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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

It is important to remember that, while Christianity brought the 

idea of marriage as a sacrament into the main stream of the 

institutional history of Europe, that idea was merely developed, 

not invented, by the Church. It is an ancient and even primitive 

idea. The Jews believed that marriage is a magico-religious bond, 

having in it something mystical resembling a sacrament, and that 

idea, says Durkheim (_L'Annee Sociologique_, eighth year, 1905, 

p. 419), is perhaps very archaic, and hangs on to the generally 

magic character of sex relations. "The mere act of union," 

Crawley remarks (_The Mystic Rose_, p. 318) concerning savages, 

"is potentially a marriage ceremony of the sacramental kind.... 

One may even credit the earliest animistic men with some such 

vague conception before any ceremony became crystallized." The 

essence of a marriage ceremony, the same writer continues, "is 

the 'joining together' of a man and a woman; in the words of our 

English service, 'for this cause shall a man leave his father and 

mother and shall be joined unto his wife; and they two shall be 

one flesh.' At the other side of the world, amongst the Orang 

Benuas, these words are pronounced by an elder, when a marriage 

is solemnized: 'Listen all ye that are present; those that were 

distant are now brought together; those that were separated are 

now united.' Marriage ceremonies in all stages of culture may be 

called religious with as much propriety as any ceremony whatever. 

Those who were separated are now joined together, those who were 

mutually taboo now break the taboo." Thus marriage ceremonies 

prevent sin and neutralize danger. 

 

 

The Catholic conception of marriage was, it is clear, in 

essentials precisely the primitive conception. Christianity drew 

the sacramental idea from the archaic traditions in popular 

consciousness, and its own ecclesiastical contribution lay in 

slowly giving that idea a formal and rigid shape, and in 

declaring it indissoluble. As among savages, it was in the act of 

consent that the essence of the sacrament lay; the intervention 

of the priest was not, in principle, necessary to give marriage 

its religiously binding character. The essence of the sacrament 

was mutual acceptance of each other by the man and the woman, as 

husband and wife, and technically the priest who presided at the 

ceremony was simply a witness of the sacrament. The essential 

fact being thus the mental act of consent, the sacrament of 

matrimony had the peculiar character of being without any outward 

and visible sign. Perhaps it was this fact, instinctively felt 

as a weakness, which led to the immense emphasis on the 

indissolubility of the sacrament of matrimony, already 

established by St. Augustine. The Canonists brought forward 

various arguments to account for that indissolubility, and a 

frequent argument has always been the Scriptural application of 

the term "one flesh" to married couples; but the favorite 

argument of the Canonists was that matrimony represents the union 

of Christ with the Church; that is indissoluble, and therefore 

its image must be indissoluble (Esmein, op. cit., vol. i, p. 64). 

In part, also, one may well believe, the idea of the 

indissolubility of marriage suggested itself to the 

ecclesiastical mind by a natural association of ideas: the vow of 

virginity in monasticism was indissoluble; ought not the vow of 

sexual relationship in matrimony to be similarly indissoluble? It 


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