Main  Contacts  
Table of contents
THE CONQUEST OF THE VENEREAL DISEASES-8.1
THE CONQUEST OF THE VENEREAL DISEASES-8.2
THE CONQUEST OF THE VENEREAL DISEASES-8.3
THE CONQUEST OF THE VENEREAL DISEASES-8.4
THE CONQUEST OF THE VENEREAL DISEASES-8.5
THE CONQUEST OF THE VENEREAL DISEASES-8.6
FOOTNOTES
SEXUAL MORALITY-9.1
SEXUAL MORALITY-9.2
SEXUAL MORALITY-9.3
SEXUAL MORALITY-9.4
SEXUAL MORALITY-9.5
SEXUAL MORALITY-9.6
SEXUAL MORALITY-9.7
SEXUAL MORALITY-9.8
SEXUAL MORALITY-9.9
MARRIAGE-10.1
MARRIAGE-10.2
MARRIAGE-10.3
MARRIAGE-10.4
MARRIAGE-10.5
MARRIAGE-10.6
MARRIAGE-10.7
MARRIAGE-10.8
MARRIAGE-10.9
MARRIAGE-10.10
MARRIAGE-10.11
MARRIAGE-10.12
FOOTNOTES
THE ART OF LOVE-11.1
THE ART OF LOVE-11.2
THE ART OF LOVE-11.3
THE ART OF LOVE-11.4
THE ART OF LOVE-11.5
THE ART OF LOVE-11.6
THE ART OF LOVE-11.7
THE ART OF LOVE-11.8
THE ART OF LOVE-11.9
THE ART OF LOVE-11.10
THE ART OF LOVE-11.11
FOOTNOTES
THE SCIENCE OF PROCREATION-12.1
THE SCIENCE OF PROCREATION-12.2
THE SCIENCE OF PROCREATION-12.3
THE SCIENCE OF PROCREATION-12.4
THE SCIENCE OF PROCREATION-12.5
THE SCIENCE OF PROCREATION-12.6
THE SCIENCE OF PROCREATION-12.7
THE SCIENCE OF PROCREATION-12.8
THE SCIENCE OF PROCREATION-12.9
FOOTNOTES
INDEX OF AUTHORS

same difficulty has presented itself to lawyers in more modern 

times, and has not always been resolved so favorably to woman as 

by the Christian Council of Macon. 

 

The low estimate of women that prevailed even in the early Church 

is admitted by Christian scholars. "We cannot but notice," writes 

Meyrick (art. "Marriage," Smith and Cheetham, _Dictionary of 

Christian Antiquities_), "even in the greatest of the Christian 

fathers a lamentably low estimate of woman, and consequently of 

the marriage relationship. Even St. Augustine can see no 

justification for marriage, except in a grave desire deliberately 

adopted of having children; and in accordance with this view, all 

married intercourse, except for this single purpose, is harshly 

condemned. If marriage is sought after for the sake of children, 

it is justifiable; if entered into as a _remedium_ to avoid worse 

evils, it is pardonable; the idea of the mutual society, help, 

and comfort that the one ought to have of the other, both in 

prosperity and adversity, hardly existed, and could hardly yet 

exist." 

 

From the woman's point of view, Lily Braun, in her important work 

on the woman question (_Die Frauenfrage_, 1901, pp. 28 et seq.) 

concludes that, in so far as Christianity was favorable to women, 

we must see that favorable influence in the placing of women on 

the same moral level as men, as illustrated in the saying of 

Jesus, "Let him who is without sin amongst you cast the first 

stone," implying that each sex owes the same fidelity. It 

reached, she adds, no further than this. "Christianity, which 

women accepted as a deliverance with so much enthusiasm, and died 

for as martyrs, has not fulfilled their hopes." 

 

Even as regards the moral equality of the sexes in marriage, the 

position of Christian authorities was sometimes equivocal. One of 

the greatest of the Fathers, St. Basil, in the latter half of the 

fourth century, distinguished between adultery and fornication as 

committed by a married man; if with a married woman, it was 

adultery; if with an unmarried woman, it was merely fornication. 

In the former case, a wife should not receive her husband back; 

in the latter case, she should (art. "Adultery," Smith and 

Cheetham, _Dictionary of Christian Antiquities_). Such a 

decision, by attaching supreme importance to a distinction which 

could make no difference to the wife, involved a failure to 

recognize her moral personality. Many of the Fathers in the 

Western Church, however, like Jerome, Augustine, and Ambrose, 

could see no reason why the moral law should not be the same for 

the husband as for the wife, but as late Roman feeling both on 

the legal and popular side was already approximating to that 

view, the influence of Christianity was scarcely required to 

attain it. It ultimately received formal sanction in the Roman 

Canon Law, which decreed that adultery is equally committed by 

either conjugal party in two degrees: (1) _simplex_, of the 

married with the unmarried, and (2) _duplex_, of the married with 

the married. 

 

It can scarcely be said, however, that Christianity succeeded in 

attaining the inclusion of this view of the moral equality of the 

sexes into actual practical morality. It was accepted in theory; 

it was not followed in practice. W.G. Sumner, discussing this 

question (_Folkways_, pp. 359-361), concludes: "Why are these 

views not in the _mores?_ Undoubtedly it is because they are 


Page 3 from 5:  Back   1   2  [3]  4   5   Forward