Tags » John Witte Jr.

John Stuart Mill’s ideal of marriage as “a private, bargained-for exchange between husband and wife about all their rights, goods, and interests” has become a legal reality in contemporary America…But John Locke’s warning, echoing Thomas Aquinas, that the private contractualization of marriage will bring injustice and sometimes ruin to many women and children has also become a reality in America.

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As Pope Paul III’s 1542 Bull of Convocation made clear, the Council of Trent was prompted by “the many distresses pastoral solicitude and vigilance” within the church and the many new “schisms, dissensions, and heresies” by which the “Christian commonwealth” was “well-nigh rent and torn asunder.” From the mid-fourteenth century forward, strong kings and princes in France, England, Spain, and Germany had challenged the church’s expansive property holdings, lucrative jurisdiction, and swollen bureaucracy.

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