Confessions, IX

Characterize the final conversation between Augustine and Monica

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Monica's views on the total subjugation of wives were not only completely in sync with the writings of St. Paul, but were also characteristic of the period. Marriage in those days was completely under the control of the husband, and there were no laws to protect her from physical violence at her husband's hands. Her policy of mildness and peace may have stemmed partially from her faith, but was also the product of a mind that was wise enough to choose the path most likely to facilitate her survival. Patrick, we are told, was a violent man, and early in their marriage she might have discovered that the only way to placate him was to submit to his wishes. She never criticized Patrick about his unfaithfulness, a fact for which Augustine praises her. This sort of double standard regarding sexual matters was common at the time.