband suspended himself from administration, there is no objection to the said woman passing to second vows of marriage, especially if she had not joined the subdeacon in intending to abstain from the pleasures of the flesh. So, if what we have heard is true, it is by all means fitting that you release the said woman from the said monastery, so that she can return unhindered to her husband.


The same, to Adrian, a notary of Palermo, [in [Register], IX, xliv]:

C. 21.2

He who received the religious habit without his wife's consent should be compelled to return to her.

Agatha, the bearer of the present letter, has complained that her husband has become an oblate in Abbot Urbicus' monastery against her will. Therefore, we command Your Prudence to inquire diligently and discover whether he became an oblate with her consent and whether she promised to became an oblate too. If so, make him stay in the monastery, and compel her, as she promised, to become an oblate as well.

If this was not the case, and the said woman has not committed any crime of fornication (for which one can lawfully dismiss a wife [Mt. 5:23]), we command as follows: you must return her husband to her, even if he is now tonsured, without any delay, lest the her husband's oblation, which left his wife in the world, become an occasion of perdition.

Although secular law [Nov. 123.58] allows a marriage to be dissolved so that one spouse may become an oblate, even against the other's will, divine law does not permit this. A husband may dismiss his wife for no reason except fornication. Thus, after husband and wife have become one body [Mt. 19:6] through conjugal intercourse, neither can become an oblate while the other remains in the world.


Also, from the Seventh Synod:

C. 22.

A husband cannot make a vow of religion without

his wife's consent.

If a married man wishes to become an oblate in a monastery, he may not be received unless he is first freed by his spouse's profession of chastity. For, if she marries another out of incontinence while he is alive, she is without a doubt an adulteress. God will not accept the man's oblation if this is followed by prostitution of the conjugal bond. Having left the world, they will both follow Christ without fault if they mutually consent to chastity.

Also, from a synod of Pope Eugene [II, in the Roman Synod, c. 36]:

C. 23.

Without the bishop's knowledge, a husband and wife may not lawfully divorce for the sake of religion.

If a husband and wife mutually agree to divorce for the sake of a religious life, this cannot be done without the bishop's knowledge. For he must set them up in a place particularly provided for them. If the wife or husband does not consent, then the marriage cannot be dissolved.

Also, Augustine, in On Adulterous Marriages:

C. 24.

A husband may not lawfully practice continence without his wife's consent.

If you abstain without your wife's consent, you give her permission to fornicate, and her sin will be imputed to your abstinence.

Also, Gregory to Abbot Urbicus, [in [Register], V, xlix]:

C. 25.3

A husband cannot be received into a monastery unless his wife becomes an oblate.

Because this bearer of the letter to Agatha wishes to enter Your Charity's monastery as an oblate, we exhort you to receive him with all generous consideration.

1. Know, however, that he can be received only if his wife similarly wishes to become a oblate; for once two have become one body by conjugal intercourse, it is unfitting that one party become an oblate and the other remain in the world.

Also, Pope Nicholas [to King Charles]:

C. 26.

It is not lawful to accept a wife's vow of continence unless her husband chooses the same life.

Queen Theberga wrote us that she wishes to leave her rank and marriage to be content with a private life alone. We wrote to her that she could not do so, unless her husband, Lothar, chose the same life.

1. Although it is written [Mt. 19:6], ``What therefore God has joined together, let not man put asunder,'' it is God, not man, who separates when, at the prompting of divine love, a marriage is dissolved with the consent of both spouses. Otherwise, we prohibit your mutual separation.

Gratian: Thus, one spouse cannot profess continence without the consent of the other. But, both examples and authorities show that betrothed persons may keep continence, even without consulting their betrothed. As St. Jerome narrates, the famous Christian hermit Macarius, on the evening he celebrated his wedding, after the wedding banquet, left the city, went overseas, and chose for himself the solitude of the desert.

1. Also, Divine Grace likewise called St. Alexius, the son of the famous Epiphanius, from his wedding, and he deserted his betrothed, so that naked he could begin to serve Christ. These men's example plainly shows that the betrothed can profess continence, without getting their fiancees' consent.

The authority of Pope Eusebius proves this, saying:

C. 27.

A betrothed girl is not prohibited from choosing a monastery.

A betrothed girl's parents cannot lawfully give her to another man. But she may lawfully choose a monastery.

Also, Gregory, in his Register, [VI, xx, to Fortunatus]:

C. 28.

A betrothed girl can choose a monastery with impunity.

If a betrothed girl wishes to become a oblate, legal decrees provide that she cannot be lawfully punished.





