Utrum fuerit illud matrimonium perfectum
Whether this marriage was complete
Ad secundum sic proceditur. Videtur quod matrimonium praedictum non fuerit perfectum. Perfectum enim matrimonium ex absoluto consensu procedit. Sed Beata Virgo non absolute in matrimonium consensisse videtur, sicut nec absolute vovisse; cum in utroque se dispositioni divinae commiserit, ut in littera dicitur. Ergo non fuit perfectum matrimonium.
Obj. 1: To the second question, we proceed thus. It seems that the marriage described was not complete. For a complete marriage proceeds from absolute consent. But the Blessed Virgin does not seem to have consented absolutely in matrimony, as neither did she vow absolutely, since in both she committed herself to divine governance, as is said in the text. Therefore, it was not a complete marriage.
Praeterea, significatio est de essentia matrimonii, inquantum est sacramentum. Sed matrimonium illud non fuit perfectum in consignificatione, ut in littera dicitur. Ergo non fuit perfectum sacramentum.
Obj. 2: Furthermore, the signification belongs to the essence of marriage, inasmuch as it is a sacrament. But that marriage was not complete in its signification, as it says in the text. Therefore, it was not a perfect sacrament.
Praeterea, ubi deest ultima consummatio, non est vera perfectio. Sed matrimonium Beatae Virginis nunquam fuit consummatum. Ergo non fuit vere perfectum.
Obj. 3: Furthermore, where the final consummation is lacking, there is no true completion. But the marriage of the Blessed Virgin was never consummated. Therefore, it was not truly completed.
Praeterea, perfectum dicitur esse matrimonium ex eo quod habet bonum prolis. Sed illud matrimonium non habuit bonum prolis, quia proles quae fuit in illo matrimonio educata, non fuit effectus illius matrimonii, sicut nec filius adoptivus dicitur bonum matrimonii. Ergo non fuit perfectum matrimonium.
Obj. 4: Furthermore, a marriage is said to be complete from the fact that it possesses the good of offspring. But that marriage did not have the good of offspring, since the child who was brought up in that marriage was not the effect of that marriage, just as neither is an adoptive son called a good of marriage. Therefore, it was not a complete marriage.
Praeterea, post perfectum matrimonium non licet alicui sponsam dimittere. Sed Joseph, quamvis esset justus, volebat eam occulte dimittere, ut dicitur Matth. 1. Ergo nondum erat perfectum matrimonium.
Obj. 5: Furthermore, after a marriage is complete, one is not allowed to send away one’s spouse. But Joseph, although he was a just man, wanted to send Mary away secretly, as it says in Matthew 1:19. Therefore, the marriage was not yet complete.
Sed contra, Dei perfecta sunt opera; Deut. 32, 4. Sed illud matrimonium fuit divinitus inspiratum. Ergo fuit perfectum.
On the contrary, the works of God are complete (Deut 32:4). But that marriage was divinely inspired. Therefore, it was complete.
Praeterea, per matrimonium non dicuntur aliqui conjuges, nisi sit perfectum. Sed Maria dicitur conjux Joseph. Matth. 1. Ergo fuit inter eos perfectum matrimonium.
Furthermore, unless marriage is complete, the parties are not called spouses. But Mary was called Joseph’s spouse (Matt 1:24). Therefore, a complete marriage existed between them.
Respondeo dicendum, quod duplex est perfectio matrimonii. Una quantum ad esse ipsius, quae fit per consensum verbis de praesenti expressum; et tali perfectione matrimonium illud perfectum fuit. Alia est perfectio quantum ad operationem; et sic non fuit perfectum, quia actus proprius matrimonii est carnalis copula.
I answer that, there are two kinds of perfection for marriage. The first refers to its very being, which arises through consent expressed in words of the present. And with regard to this kind of perfection, that marriage was complete. The other perfection refers to activity, and in this regard that marriage was not complete, because the proper act of marriage is physical intimacy.
Ad primum ergo dicendum, quod Beata Virgo absolute in matrimonium consensit, ut certificata divinitus; sed in matrimonium sic consentiens virginitatem suam Deo commisisse in littera dicitur.
