ADULTERER SENTENCED TO DEATH BY DROWNING. A Renaissance tabloid headline?
|From Kok's blog|
An exemplary tale to warn you against Satan’s tricks from a German scandal sheet published in Strasbourg, 1534.
The preacher Claus Frey was invited to stay at the house of a pious citizen in Nürnberg. But the fruit of his preaching soon became apparent when he seduced the man’s sister, Catharina, and aroused in her the desire to be his handmaid. On a Saturday night, when she went to bed, the seed in her heart sprouted fully. She felt an urge to give Frey her body, her honour, and her possessions, and to let him do with her as he pleased.
Frey took her up on the offer, but when Catharina discovered that he was a married man, she had second thoughts. He too felt badly about it and said to her, “True, we won’t do it again.”
A few months later, however, the urge seized her once more, and they carried on until Frey’s wife hunted them down. She complained that she had been robbed of her husband, with whom she had six little children and struck his new bride. Frey in turn hit his wife on the head, citing the bible: To be an apostle of Christ, I must first hate wife, child, house, and estate. He was ready to abandon them and begin a new life in the Lord with Catharina.
The pair fled to Strasbourg, but the new apostle wasn’t welcome there. Adultery was against the law, and the authorities imprisoned him. As far as they were concerned, Frey was no apostle, but a satanic whoremonger.
They could not tolerate public adultery and whoring and passed judgment that he should be drowned. Frey was unrepentant. When they took him to the river, he said: "What a nice day to go swimming."
When Catharina heard that he had been drowned, she tore up his letters and threw them into the privy. She realized that she had brought shame on herself and that all her hopes were lost. -- God only knows how this will turn out.
Well, friends, think about poor Catharina when you are tempted by Satan, and if you want to read the whole story, my translation will be published in The Correspondence of Wolfgang Capito, volume 3.