From the later sixteenth to the early nineteenth centuries, these Catholic and Protestant models lay at the heart of Western marriage and family life, lore, and law. The medieval Catholic model, confirmed and elaborated by the Council of Trent in 1563, flourished in southern Europe, Spain, Portugal, and France, and their many colonies in Latin and Central America, in the U.S. south and southwest, in Quebec and the Canadian Maritimes, and, eventually, in parts of East and West Africa. A Protestant social model rooted in the Lutheran two-kingdoms theory dominated portions of Germany, Austria, Switzerland, and Scandinavia together with their North American and, later, African colonies. A Protestant social model rooted in Calvinist covenant theology came to strong expression in Geneva, and in portions of Huguenot France, the Pietist Netherlands, Presbyterian Scotland, Puritan New England, and South Africa. A Protestant social model that treated marriage as a little commonwealth at the core of broader ecclesiastical and political commonwealths prevailed in Anglican England and its many colonies in North America and eventually in Africa and the Indian subcontinent as well.
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JOHN WITTE JR.