WHY YOUR FATHER SHOULD KNOW ABOUT YOUR MARRIAGE.
|House of Juliet, Verona|
Advice from the theologians to the City Council of Strasbourg, 1536:
- Experience teaches us many things. Thus we counsel and advise the magistrate to forbid secret marriages.
- Cohabitation between a man and a woman is a civic matter and ought to be agreed upon in a public act and before God. The rest is just filthy desire.
- Everyone involved must consent, those who are being united and those in whose power they are…and an unmarried woman is under the authority of her father.
- Why should a man be allowed to marry a young woman without her father's permission? The laws return a lost chicken to his owner. Should it be permitted in law to abduct fraudulently a daughter who has been educated with much effort and is the heiress of her parents’ possessions?The law protects my money from thieves by hanging them, and ought my dearest token of love be exposed by the same laws to the deceitful desire of any man? A young woman cannot sell her father’s possessions without his consent. The surrender of her body would be like selling her paternal inheritance.
- Besides marriages that are entered for no better reason than love don’t last. What we usually see is that such marriages are full of trouble because they have been contracted under the sponsorship of Satan.
- And the worst scenario of all: a man seduces a young woman with the promise of marriage. She stupidly believes him on account of her sex and age. Soon the imprudent youth becomes tired of her and leaves his old love for a new one. Result: She has lost the better part of her dowry – the flower of virginity, so that she can no longer be married off.
(Source: The Correspondence of Wolfgang Capito, my trans.)