Gratian: Married persons cannot offer continence to God without mutual consent, because not the husband but the wife has power over his body [C. 27 q. 2 cc. 19-26; cf. 1 Cor. 7:4]. But one betrothed person can choose a monastery and make a vow of a better life without consent of the other [C. 27 q. 2 cc. 27-28]. Thus there is plainly no marriage between the betrothed.

1. Also, according to Augustine [C. 27 q. 2 c. 16], a woman with whom there has been no sexual intercourse has not entered matrimony. Also, according to Leo [C. 27 q. 2 c. 17], she has not entered matrimony, who has not experienced the nuptial mystery. Thus it appears there is no marriage between the betrothed.

2. Also, Pope Nicholas [cf. C. 32 q. 7 c. 25] ordered that the marriages of those castrated by enemies or mutilated in their members not be dissolved on account of this disability.

3. However, in the case of those unable to render the debt to their wives because of frigidity, Pope Gregory [C. 23 q. 1 c. 2] determined that such could take an oath on sacred relics, supported by seven oath-helpers, to prove that they had never become one flesh through carnal intercourse. The wife could then contract a second marriage, but the frigid husband would remain without hope of marrying.

Hence he wrote to Venerius, bishop of Cagliari, as follows:

C. 29.

If a woman proves that she was never known by her husband, let them be separated.



You have asked me about those joined in matrimony who cannot have intercourse: can he or she take another? About them, it is written [cf. C. 33 q. 1 cc. 1-2]: If a husband and wife are joined, and the wife later says that the husband is unable to have intercourse with her, and she can prove this to be true in a proper judicial investigation, let her take another man.


Gratian: So, if incapacity for intercourse occurs in someone after sexual congress, this does not dissolve the marriage. But if it occurs before sexual congress, it frees the wife to take another husband. Hence, they were not married. Otherwise, it would be unlawful for them to withdraw from each other, except for fornication, and they would also have to remain unmarried or be reconciled to each other if separated for that reason.

1. Also, if a betrothed woman were married, she would be a widow if her betrothed died. If she were a widow, her second husband could not enter Holy Orders, for a widow's husband, just like one twice-married, is forbidden to become a priest [Titus 1:5-6]. Yet this kind of union prohibits no one from entering Holy Orders. As Pope Pelagius says [D. 34 c. 20], ``There is nothing in canonical legislation (as far as this item is concerned) which presents an obstacle.'' It appears, then, that they were not married.

2. Also, if they were married, separation from each other would be divorce, but Ambrose denies that this separation is a divorce, when he says of the Blessed Mary, whom Joseph had betrothed and taken as his own, ``Joseph never knew her. For if a just man had known her, he would never have allowed her to leave him [Mt. 1:19]. Nor would the Lord, who ordered a wife not to withdraw from her husband, except for fornication, have made himself the author of a divorce by entrusting her to his disciple [John 19:26-27].''

So, separating Mary from Joseph and entrusting her to John was not divorce, because Joseph had not known her. Hence, they were not married. If the Blessed Mary, whom Joseph had betrothed and taken as his own, is not a spouse, how much less is one a wife who is merely betrothed?

Also, from the Council of Orleans:

C. 30.

A man polluting his wife's sister can have neither.

If someone sleeps with two sisters, one of whom is his wife, he may have neither of them, nor may the adulterers ever be joined in marriage.

Gratian: That is, it is unlawful for him to render the debt to his own wife, because he made this unlawful for himself by knowing her sister. Nor is it lawful, after his wife's death, for him, or the adulteress, to be joined in marriage with anyone.

As to a betrothed person, on the contrary, it says in the Council of Tribur:

C. 31.

On one who sleeps with his brother's betrothed.

If anyone has betrothed a wife and given her a dowry, but cannot have intercourse with her, and his brother secretly corrupts her and makes her pregnant, it is decreed that, although she could not have intercourse with her lawful husband, the brother still cannot have his brother's betrothed. Let both the adulterer and adulteress suffer the punishment for fornication, but they will not be denied lawful marriage.

Also, from the same:

C. 32.

If anyone violates his son's betrothed, let them both remain without hope of marriage.  If anyone violates his son's betrothed, and the son takes her afterwards, the father may not afterwards take a wife, nor the woman a husband. But the son, who was ignorant of his father's crime, may take another woman.

Gratian: If she who has been known by her sister's husband is forever prohibited from being married, but he who has corrupted his brother's betrothed is permitted to contract marriage when his penance is finished, it appears that the betrothed was not his brother's wife.

