Owen Chadwick

in The Early Reformation on the Continent

Published in print December 2001 | ISBN: 9780198269021
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191600470 | DOI:

Series: Oxford History of the Christian Church


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Reformed marriage rites varied, but all agreed that marriage must be in church and before witnesses. Premarital intercourse was declared illegal; unmarried mothers punished, often severely; vain attempts made to abolish prostitution; and the situation surrounding prohibited degrees in marriage remained unresolved. Protestants disliked divorce, but were forced to frame divorce laws of various degrees of severity, with harsh punishments for adultery. Only Martin Bucer allowed incompatibility as grounds for divorce. Reformers were consulted about Henry VIII's divorce, but washed their hands of it. The case of the bigamy of Philip, landgrave of Hesse, was of grave consequence for the Protestants, destroying his reputation and bringing nearer the military threat from the emperor. The same issue tragically destroyed the career of Bernardino Ochino.

Keywords: divorce; Henry VIII; marriage; Philip of Hesse; sexual morality

Chapter.  9083 words. 

Subjects: History of Christianity

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