theological issues of doctrine

Wondering if anyone knows a good resource that would answer doctrinal questions that might arise in a game in terms of how the church at the time might respond. a couple of examples;
When a priest is trying to root out Catharism a man confesses to lusting after his wife- which raises suspicions. The man states "I don't understand the details of theology, I just figure I can repent everything and let God decide what needs forgiving"
second: a man wants an annulment because he has discovered that his wife is not human but a creature of magic or faerie- alternatively what the response would be if his wife had become a creature of faerie or magic...

You wish historical sources for doctrine about that? Really?

The priest - during confession - could tell him, that repenting everything is as good as repenting nothing. Especially if it is just to satisfy external rules he doesn't even understand. The priest could also ask him, how he feels about his wife, and advise him of his duty to care for her.
If he really that strongly had feared the consequences and repented all worldly life, and had wanted to leave it behind, there might have been ways for him to join a monastery in keeping with his social status.

See Annulment for the basics. If the wife was not human when the marriage was contracted, there never was a valid sacrament of marriage between the two. There are tales of Melusine - but this is literature, not food for church lawyers. Roman 13th century church law does tmk not accept, that humans can turn into beings of magic or faerie at all.

honestly I was hoping for a resource of someone with a certain level of expertise in the subject to discuss these kinds of topics, as opposed to simply advice to more or less wing it. Personally I think if you are looking at an AM universe than the church must assert either 1) the person was always a non-human entity and deceived the spouse, or b) effectively dies, the same as if they had become a ghost or demonic entity.

Or the Church says that since Magic is real, and natural, and not something naturally evil, then one can still be a good Christian and marry a magical being. That the state of having Magic or being Magic doesn't change what one intriscially is. That Magic beings are by definition souled beings in a way that is different but not wrong or whatnot from human souls. That God, the Creator, cares just as much on beings of Magic as they do beings of the Mundane.

A religious organiation in a world where Magic and Faerie and the Divine and the Infernal are proven things have to take them into consideration. They aren't theoretical they are practical.

Honestly, I could totally see Jesus in the world of Mythic Europe having interacted with Magic Users and I could see his teachings note that having magic in that way doesn't change them being able to follow his teachings. I could also see him going "my acts of the supernatural are through My Father's grace which is different from from the acts done by those of Magic or Faerie." While I would never write it out I could see the bible in game being different from our world's Bible.

My opinions of course. :slight_smile:


In that case I would refer you to the Summa Theologiae of Aquinas, especially to the definition of matrimony there. Have fun!

The issue is the immortal soul of the human turned magic being here. Did it go to its deserts, or is it still in the magic being? And about that you will tmk not find a Roman 13th century theological authority.

honestly I was looking to discuss topic on a number of other things as well, and was hoping for... well never mind what I was hoping for, since it appears I will not be helped.

I'd suggest the Catholic Encyclopedia. It's a bit out of date for 2020, but it's fine for 1220.

Silveroak, you've got to give us more than 8 hours... I'm on the other side of the globe....

1 Like

On the specific things you mentioned. You've touched on what's called Perfect Contrition. I'll leave you to look it up, because I'm picking this answer out on a phone keypad.

You are allowed to lust after your wife. I'd counter the Aquinas above with Augustine's On The Good Of Marriage and the later works of Illsiodre of Seville, where he pointed out that post-menopausal women are permitted to marry, therefore it's not all about babies. It's also about safely slaking the passions and the consolations of a life partner.

As to marrying faeries, it happens a bit in Cornish folklore. I don't think the Church permits it, doctrinally, though, after marriage becomes a sacrament.

Marriage only becomes a sacrament in about 1180. I know it only becomes part of the papal insistence on seven in about 1204. 1220 the doctrine is pretty fresh and how it is interpreted is tricky, based on how into the Councils your priest is.

1 Like

I'm not at my PC, so I can't get to the whole paper, but
is an article on Human to Fairy marriage in Folklore. It seems relevant.

Early 13th century Roman Catholic theology still has different approaches, even to the nature of the soul. There is an adventure handling that passim in sub rosa #20 p.49ff.

Scholastic theology of the soul you study best with Aquinas' Summa Theologiae first: either with the accessible cathen text I quoted above, or starting from the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy in earnest.

From there you can easily see, that ArM5 Magic beings - especially humans transformed into Magic beings - are just not covered. Tmk Ars Magica is usually careful not to treat the spiny issue of their souls, even in TMRE p.70ff The Living Ghost. It makes an exception in HP p.106 A Personal Living Corpse: "When a person dies, his soul and spirit depart the body, rushing off to whatever destination awaits them. While manipulations of the soul are beyond Hermetic magic, containing the spirit is not.The plan is for the necromancer to kill himself and trap his departing spirit so that it cannot escape."

Faeries don't have any souls in Ars Magica (RoP:F p.10ff), can hence not receive the sacrament of marriage (see Summa Theologiae on matrimony) - and this continues down to the Undine of de la Motte Fouqué.

1 Like

There is one quite trivial issue that I perhaps should address, though it goes beyond "theological issues of doctrine". Every 13th century scholar knows and the Summa Theologiae explicitly acknowledges, that marriage is not just a theological concept, but found among humans everywhere.

In particular Supplement, Question 41.1 of the Summa Theologiae acknowledges Aristotle's Ethica in this: " For just as natural reason dictates that men should live together, since one is not self-sufficient in all things concerning life, for which reason man is described as being naturally inclined to political society, so too among those works that are necessary for human life some are becoming to men, others to women. Wherefore nature inculcates that society of man and woman which consists in matrimony."

In this larger sense, also marriages between human and Faerie or Magic beings are certainly possible.


Surely that's Waldensianism? You're equating marriage and sacramental marriage?


:sweat_smile: :sweat_smile: :sweat_smile:

1 Like

... and here we see the problem of asking about Doctrine. It becomes a game of Credo.

1 Like

Far more importantly, Aquinas doesn't! He just accepts the obvious: that people who are not Roman Catholics marry too, without any sacrament and without the pertinent theological implications! Just as the people of Aristotle's times and Christian people of old times did.
And if marriages are contracted in this free-style way, marriage between human and Faerie may well happen and have happened in Mythic Europe.

I'm just saying the Pope would literally burn you for saying this.

Also the Decretium Gratian makes it clear marriages to non Catholics are now sinful. Aquinas isn't perfect.

The author of the supplement to the Summa Theologiae does not say, that it is not. He just states that it was and is done - and quotes the reason of Aristotle for it! No pope would deny that.

Oh, yes, but only in the "forbidden things become licit through the sacrament" sense. You'd need to do penance for it.

I mean, we are ignoring the elephant in the room here: which is the unnatural union rule. Can you have sex with a dragon without fornication, given the church won't stretch to homosexuality?

1 Like

If you acknowledge that marriage - as an Aristotelian law of nature - was contracted even before Christ, and further acknowledge that among early Christians was not yet a sacrament, you do not even talk about a sacrament to legitimize forbidden fruit.
Perhaps you better read the rest of the text about marriage too.

It is an important new aspect of the theology of Aquinas, that he builds it on Aristotelian philosophy and only from there introduces Christian revelation, the church fathers and more modern theologians.