Reply Obj. 1: The Blessed Virgin consented absolutely to marriage, as confirmed by divine inspiration. But while consenting thus to marriage, she had entrusted her virginity to God, as it says in the text.
Ad secundum dicendum, quod significatio non quaelibet est de essentia sacramenti, sed illa qua significatur effectus sacramenti; et ideo ratio non sequitur.
Reply Obj. 2: Not just any signification pertains to ehe essence of marriage, but only that signification by which the effect of the sacrament is signified; and therefore the argument does not follow.
Ad tertium dicendum, quod ratio illa procedit de secunda perfectione quae consummatio dicitur matrimonii.
Reply Obj. 3: This argument proceeds from the second kind of perfection, which is called the consummation of a marriage.
Ad quartum dicendum, quod proles non dicitur bonum matrimonii solum inquantum per matrimonium generatur, sed inquantum in matrimonio suscipitur et educatur; et sic bonum illius matrimonii fuit proles illa et non primo modo. Nec tamen de adulterio natus, nec filius adoptivus qui in matrimonio educatur, est bonum matrimonii: quia matrimonium non ordinatur ad educationem illorum, sicut hoc matrimonium fuit ad hoc ordinatum specialiter quod proles illa susciperetur in eo, et educaretur.
Reply Obj. 4: A child is not called the good of marriage only because he is generated through marriage, but also inasmuch as he is accepted and educated in marriage; and in this way the good of this marriage was a child, but not in the first way. Nor would a child be a good of marriage who is born of adultery, nor an adopted son who is educated in marriage; for marriage is not ordained to the education of those, as this marriage was specially ordained to this child’s being received into it and educated.
Ad quintum dicendum, quod Joseph noluit eam dimittere quasi aliam ducturus, vel propter aliquam suspicionem, sed quia timebat tantae sanctitati cohabitare propter reverentiam; unde dictum est ei: noli timere; Matth. 1, 20.
Reply Obj. 5: Joseph did not wish to send Mary away so that he could take another wife, or on account of any suspicion, but because he feared to cohabit with such holiness out of reverence; which is why it was said to him, Do not fear to take Mary as your wife (Matt 1:20).
Utrum fuerit aliquando consummatum
Whether it was ever consummated
Ad tertium sic proceditur. Videtur quod matrimonium illud fuerit aliquando consummatum. Dicitur enim Matth. 1, 18: antequam convenirent, inventa est in utero habens de spiritu sancto. Et item 25: non cognoscebat eam donec peperit filium suum primogenitum. Ergo videtur quod post cognoverit eam.
Obj. 1: To the third question, we proceed thus. It seems that this marriage was consummated at some time. For it says in Matthew 1:18: before they came together, she was found to be with child by the Holy Spirit. And in verse 25, he did not know her until she had given birth to her firstborn son. Therefore, it seems that afterward he did know her.
Praeterea, primum dicitur respectu secundi. Sed Christus in auctoritate inducta dicitur primogenitus filius Virginis. Ergo post primum habuit alium; et sic matrimonium illud, saltem post Christi nativitatem, consummatum fuit.
Obj. 2: Furthermore, ‘the first’ is said with respect to a second. But Christ is called the firstborn son of the Virgin by the authorities brought forth. Therefore, after the first child, she had another; and thus this marriage, at least after the birth of Christ, was consummated.
Praeterea, non defuerunt verba Evangelistis ad exprimendum suam intentionem. Sed nunquam expresserunt, quod Joseph amplius eam non cognosceret. Ergo post Christi generationem matrimonium fuit consummatum.
Obj. 3: Furthermore, the words of the Gospel writers never failed in expressing their intention. But they never expressed that Joseph did not know his wife at all. Therefore, after the generation of Christ, the marriage was consummated.
Praeterea, Joseph dicitur pater Christi in pluribus Evangelii locis, et dicitur etiam habere fratres; quod non esset, si matrimonium illud nunquam fuisset consummatum. Ergo, etc.
