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Home > Fathers of the Church > Registrum Epistolarum (Gregory the Great) > Book XI, Letter 50

Book XI, Letter 50

To Adrian, Notary.

Gregory to Adrian, Notary of Panormus.

Agathosa, the bearer of these presents, complains that her husband has, against her will, been converted in the monastery of the abbot Urbicus. And, since this undoubtedly touches the credit and reputation of the said abbot, we enjoin your Experience to investigate the matter by diligent enquiry, so as to see whether it may not be the case that the man's conversion was with her consent, or that she herself had promised to change her state. And should it be found to be so, see to his remaining in the monastery, and compel her to change her state, as she had promised. If however neither of these things is the case, and you do not find that the aforesaid woman has committed any crime of fornication on account of which it is lawful for a man to leave his wife, then, lest his conversion should possibly be an occasion of perdition to the wife left behind in the world, we desire you, without any excuse allowed, to restore her husband to her, even though he should be already tonsured. For, although mundane law declares that marriage may be dissolved for the sake of conversion against the will of either party, yet divine law does not permit this to be done. For, save for the cause of fornication, a man is on no account allowed to put away his wife, seeing that after the husband and wife have been made one body by the copulation of wedlock, it cannot be in part converted, and in part remain in the world .

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Source. Translated by James Barmby. From Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Second Series, Vol. 13. Edited by Philip Schaff and Henry Wace. (Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature Publishing Co., 1898.) Revised and edited for New Advent by Kevin Knight. <http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/360211050.htm>.

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