Volume 19, Issue 2, 2022
Sven K. Knebel
Puella est domina sui corporis
Schoolmen's Care for Women’s Rights
Who owns the girl’s body, the parents, or the daughter herself? In Catholic casuistry, this issue has not only been occasionally touched upon, it has been topical among the commentators on Aquinas (STh II-II, q. 154, a. 6) from the 16th up to the 18th centuries. Nevertheless, modern scholarship ignores this big dispute. The distortion of early modern history in consequence thereof precludes a fair appraisal of the achievements of the Christian schools within the Habsburgian commonwealth. Whereas the Iberian Peninsula was the theatre of the endeavour here described (Domingo de Soto OP, Luis de Molina SJ, Gabriel Vázquez SJ, Juan de Lugo SJ, the Salmantine Carmelites), Jansenist France was forward in defeating it. The quarrel about this issue gains an additional interest by the observation that it represents the rare case where the schoolmen themselves had the keen feeling that the stand they took represented a divide between two ages, medieval and modern, viz. Pre-Tridentine and Post-Tridentine. The main purpose of the present paper, then, is to render a necessary piece of apologetics. Its focus is on the deplorable situation in which we presently are due to the rotten feminist convictions about how things went.