Also, a wife dismissed by her husband on account of fornication must either be reconciled to him or remain unmarried as long as he lives, But as to a betrothed, the contrary is found in Capitularies, I, where it reads:

C. 33.

If a betrothed will not receive her who was abducted, she may lawfully marry another.  An abductor is punished by public penance. If the betrothed refuses to receive one abducted, and she did not consent to the crime, permission to marry another should not be denied.

Also, from the Council of Toledo:

C. 34.

The same.

This sacred assembly decrees that, if someone abducts another's betrothed, he shall be punished with public penance and remain without hope of marriage. If she did not consent to this crime, permission for her to marry another should not be denied. If they later presume to marry each other, let both be anathematized until they make satisfaction.


Part 3.

Gratian: So it appears that she, who was not denied permission to marry another while her betrothed was alive, was not a wife. How then can Ambrose and other fathers speak of one betrothed as married, when all these arguments prove she is not married?

It must be understood that marriage is begun by betrothal and consummated by intercourse. Hence between the betrothed there is marriage, but only as to its beginning; between the joined, there is a ratified marriage.

Hence Ambrose:

C. 35.

Marriage is begun by betrothal.

One starts to be called married, when the marriage occurs, not when the man knows the woman through intercourse [cf. C. 27 q. 2 c. 5].

Gratian: So marriage begins, but is not completed, with betrothal.

Also, Ambrose, in On the Patriarchs, [I]:

C. 36.

Intercourse between the spouses completes marriage.

In every marriage there is a spiritual union that the couple's bodily intercourse confirms and completes.

Also, Jerome, on Obadiah:

C. 37.

Marriage, which is begun by agreement,

is completed by intercourse.

``Therefore shall your daughters commit fornication, and your spouses shall be adulteresses.'' [Hosea 4:13] Note that it speaks of coming fornication for the daughters, but of adultery for the married, because marriages are begun by the betrothal agreement but only completed by bodily intercourse.

Also, Ambrose to Paternus, [in Letter lxvi]:

C. 38.

When a spouse is given and taken to use she is rightly called a married woman.

When anyone has been betrothed, given, and enjoyed, it is called marriage.

Gratian: Augustine shows why one is not given immediately after the nuptial agreement, in Confessions, IV, [iii], where he says:

C. 39.

Why spouses are not given immediately after the agreement.

It is established that spouses are not given immediately after the agreement, because the husband will hold one so given cheap, but he will sigh after one who is delayed.

Gratian: This distinction explains the authority from Augustine [C. 27 q. 2 c. 16], ``There is, I say, no doubt that a woman has not entered marriage, if there was no sexual intercourse.'' This refers to the completed marriage, which contains the sign of Christ and the Church [cf. Eph. 5:32]. The passage from Pope Leo [C. 27 q.2 c. 17] should also be understood this way.

1. But opposing this is the passage from Augustine [cf. C. 27 q. 2 c. 3], ``Between Mary and Joseph there was a complete marriage.'' But here ``complete'' is understood not as to the use of marriage, but as to those things that accompany it, that is, fidelity, offspring, and sacrament. The authority of Augustine proves that Christ's parents had all three. So all the texts brought forward for not breaking up a marriage must be understood to apply to a completed marriage, which was begun by betrothal and consummated by the use of bodily intercourse. Those texts which show a marriage to be separable apply only to a marriage that was begun, but not completed by its use.

2. Another distinction can also be made. The Scriptures speak of the betrothed as married by reason of future hope, rather than present effect. Hence Ambrose, where he says [C. 27 q. 2 c. 5], ``When a marriage is initiated,'' does not then add that it has the substance or effect, but only, ``the name of marriage is given to it.'' Such are spoken of as being married, but they do not have the substance or effect. Also, Augustine, when he speaks of the Lord's parents, says [C. 27 q. 2 c. 9], ``Both were spouses through intention, although not through the flesh.''

So it is understood that, just as Joseph is called the Lord's father, not because he sired him, but because of his duty and care in providing for him, he is also called the Mother of the Lord's husband, not because of his use of marriage, but because he provided for her needs and gave her his undivided affection. Hence Augustine says [C. 27 q. 2 c. 9; Mt. 1:20], `` `Do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife.' She is called a spouse because she was a future wife.''

Hence Bede says, on Leviticus [i.e. Deut. 22:25], `` `But if a man find a woman that is betrothed . . ,' speaks of a betrothed as a wife not because she is one, but because she is a future wife.''

Hence Jerome, on the Gospel of Matthew [1:18], ``When she had been betrothed'':

C. 40.

The Scriptures customarily speak of the betrothed as married.

``He begot Joseph, the husband of Mary.'' [Mt. 1:16] When you hear ``husband,'' do not think they were already married, because the Scriptures customarily speak of betrothed men as husbands and betrothed women as wives.

