Concubinage the sexual connection of two persons of different sexes who are not united by the bond of matrimony. Externally, marriage and concubinage were equal according to Roman law, as even for marriage nothing was required but the agreement of the contracting parties. But they were different with regard to the legal effect of the union. In a regular marriage the wife obtained the rank of the husband (dignitas mariti), and her children were legitimate and in the power of the father. None of these results took place in case of concubinage. The Church distinguished between temporary and life-long concubinage. The former was always forbidden; the latter, though not approved, was long tolerated. The Council of Toledo (A.D. 400), by its Canon 17, excommunicates a married man keeping a concubine, but permits unmarried men to do so; and allows either a wife or a concubine. In the Latin Church, it was not until the Council of Trent, which made the validity of a marriage dependent upon a declaration of consent before the parish priest and two witnesses, that life-long concubinage was declared to be criminal, and subjected to punishment. The punishment for ministerial concubinarii was withholding of income, suspension, imprisonment, and, ultimately, excommunication. The evangelical churches have never recognised concubinage. — Herzog, Real-Encyklop. 3, 105; Lea, Sacerdotal Celibacy, chap. 12 SEE CONCUBINE.

Bible concordance for CONCUBINAGE.

Definition of concubinate

See also the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia.

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