Besides these things, Christ our King and his Church ask of Your Majesty that he also assume proper responsibility for the ordering of marriage. For one cannot say how very many good consciences are here entangled, afflicted, and endangered since there are no just laws, and no effective plan has been designed according to the Word of God for this very sacred relationship, the font of the human race. For since marriage is a res politico in order that men may rightly contract and enter marriage, observe it reverently, and not dissolve it unless compelled by extreme necessity, they must be oriented and influenced not only by the doctrine and discipline of the Church, but encouraged, helped, and compelled toward this by the laws and judgments of the state also. Pious emperors, acknowledging this and here accommodating themselves to the law of nations, made laws concerning the legitimate contracting and celebration of marriage and a proper respect for it, and also, where unhappy necessity should require it, for rescinding it. This can be seen in Justinian’s Code, from the beginning of the fifth book through the twenty-fourth title, as well as in the twenty-second Authentica of Justinian, and some other Places.
But in order to transfer the power of the emperors to themselves, the Roman Antichrists, first by fraudulent persuasion, afterward even by force, assumed all power of making judgments and decrees concerning matrimony just as they did in most other matters. Thus for some time kings and governments have not been entrusted with the concern and administration of this matter as an area within their competence. But, meanwhile, where the gospel of Christ is being received the laws of the Roman Antichrist are being repudiated as the religion of Christ requires. Once these laws and judgments have been rightfully repudiated, if kings and governors do not assume this responsibility so that both by the authority of laws and strictness of judgments they ensure that marriages be piously contracted and entered into, reverently preserved, and, if the case should demand it, be legitimately dissolved, it is plain to see what confusion and trouble will be brought upon this most sacred relationship and what great torture prepared for very many excellent consciences, while they have no sure laws to follow, and no precedents to cite if something intolerable should occur.
How important it is for the decency and well-being of the commonwealth that matrimony be contracted and reverenced according to the will of Christ and not dissolved without a just cause! Who would not understand this? For unless that first and most sacred union of man and woman is established in a holy way, so that household discipline flourishes among the spouses according to God’s precept, how can we expect a race of good men?
Let Your Majesty, therefore, acknowledge that this also is his duty, and certainly one of first importance, to assume to himself the proper concern for and the administration of marriage, and both by holy laws and by judgments to sanction and safeguard the religious quality of this first and divine institution among men. All wise lawgivers obviously did this in the past with singular zeal, and the founders of governments and pious emperors of Christian states acted in the same way.