1. And below: She was not found so [Mt. 1:18] by anyone except Joseph, who knew all things on account of the marital permission of his future wife.

2. And below: ``. . . Joseph, son of David . . .'' [Mt. 1:20] Now, as said above, betrothed women are called wives, as the book Against Helvidius more fully explains.

The same, on Genesis:

C. 41.

The same.

``So Lot went out, and spoke to his sons-in-law that were to have his daughters.'' [Gen. 19:14] What follows speaks of Lot's daughters as virgins. He himself said to the Sodomites [Gen. 19:8], ``I have two daughters who have as yet not known man . . .'' But it says that he had sons-in-law. Some think the daughters with husbands perished in Sodom, and those who were virgins escaped with their father. But the true Hebrew text says, ``Lot went out and spoke to the betrothed,'' and, from what follows, this seems correct, because they were to receive his daughters.

Gratian: Hence it is understood that Scripture speaks of betrothed men as sons-in-law.

Also, John Chrysostom, on the same Gospel:

C. 42.

Mary is called a spouse because of the custom of Scripture, although she was only betrothed.

``Before they came together.'' [Mt. 1:18] It does not say before she had been brought to her betrothed's house. For antiquity had the custom of keeping betrothed women in the homes of their betrothed. Thus Lot's sons-in-law lived with their father-in-law [Gen. 19], although they were not united to their betrothed by the law of marriage. So Mary lived with her betrothed.

1. And below: He did not wish to expel her from his house, but to dismiss her [cf. Mt. 1:19].

2. And below: ``Do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife.'' [Mt. 1:20] So by that word he indicated a betrothed, just as Scripture customarily speaks of those still betrothed as sons-in-law. But what is it ``to take''? Assuredly to keep her in the house, for he had intended to send her away.

3. And below: As Christ afterwards committed her to his disciple, the angel now joins her to her betrothed, not in the solemn union of marriage, but in the union of a common dwelling.


The same, on the same, [in Homily v, on Matthew 1]:

C. 43.

The Lord would not have committed his mother to his disciple if Joseph had known her.

If he had known her and held her as his wife, why would the Lord have committed her to his disciple [John 19:26-27], commanding him to receive her into his own house, as if she lacked support and had absolutely nothing?


And Origen, on the same, [in Homily i, on the Gospel]:

C. 44.

Mary is called Joseph's wife because he thought of her as his future wife.

``She was found to be with child.'' [Mt. 1:19] She was found by St. Joseph, who, although he did not touch her, knew everything about her whom he considered his future wife.

1. And below: Although she is called your wife, although she is said in betrothal to be yours, yet she is not your wife, but rather forever the Mother of the Only Begotten God.

2. And below: I then speak of her as ``wife'' to hide her virginity from the Devil, lest I destroy the purpose of the Law.4 In the following, I shall show that she is not your wife according to the custom of marriage, nor is he who will be born your son.



Also, Gregory, in his exposition of the Gospel5 which begins ``When it was late that same day,'' [in Homily xxvi]:

C. 45.

Joseph's marriage with Mary was not complete.

After his resurrection, he permitted his disciple to doubt, but he did not leave him in his doubt [John 20:24-29], just as before his birth he wished Mary to have a betrothed, who would not, however, complete his marriage with her. So it happened that the disciple, doubting and afraid, became the witness to the true Resurrection, as the mother's betrothed became the guardian of her most perfect virginity.


Gratian: From foregoing it appears that the betrothed are called married because of future hope, not because of present reality. But how can they be called married from the first pledge of their word if one betrothed is not married? One is called a spouse from the first pledge of his word, not because one becomes married through the betrothal, but because the fidelity, which each gives the other by their word, will later render them married. In the same way, sins are said to be remitted through Faith, not because they are remitted through faith before Baptism, but because Faith causes us to be cleansed of sin in Baptism.

1. This interpretation should be given to the passage from John Chrysostom [C. 27 q. 2 c. 1], ``Not intercourse, but will, makes marriage,'' as well as the passage from Ambrose [C. 27 q. 2 c. 5], ``Not the deflowering of virginity, but the conjugal contract makes a marriage.'' Neither intercourse without intention to contract marriage, nor deflowering without a conjugal agreement, make marriage. Rather the preceding intention to contract marriage and conjugal contract bring it about that the woman, in the deflowering of virginity or intercourse, marries the man, or celebrates marriage.

