In the austere times of the Counter-Reformation, the French jurist Bermond Choveron tackled the specific topic of “recidivatio clerici concubinarii” in his treatise on public concubinage, wherein he summarized the seven inherent pericula that clerics would face should they ‘relapse’ into this grave sin. His reference to the
concept of misericordia is a chance to analyze, albeit briefly, some aspects of the canonical doctrine that developed around this issue over the centuries, with a specific focus on divine mercy and forgiveness. Indeed, according to this 16th-century treatise, a ‘recidivist’ concubinary cleric who had already been admonished several times before deserved neither mercy nor forgiveness.


Keywords: cleric; concubinage; mercy; recidivatio; Council of Trent.