Obj. 4: Furthermore, Joseph is called the father of Christ in many places in the Gospels, and Christ is also said to have brothers; but this would not be, if the marriage had never been consummated. Therefore, etc.
Praeterea, duo corpora non possunt simul esse in eodem loco. Ergo Christus non potuit exire de ventre matris integritate virginitatis manente; et sic non fuit inconveniens quod matrimonium illud consummaretur.
Obj. 5: Furthermore, two bodies cannot be in the same place at the same time. Therefore, Christ could not have exited the womb of his mother while leaving her virginity intact; and given this, it would not have been unfitting for the marriage to have been consummated.
Praeterea, Abraham et alii patres qui conjugiis usi sunt, maximae dignitatis fuerunt. Ergo nihil deperisset matri Christi, si matrimonium consummasset.
Obj. 6: Furthermore, Abraham and other fathers who enjoyed marriage had the greatest of dignity. Therefore, nothing would have been lost to the mother of Christ, if she had consummated her marriage.
Praeterea, Helvidius objicit: si turpe est Christo matrem cognosci post partum, quanto magis per genitalia virginis esse natum.
Obj. 7: Furthermore, Helvidius objects: if it is a base thing for Christ that his mother be known after his birth, how much more so for him to have been born through the genitals of a virgin?
Sed contra, virginitas corruptioni praeponitur. Sed mater Christi debuit esse in excellentissimo statu. Ergo debuit esse virgo: et sic non debuit illud matrimonium consummari.
On the contrary, virginity is preferred to corruption. But the mother of Christ had to be in the most excellent state. Therefore, she had to be a virgin, and thus her marriage could not have been consummated.
Praeterea, non est probabile quod Joseph auderet uterum quem templum Dei noverat, attingere, ut Hieronymus dicit.
Furthermore, it is not probable that Joseph would dare to approach the womb that he knew was a temple of God, as Jerome says.
Respondeo dicendum, quod mater Christi ante partum et in partu et post partum in aeternum virgo permansit. Sed ejus virginitati ante partum Judaei et Ebionitae derogant, dicentes, Christum ex Joseph semine esse natum. Ejus autem virginitati in partu philosophi derogabant, dicentes, non posse duo corpora esse in eodem loco. Sed virginitati ejus post partum Helvidius quidam idiota et sacerdos ausus est derogare, quod loquacitatem facundiam aestimans, accepta materia disputandi, a blasphemiis Matris Dei incepit, dicens eam post partum a Joseph cognitam; et contra quem Hieronymus librum conscripsit.
I answer that, the mother of Christ remained a virgin before the birth, and in the birth, and after the birth for all eternity. But the Jews and the Ebionites detract from her virginity before the birth, saying that Christ was born from the seed of Joseph. The philosophers, on the other hand, dispute her virginity during the birth, saying that two bodies cannot be in the same place. But Helvidius, a certain idiot and priest, dared to calumniate her virginity after the birth; for, believing garrulousness to be eloquence, and having found a subject to disagree about, he began with blasphemies against the Mother of God, saying that she had been known by Joseph after the birth of Christ. And against him, Jerome composed a book.
Ad primum ergo dicendum, quod antequam non semper denotat ordinem ad illud quod futurum est secundum rei veritatem, sed quandoque ad illud quod futurum speratur secundum communem cursum, secundum quod dicitur: iste, antequam haberet viginti annos, mortuus est; et sic est in proposito. Et similiter ly donec, quandoque significat hoc quod praecessit, terminari veniente eo quod expectatur, ut cum dicitur: sede hic, donec veniam; quandoque autem non sic, ut cum dicitur 1 Corinth. 15, 25: oportet illum regnare, donec ponat omnes inimicos sub pedibus ejus: non quod tempus regni ejus finiatur ad subjectionem inimicorum; sed subjectio inimicorum in tempore regni includitur.
