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On The Good Of Widowhood by St. Augustine

On the Good of Widowhood.

[De Bono Viduitatis.]

Translated by Rev. C. L. Cornish, M.A., of Exeter College, Oxford.

This work is not mentioned in the Retractations, probably because it is a letter, and as such it is reckoned by Possidius, cap This work is not mentioned in the Retractations, probably because it is a letter, and as such it is reckoned by Possidius, cap.7. It is also marked as St. Augustin's by its references to his other works, De Bono Conjugali, etc. cap.15. Ep. to Proba, cap.23. The date is marked by the recent consecration of Demetrias, which was in 413. The admonition for which he is thanked by Juliana, Ep.188, may be that against Pelagianism. An objection has been raised from its disagreement with the fourth Council of Carthage, an.398. can.104, which excommunicates widows who marry again after consecration, and pronounces them guilty of adultery, whereas in cap.10 and 11, the opinion that such marriages are no marriages, and that they ought to return to continence, is refuted. The two, however, are not wholly irreconcileable, as there may be a guilt similar to that of adultery incurred, and it may be visited with a censure in the form of excommunication, and yet the marriage may remain valid. The 16th Canon of Chalcedon imposes such a penalty, with power to the Bishop to relax it. -- Abridged from the Benedictine Edition.

Augustin the Bishop, servant of Christ, and of the servants of Christ, unto the religious handmaiden of God, Juliana, in the Lord of lords health Augustin the Bishop, servant of Christ, and of the servants of Christ, unto the religious handmaiden of God, Juliana, in the Lord of lords health. Not any longer to be in debt of my promise to your request and love in Christ, I have seized the occasion as I could, amid other my very pressing engagements, to write to you somewhat concerning the profession of holy widowhood, forasmuch as, when I was present, you laded me with entreaty, and, when I had not been able to deny you this, you often by letters demanded my promise. And in this work of ours, when you shall find in reading that some things pertain not at all unto your own person, or unto the person of you, who are living together in Christ, nor are strictly necessary to give counsel unto your life, it will be your duty not on this account to judge them superfluous. Forsooth this letter, although it be addressed to you, was not to be written for you alone; but certainly it was a matter for us not to neglect, that it should profit others also through your means. Whatsoever, therefore, you shall find here, such as either hath been at no time necessary for you, or is not so now, and which yet you shall perceive to be necessary for others, grieve not either to possess or to lend to read; that your charity also may be the profit of others.

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