Friday, 16 June 2017

You Call That "Child Marriage", Jane?

Child Marriage and Christians
June 13, 2017 by Jane the Actuary

And is a married 16 year old mother any worse off than a unmarried one? After all, the difference between “our” teen brides and “their” teen brides is that in the US, marriage is a way of managing teen pregnancies and ensuring the father does his duty, but elsewhere, teen marriage is outright encouraged by society.

Which are all pretty lousy rationalizations.

Child support laws and social pressure within the community should be sufficient to push fathers to caring for their children. Marriage laws in which children can marry with parental permission affirm the cult’s belief and lead those girls to think that what’s happened to them is OK. And even if only a small number of children are affected, it’s still a law that should be removed from the books.

Did I hear you right? I just heard you call a sixteen year old girl who is pregnant a "child"?

Just checking your religious affiliation a bit ...

"Home Catholic Channel Jane the Actuary"?

And a bit earlier a post called "How Does a Pope Greet a President?" (not linking) with the clear non-Pope Bergoglio in picture, so you are probably a Novus Ordo Catholic.

And very out of touch with the history of your Church, or the Church it pretends to continue.

There was a case in Poland in the 18th C. where a real Pope was concerned with a real child marriage.

  • the bride was not 12 yet, which is the legal minimal age for brides in the Catholic Church;
  • if I recall correctly, she was not yet even 11 and a half;
  • and even at 11 and a half, you need Papal dispensation for marrying so low, if you are a girl (at 13 and a half for boys);
  • AND the bridegroom or not validly such, was a Protestant, which totally makes a Papal dispensation impossible anyway.

I am sorry, I forgot the reference.

For the normal minimal age (without special dispensations) being 14 for the male and 12 for the female partner, I can however give a reference or two:

"Home > Summa Theologiae > Supplement > Question 58"
Article 5. Whether defective age is an impediment to marriage?

And giving you the corpus of this article:

I answer that, Since marriage is effected by way of a contract, it comes under the ordinance of positive law like other contracts. Consequently according to law (cap. Tua, De sponsal. impub.) it is determined that marriage may not be contracted before the age of discretion when each party is capable of sufficient deliberation about marriage, and of mutual fulfilment of the marriage debt, and that marriages otherwise contracted are void. Now for the most part this age is the fourteenth year in males and the twelfth year in women: but since the ordinances of positive law are consequent upon what happens in the majority of cases, if anyone reach the required perfection before the aforesaid age, so that nature and reason are sufficiently developed to supply the lack of age, the marriage is not annulled. Wherefore if the parties who marry before the age of puberty have marital intercourse before the aforesaid age, their marriage is none the less perpetually indissoluble.

In other words, St Thomas Aquinas as firmly as FLDS believed a girl of 12 was a woman fit to marry, unless puberty was delayed a bit after that. Where he disagrees (see elsewhere) is on bigamy.

"Yeah, but that is just one opinion" ... no, just like St Thomas Aquinas is so often elsewhere simply defending the Bible, the most read Church Fathers or a dogma like those of Nicaea or Constantinople, or like the Transsubstantiation recently defined in IV Lateran Council, here he is simply defending the normal canon law of the Church.

He does that too, quite a lot. He's the intellectual who defends the non-controversial opinion against those taking controversial ones.

"But surely that didn't happen in practise?"

I just mentioned Poland. Someone tried to push it downward a bit. Not much, the Polish szlachta are not Muslims, just down to eleven and some. An age in which marriage is legal in Tibet under the Dalai Lama (apart from the fact his country is occupied by China men). And the Pope said, "no, no, she must wait to twelve, and she can only marry a Catholic even then!" Not a Protestant, like the guy who had wanted to marry her when she was less than twelve.

I just read an article on French wikipedia, that other week, saying "in the Ancien Régime only 4 % of the women married before 17" - maybe so, but Marie Antoinette who had no problems scraping together a first home, was among the 4 %. She was 14.