Reply Obj. 1: ‘Before’ does not always denote an order to what is in the future according to the truth of the matter, but sometimes it is said regarding what is expected in the future according to the usual course of things—as in, “Before he had reached twenty years of age, he was dead.” And so it is in the case at hand. And likewise with ‘until,’ for sometimes it means that what preceded will be terminated by this coming thing that is expected, as when it is said, “Sit here, until I come.” But sometimes not like this, as when it says in 1 Corinthians 15:25: He must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet—not that the time of his reign will be finished at the subjection of his enemies, but rather, the subjection of the enemies is included in the time of the reign.
Ad secundum dicendum, quod primogenitus dicitur ante quem nullus, quamvis post ipsum non sit alius: alias unigeniti jus primogeniturae non haberent, nec debuissent Deo offerri in lege: quod falsum est.
Reply Obj. 2: ‘Firstborn’ is said of the one before whom there is no one, notwithstanding there may not be another after him. Otherwise, only-begotten sons would not have had the right of primogeniture, and they would not have had to be offered to God according to the law, which is false.
Ad tertium dicendum, quod Evangelistae ex eo quod minus est credibile, dimiserunt intelligendum hoc quod magis credibile est. Minus autem credibile est quod virgo concipiat (quod Evangelistae dixerunt), quam quod post partum virgo conservetur; et ideo non curaverunt hoc dicere.
Reply Obj. 3: The Gospel writers left what is more believable to be understood from what is less believable. It is less believable that a virgin should conceive (which the Gospel writers said), than that after the birth she should have been preserved a virgin; and therefore, they did not take the trouble to say it.
Ad quartum dicendum, quod Joseph dicitur pater Christi putativus, ut patet Luc. 3. Et iterum Christus fuit filius ejus adoptivus, ut quidam dicunt. Alii autem dicti sunt fratres ejus ratione cognationis, quia erant de eadem familia: quia nec Maria alium filium habuit, nec Joseph, qui etiam virgo fuit, ut dicitur.
Reply Obj. 4: Joseph is called the ‘foster father’ of Christ, as is evident from Luke 3:23. And again, Christ was made his adopted son, as certain people say. Others, though, were called the ‘brothers’ of Jesus by reason of family relation, since they were of the same family: since neither did Mary have another son, nor did Joseph, who was also a virgin, as it is said.
Ad quintum dicendum, quod verum est per naturam; sed per miraculum potest fieri quod duo corpora sint in eodem loco, ut infra, dist. 44, dicetur. Partus autem ille et conceptus totus miraculosus fuit. Quidam tamen dicunt, quod Christus tunc dotem subtilitatis assumpsit. Sed primum est melius.
Reply Obj. 5: This is true according to nature; but by a miracle it can happen that two bodies are in the same place at the same time (as will be shown in Distinction 44)—and that birth and conception were entirely miraculous. Indeed, some say that Christ assumed the gift of subtlety at that time; yet the first account is better.
Ad sextum dicendum, quod quamvis status conjugii consummati sit bonus, tamen status virginitatis est multo altior; et hic Matri Dei debebatur.
Reply Obj. 6: However good might be the state of consummated marriage, nonetheless the state of virginity is much higher. And this befitted the Mother of God.
Ad septimum dicendum, secundum Hieronymum, quod quanto sunt humiliora quae pro me passus est, tanto ei plus debeo; dummodo per haec perfectioni virtutis nihil subtrahatur. Sed virginitatis privatio derogaret perfectioni matris ex parte virtutis animae.
Reply Obj. 7: According to Jerome, The more humiliating things he suffered for me, the more I owe him, provided that nothing in these things detracts from the perfection of his virtue. But the privation of virginity would take away from the perfection of his mother as regards the virtue of her soul.
Exposition of the text
Si enim diabolus transfigurans se in angelum lucis credatur bonus, non est error periculosus. Hoc intelligendum est, quando non proceditur ad adorationem, vel quando proceditur sub conditione, si est Christus; alias esset periculum idolatriae.
If the devil, transforming himself into an angel of light, is believed to be good, it is not a dangerous error. This should be understood, when it does not proceed to the point of adoration, or, if it should, only under the supposition that it was Christ; otherwise, it would pose the danger of idolatry.