Catholic Polygamy

The following is a question calling for a “yes” or “no” answer, to which you may then append your reasoning.

In light of the following quotation (next paragraph), should members of the Holy Apostolic Roman Catholic Church feel conciliatory and understanding – even forgiving – toward current members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in light of the fact that for about 40 years, from about the early 1850s to the 1890s, some former members of the LDS church practiced polygamy? Here’s the quotation:

“On February 14, 1650, the parliament at Nürnberg decreed that, because so many men were killed during the Thirty Years’ War, the churches for the following ten years could not admit any man under the age of 60 into a monastery. Priests and ministers not bound by any monastery were allowed to marry. Lastly, the decree stated that every man was allowed to marry up to ten women. The men were admonished to behave honorably, provide for their wives properly, and prevent animosity among them.”

(Joseph Alfred X. Michiels, Secret History of the Austrian Government and of its Systematic Persecutions of Protestants (London: Chapman and Hall, 1859) p. 85 (copy at Google Books), the author stating that he is quoting from a copy of the legislation; see also William Walker Rockwell, Die Doppelehe des Landgrafen Philipp von Hessen (Marburg, 1904), p. 280, n. 2 (copy at Google Books), which reports the number of wives allowed was two; and see Heinrich Christoph Büttner, Johann Heinrich Keerl, und Johann Bernhard Fischer. Fränkisches Archiv, herausgegeben. I Band. 1790. (at p. 155) (setting forth a 1790 printing of the legislation).)

Strawman Argument
The “the parliament at Nürnberg” has nothing to say about Catholic Church teachings.

The answer is “no” since the decision, if all this really happened, would no more represent a policy of the Catholic Church than the HHS Mandate does. Far from being a decision of the Catholic Church, it is a decision by a temporal government attempting to force the Catholic Church into something which violates its beliefs.

That’s not to say we shouldn’t rationally and charitably seek an authentic understanding of polygamy in LDS history, rather than adhering to prejudiced oversimplifications of that history.

What connection has the HHS to do with polygamy?

And what would that mean to contemporary Mormons since polygamy was renounced about a century ago? Is the Mormon church planning to bring back polygamy?

Just blame Bush:p

Didn’t Luther say he could find nothing in Holy Scripture that forbid a man from having more than one wife?

I am not sure what or how this parliament of Nurnberg is but is it not the Catholic Church nor one of it’s counsels and it was run by Lutherans not Catholics obviously. This is an attempt to say that the Catholic Church supported polygamy which is false. Luther took the authority of marriage away from the Church and gave it to the government. This is a straw man and false.

In Der Beichtrat (“The Confessional Advice” ) (Letter to Philip of Hesse, December 10, 1539, Martin Luther granted the Landgrave Philip of Hesse a dispensation to take a second wife.

Some fifteen years earlier, in a letter to the Saxon Chancellor Gregor Brück, Luther stated that he could not “forbid a person to marry several wives, for it does not contradict Scripture.” (“Ego sane fateor, me non posse prohibere, si quis plures velit uxores ducere, nec repugnat sacris literis.”) (Letter to the Chancellor Gregor Brück, January 13, 1524.)

What is this meant to prove?

Of course the HHS mandate has nothing to do with polygamy. I used it as another example of government trying to force the Church into doing things which violate its principles, to bring home the point that such an action by a government in no way constitutes a Church policy.

Regarding contemporary Mormons, it’s my understanding that they do not believe polygamy to be inherently wrong, but refrain from engaging in it simply out of respect for civil law, which forbids it in the United States. It’s also my understanding that they believe there is polygamy in heaven. I’m open to correction if either of these impressions are in error.

From a Catholic perspective, this merely makes Luther even worse than he already did.

They certainly weren’t Catholic marriages.

Are you trying to tie this to the Mormon idea that Mormon men “had” to marry more women because there was a shortage of men? If so, the census’ from Utah in the Mormon polygamy time period shows this idea to be false.

Was there a government that required Joseph Smith to engage in polygamy?

What does “strawman argument” mean?

“A straw man, known in the UK as an Aunt Sally, is a type of argument and is an informal fallacy based on misrepresentation of an opponent’s position.[1] To “attack a straw man” is to create the illusion of having refuted a proposition by replacing it with a superficially similar yet unequivalent proposition (the “straw man”), and refuting it, without ever having actually refuted the original position.”

To “attack a straw man” is to create the illusion of having refuted a proposition by replacing it with a superficially similar yet unequivalent proposition (the “straw man”), and refuting it, without ever having actually refuted the original position.
I’m not sure of the OP’s “strawman.” It seems to be either Joseph Smith is the same as the Nüremberg government –or- the Thirty Year War is the same as pre-civil war Missouri.

Not all believe this really did happen:

^ Leonhard Theobald, “Der angebliche Bigamiebeschluß des fränkischen Kreistages” “The So-called Bigamy Decision of the Franconian Kreistag”], Beitrage zur Bayerischen kirchengeschichte [Contributions to Bavarian Church History] 23 (1916 – bound volume dated 1917) Erlangen: 199–200 (Theobald reporting that the Franconian Kreistag did not hold session between 1645 and 1664, and that there is no record of such a law in the extant archives of Nürnberg, Ansbach, or Bamberg, Theobald believing that the editors of the Fränkisches Archiv must have misunderstood a draft of some other legislation from 1650).

^ Alfred Altmann, “Verein für Geschichte der Stadt Nürnburg,” Jahresbericht über das 43 Vereinsjahr 1920 [Annual Report for the 43rd Year 1920 of the Historical Society of the City of Nuremberg] (Nürnberg 1920): 13–15 (Altmann reporting a lecture he had given discussing the polygamy permission said to have been granted in Nuremberg in 1650, Altmann characterizing the Fränkisches Archiv as “merely a popular journal, not an edition of state documents,” and describing the tradition as "a literary fantasy").

Okay, so if I’m wrong let me know. But wouldn’t the following passage in the bible actually confirm that man should only have one wife?


It says “they two” not “they two or **three ** or four or so on.”

Now I’m not as learned as old Martin Luther but this just seams like confirmation against polygamy.

1 Timothy 3:2 says the same.

Therefore, a bishop must be irreproachable, married only once, temperate, self-controlled, decent, hospitable, able to teach,

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