In German wiki, I went through two family genealogies, going back in the case of Maria von Baden, and if I recall correctly, going forth a bit in the case of Philippa of Hainault. Citing myself:

Median 20
Untere Quartile 19
Höhere Quartile 21 / 23
Mittelwert 20.79 oder 20.75

One girl of 15, 3 of 17, one of 18 and three of 19 at 6 and 7th position, 20 at positions 12 / 13, positions 18 and 19 divided between 21 and 23 and one old maid married at 30. One of those married at 17 could have been just 16. This was Maria von Baden, but now lets look at Philippa of Hainault's kin:

Median 17 Jahre
Untere Quartile 12 oder 13 Jahre
Obere Quartile 19 Jahre

Note that of the 26 I looked at, 2 to 5 were under 12 when married. Depending on incertainties, similar to those involved in number of married under 12, the position 7 of 26, or lower quartile, is either at 12 (second to last among 12) or at 13 (first at 13). 8 or 9 of the 26 were 13 or younger when married first time.

Yes, it did happen.

"Oh, that was the Middle Ages ..."

Sure. And I thought you were a Catholic, i. e. proud of the Middle Ages?

But perhaps, among Novus Ordo Catholics, you have seeped in a Protestant pride in getting "past the Dark Ages" a bit in reverse, so you are ashamed of Middle Ages?

Jane, if you would like to be considered anything like a Catholic by me, you can do better than that!

Until 1917, canon law had basically considered anyone above the age of 12 capable of marriage. Thus, when the 1917 Code raised the minimum age for marriage in the church to 14 for girls and 16 for boys (1917 CIC 1067), the change was greeted as an improvement that recognized that something beyond mere reproductive ability was required for Christian marriage.

Too Young to Marry
Dr. Edward Peters

And here comes a little reasoning, it is on your side:

The idea of children hardly into their adolescent years being allowed to marry is a little embarrassing, and canonists queried on the topic usually reply that very few 14-year-olds get married anymore. Canon law, we add, was meant to apply in a wide variety of cultures, including those in which 14-year-olds marry happily (just where that land is we leave to anthropologists to determine), and in any case, we note, boys cannot marry until they are 16. Obviously, not all questioners are satisfied with these replies.

I actually read an anthropologist who was writing in 1910, just before the 1917 code of canon law. In Spain back then, marital law was at the same 14 / 12 limit as prescribed by St Thomas. Austria - the author mentioned nothing about when boys could marry, unless same provisions were there for both - the minimal age for girls was 14 (as in canon 1067 of 1917 canon law) with parental consent, or 21 without such. Italy, however, as a progressive country, had introduced the 18/18 limit. Before Soviet Russia followed suit, in the 1917 Revolution or the years after. One can argue that the raising of marital age in 1917 canon law was due to undue Italian pressure on the Papacy, and while Pope St Pius X had resisted, Benedict XV didn't. It also involves more acceptance than previously of usury (counselled to Benedict XV by a canon lawyer Pacelli, later known as Pius XII).

In Italy of 1902, the state prescribed the 18/18 limit, which meant that if one Maria Goretti and one Alessandro Serenelli had decided to marry, they would have had to wait for 6 years, since he was 18 but she not quite 12. Probably there was some dispensation for those who had gotten a pregnancy going before 18 and that is what Alessandro Serenelli was proposing and the saint refusing because it was a mortal sin.

If Nettuno had not been under the progressive rule of Sardinian house, if Nettuno had in 1870 remained Papal States, instead of that State going down, the marital age would have been 12 for women, Alessandro Serenelli would have been more sheltered from bad books, and less impetuous, and he would probably have made a proposal which they could have made serious business of in Church a few months later.

Under the novelty of 1917, they would still have had to wait for two years. But that is at least better than six. In case you don't know what the 18/18 limit and Alessandro Serenelli's reading of bad books and his impetuousness caused as a drama, I hope you pay attention to Saint of the Day on upcoming July 6th.

Hans Georg Lundahl
from Nanterre University Library
Saints Auraeus, bishop, and his
sister Justina, Martyrs

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