The Priesthood and the Sacrament of Marriage
PRIESTHOOD AND THE SEVEN SACRAMENTS (E.J. Brill, Gregory Peters, ed., Forthcoming)
74 Pages Posted: 1 Nov 2013 Last revised: 6 Nov 2013
Date Written: 2013
This Article is a study of the relationship of the priesthood and marriage in Catholic theology and law from the Apostolic Age to the Council of Trent. It begins with the Apostolic Age and investigates the evidence we have for a married apostolate. It next considers the parallel theological developments, in the writings of St. Ambrose and St. Augustine, of carnally fruitful marriage and a spiritually fecund priesthood. It then reviews the penitential literature of early medieval Ireland and Continental Europe. It proposes that this literature imparted to Western Catholicism sexual conduct an intensely ascetical flavor. It also proposes that it was through the Sacrament of Confession that the priesthood continued to define and shape the content of matrimony. The Article next examines the canon law of the high middle ages in order to explain and understand the abrupt rise and triumph of consent-based theories of matrimonial formation. The Article closes with the Council of Trent and the Council Fathers’ efforts to synthesize this tradition in the light of the challenges posed by the Protestant Reformation.
Keywords: priesthood, sacraments, sacrament of marriage, Catholic theology, canon law
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