The objective of the chapter is to illustrate Moral Casuistry’s stance on desire between the 15th and 17th centuries. The clergy were expected to hinge on Moral Casuistry to scrutinize consciences and properly administer the sacrament of penance. For centuries, confessors from all Catholic Europe who were counted on to solve conflicting situations in the lives of penitents could trust in an extremely detailed body of treaties. The sections that such treaties dedicate to wedlock or the 6th commandment is where issues pertaining to body management in all stages of life are addressed at length (unmarried laics, betrothed couples and married ones alike are dealt with). Indeed, it is in such passages that moral theology erects an articulate casuistry over the flesh, drawing on a composite system of knowledge in which Patristics, the Canonist and Scholastic tradition, medical treaties and manuals for confessors each find place. As for the representation of desire, I will illustrate how concupiscentia dominates the productions of Catholic moralists. The prevailing idea is that people are subject to chaotic and indistinct urges, which destabilise and withhold them from their “natural” tension towards the divine. Christian matrimony is called upon to contain such urges, by assigning to each a legitimate fulfilment. Furthermore, I will highlight how the notion that individuals may be driven by desire for a specific person was little considered, and how such a notion was indeed neglected for a long time in regards to the relationship between husband and wife. I will illustrate the detailed casuistry’s classifications of pleasure, which may be regarded as a “geography of sensations.” Such sensations are described as surfacing on all parts of the body, and are thereby depicted as being more or less intense and grave. Lastly, I will show casuistry’s description of the desiring subject. The latter is viewed as pressed by the urgency of concupiscentia, torn by a confusing multiplicity of pleasures, and ultimately unable to desire another individual. Such subjects are deprived of their desire, and confined in a place where relationships between human beings are seen as either threatened by a painful pulsional anarchy or governed by the regularity of Christian marriage. Thus, desiring tension is considered to be legitimately directed solely toward the Ultramundane.

Urge without Desire? Confessional Books, Moral Casuistry and the Features of Concupiscentia (15th-17 th Centuries)

Alfieri, Fernanda
2011

Abstract

The objective of the chapter is to illustrate Moral Casuistry’s stance on desire between the 15th and 17th centuries. The clergy were expected to hinge on Moral Casuistry to scrutinize consciences and properly administer the sacrament of penance. For centuries, confessors from all Catholic Europe who were counted on to solve conflicting situations in the lives of penitents could trust in an extremely detailed body of treaties. The sections that such treaties dedicate to wedlock or the 6th commandment is where issues pertaining to body management in all stages of life are addressed at length (unmarried laics, betrothed couples and married ones alike are dealt with). Indeed, it is in such passages that moral theology erects an articulate casuistry over the flesh, drawing on a composite system of knowledge in which Patristics, the Canonist and Scholastic tradition, medical treaties and manuals for confessors each find place. As for the representation of desire, I will illustrate how concupiscentia dominates the productions of Catholic moralists. The prevailing idea is that people are subject to chaotic and indistinct urges, which destabilise and withhold them from their “natural” tension towards the divine. Christian matrimony is called upon to contain such urges, by assigning to each a legitimate fulfilment. Furthermore, I will highlight how the notion that individuals may be driven by desire for a specific person was little considered, and how such a notion was indeed neglected for a long time in regards to the relationship between husband and wife. I will illustrate the detailed casuistry’s classifications of pleasure, which may be regarded as a “geography of sensations.” Such sensations are described as surfacing on all parts of the body, and are thereby depicted as being more or less intense and grave. Lastly, I will show casuistry’s description of the desiring subject. The latter is viewed as pressed by the urgency of concupiscentia, torn by a confusing multiplicity of pleasures, and ultimately unable to desire another individual. Such subjects are deprived of their desire, and confined in a place where relationships between human beings are seen as either threatened by a painful pulsional anarchy or governed by the regularity of Christian marriage. Thus, desiring tension is considered to be legitimately directed solely toward the Ultramundane.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11582/28637
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