2. Also, Pope Siricius [C. 27 q. 2 c. 50] calls it a conjugal separation when betrothed withdraws from betrothed. But this withdrawal is a violation, not of a presently existing marriage, but of the future marriage one expects because of the betrothal. Likewise, one says that the devil fell from blessedness, not only because he then possessed it, but also because he was created to possess it. Likewise, one chosen for the priesthood or episcopacy because of his way of life or knowledge, who then deserves to have the choice cancelled, is said to lose his priestly or episcopal anointing, not because he already had it, but because he had been chosen to receive it. Therefore, this authority does not prove that someone betrothed is married.

3. So, if it is granted that one betrothed is not married, one must still ask whether she may lawfully renounce this first relationship.

Now the Council of Ancyra, [c. 11], prohibits this, where one finds the following legislation:

C. 46.

Betrothed girls are to be returned to their first betrothed if they are abducted.

We have decreed that betrothed girls, whom others have abducted, should be returned to those whom they first betrothed, even if the abductors used force on them.

Also, John VIII, to the archbishop of Rostan:

C. 47.

A betrothed girl will be deprived of Communion, unless she consents to leave her abductor and return to her betrothed.

Atto, the bearer of the present letter, complains that, while he was faithfully acting in our service, a certain man abducted the woman betrothed to him. So Your Fraternity, supported by our authority, will summon your suffragan bishops into your presence. Then, by unanimous sentence, you will deprive the abductor of Communion if he refuses to restore the man's betrothed to him, and the woman abducted if she will not return to her first betrothed.

Part 4.

Gratian: But, to renounce one's prior relationship is one thing, to enter marriage another, and to be abducted, that is, to be unlawfully debauched, is yet another.

Hence Isidore, in Etymologies, V, xxiv, says:

C. 48.6

What abduction is.

Abduction (raptus) is unlawful intercourse, named from its being a seduction (corruptus). Hence, he who abducts engages in debauchery.

Gratian: But we were not speaking of one abducted by another, but one betrothed to another.

And Pope Gelasius forbids calling such a one abducted, saying:

C. 49.7

Abduction occurs when a girl is carried off, concerning whose marriage nothing had been previously arranged.

The law of earlier princes [Cod. Theo. 9.24.1 pr.] said that abduction was committed when a girl was carried off, concerning whose marriage nothing had been previously arranged.

Part 5.

Gratian: The conclusion of the chapter [C. 27 q. 2 c. 46], ``even if the abductors used force on them,'' was added because some women collude with their abductors, while others are abducted by force. So, whatever the manner of their abduction, they are to be restored to the first betrothed.

But we were speaking not of one who was abducted, but of one betrothed a second time. Thus, she should not to be removed from the second and returned to the first.

1. The following authorities prohibit her from marrying the second, and order her to fulfil her first vow.

Hence Pope Siricius says to Himerius, bishop of Terracona, [in Letter i, 4]:

C. 50.

A man cannot receive a girl betrothed to another.

You have asked whether it is violation of marriage for a second man to receive a girl betrothed to another in marriage. We anathematize such a marriage and in every way prohibit it, because the nuptial blessing imparted by the priest will become a sacrilege for the faithful if it is violated by any transgression.

Gratian: But the authority of Siricius prohibited one who has been taken, veiled, and blessed with her betrothed in her own home from passing to second vows. The couple's separation violates the blessing imparted to them by the priest when they were to be married. But this woman's betrothed had not yet taken her as his own, or received the blessing with her. Therefore this authority does not prohibit her union.

1. Also, that from Pope Eusebius [C. 27 q. 2 c. 27], ``A betrothed girl's parents cannot lawfully give her to another man,'' should likewise be understood as concerning a betrothed who was veiled and blessed with her betrothed in the same way.

2. Also, that from Gregory [cf. C. 33 q. 1 c. 2], ``Whoever is separated from her husband because of frigidity and married to another, must be taken from the second and returned to the first if her husband knows another woman,'' contradicts this. But this is solved in the same way, because she had received the blessing with him.

[Augustine, on a word of agreement and of consent:

[PALEA. C. 51.

[If anyone has given his promise of consent to a woman, he may not lawfully take another.

[We speak of two types of promise, that of contract and that of consent. If anyone gives a woman the promise of contract, he ought not take another. If he takes another, he ought to do penance for his broken word, but let him remain with the woman he took. Such a great Sacrament ought not to be rescinded. But, if he gave the promise of consent, he may not take another. If he did take another, he must send her away and adhere to the first.

[``The promise of contract occurs when someone promises another that he will take her or agree to take her, if she allows him to have an affair with her. But promise of consent occurs when, even without joining hands, he consents with heart and mouth to take her, and they mutually give and receive one another.'']