This chapter sets out the importance of clerical marriage for a study of married life. Two vignettes introduce the lives of married clergy in Parma (northern Italy) and Paris. Lay and clergy chose marriage as a union within which sexual relations were sanctioned, albeit only for the creation of offspring. Given the vocal opposition of a substantial number of clergy against chaste marriages we must conclude that for these clergy and their wives the sexual aspect of marriage was a compelling one and to be preferred to chaste marriage or celibacy. The married clergy were not afraid to physically defend their right to continue their marriages as sexual unions. A strong incentive may have had its roots in the emotional attachment and love a married priest’s couple may have felt for each other.
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