Today With Zwingli: The Zurich Marriage Ordinance of 1525

zwingliAnother important piece of internal regulation, viz., relative to marriage and divorce, inspired and formulated by Zwingli, was passed by the Councils on May 10, 1525.

Briefly, marriages were usually to be public, in churches, and with the consent of parents or guardians. Even though the discovery should soon be made that the parties were unfitted for living together, still they are to live together for a year, and then they may be divorced.

Divorces may be granted for other causes. Adultery is a crime to be severely punished by the authorities. So also seduction and like offences when marriage cannot be arranged. Those who commit adultery hoping thereby to secure a divorce and so be free to contract another marriage, or to live unchastely, were to be excommunicated and for ever banished. By thus claiming for Zurich the adjudication of the matrimonial cases the break with the past was still further emphasised, as formerly all such cases came to the episcopal court in Constance.  (S.M. Jackson)