solution

sixteenth century germany!:

“For most polemicists, the only possible motivation of ecclesiastical authorities in creating and maintaining such a system [in which minors could marry without their parents’ permission] was sheer avarice. In addition to charging for the various dispensations (most commonly for cases of third- or fourth-degree consanguinity), bishops and officials made money from all related marital litigation, such as dissolution and separation cases. Outraged by such abuses, reformers attacked both the law and its enforcement with a brutality rivaled only by related anticlerical tracts on concubinage and simony. Luther castigated Church legal authorities as ‘[sellers] of vulvas and genitals — merchandise indeed most worthy of such merchants, grown altogether filthy and obscene through greed and godlessness.’ As far as he could see, the only purpose of creating the ‘snares’ of impediments was to ‘catch’ money — sentiments echoed by Johann Brenz: ‘Perhaps [the pope] had his eye on money and filling the coffers, and for that reason forbade certain degrees, so that they could be dissolved again if one had the money.'”

previously: guess when and where!

(note: comments do not require an email. or an indulgence.)

5 Comments

  1. Hah, I had a feeling it would be a pre-Counter-Reformation Catholic country – but I would have guessed France, not Germany.

    Reply

  2. How funny that accusing the authorities of coming up with rules just to make money off the people has such an old pedigree. Is there truly nothing new under the sun?

    Reply

  3. @polynices – “Is there truly nothing new under the sun?”

    except for new inventions (like computers and the internet) and scientific discoveries, no i don’t think there is. (^_^)

    Reply

  4. You sort of cheated with this puzzle a little bit, though it was fun.

    After all the passage you quoted in the set up post prior to this solution made it seem like it was the institution of marriage itself which was being severely questioned, when the solution passage here makes it clear that it was the Catholic Church’s corrupt selling of dispensations and indulgences for certain degrees of cousins marrying, or to dissolve a marriage that was being vilified — i.e. the classic early impetus behind the Protestant Reformation.

    All good fun though.

    Reply

  5. @doug1 – “After all the passage you quoted in the set up post prior to this solution made it seem like it was the institution of marriage itself which was being severely questioned….”

    i didn’t think it read like that. i thought it was pretty clear that, as the opening line of the passage reads: “the institution of marriage seemed to many contemporaries to be under a state of siege”, i.e. that the people who were writing about it were worried about the state of marriage in their society — they didn’t like that marriage was being made a “mockery” and that the “dignity of the estate” was at peril. not that they were questioning whether or not there should be marriage.

    Reply

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