Medieval attitudes towards homosexuality

aggienation

Ad Honorem
Jul 2016
9,813
USA
You sure about that? Where?

Roman portrayals of homosexual activity and commentary such as the canard that Caesar was the "bride" to his whole legion are proof that homosexuality occurred, and that, while giving it to another guy was considered pretty common- that for an adult male to take it
from a guy was considered unmanly prove that Homosexuality, though condemned, actually occurred often enough to make jokes about it and use it to denigrate others.
This is not a source, this is an opinionated rant.

Roman Catholic abuse of altar boys dates back to the time of Rome.
This is not a source, this is an opinionated rant.

And both Michelangelo and Leonardo are confidently believed to have had sexual relations with the male artists they apprenticed under based upon their writings and those of their contemporaries.
This is not a source, this is an opinionated rant.

I
do not have every book that I have read over the past 53 years to hand- (most of the several thousand books I have read I donated to others or to libraries over the years ) nor the time to look up every single instance of information and opinion they mention that lead to my current understanding. Suffice it to say that such references are in the thousands thru hundreds of academic examinations of past cultures.
This is not a source, this is an opinionated rant.

And, again- first sources are likely to be in the form of rumor or denigration... because no culture in history wanted to openly admit that homosexuality occurred routinely.
And yet we know of NO culture in which it did not occur.

The intelligent inference is as I state it.
This is not a source, this is an opinionated rant.
 

sculptingman

Ad Honorem
Oct 2009
3,673
San Diego
He made up ever bit of it.

"The catholic church pretty much included sex with altar boys as a holdover from traditional relations between masters and slaves in the Roman era. In the church they rationalized this as the Sin of Onan having been spilling his seed on the ground- and so priests could not masturbate- they had to deposit their seed in another person and yet were forbidden to have "sex" with women. Boys filled the bill and often ended up being priests as they had been imprinted in puberty with homosexual experiences and so continued the cycle. "

This quote is laughable.

First, he skips out on the fact that most Christians of the medieval era were not of any sort of actual Roman cultural tradition. They were of peoples and traditions that the Romans considered barbarians, who were later civilized by the Church.

Next, throughout the medieval period and renaissance the clergy didn't even attempt to hide the fact that they were having sex with women. Many of them had wives and children, including some Bishops, Cardinals, and even Popes. Their philandering with women, and whores, was often notorious!

"The tenth century is claimed to be the high point of clerical marriage in the Latin communion. Most rural priests were married and many urban clergy and bishops had wives and children." Lea, Henry C. History of Sacerdotal Celibacy in the Christian Church. Philadelphia: University Books. 1966, pp. 118, 126 (I got this from Wiki, but that was out of laziness. This subject is so written on it'll take five minutes for anyone to Google this and find a long list of sources to prove it true on their own).

And the use of acolytes (altar boys) in services was not remotely akin to having a slave, an altar boy shows up for a few hours a day, a few times a week to help out, specifically for Mass, they are not full time servants and the fact that Sculptingman doesn't know that and yet feels to write a thousand word rant on this subject is kind of disturbing. Those altar boys have parents who are not okay with their kids being used for sex (based on local customs), not now, not ever, which is why upon finding out that is has become rampant, parents are freaking out now. Unfortunately the same power structure existing today existed then, that if they corrupted a youth (be it a boy or girl), them getting caught and punished came down entirely to influence. If the victim wasn't of a powerful family, regardless of what the crime was and who did it, justice was often out of their grasp.

Also, clergy in the Medieval era largely did not choose their profession because they liked it, like most other professions it was chosen by their fathers, in the case of clergy they were going to be a priest or monk where they wanted to or not. IE, Altar boys weren't being groomed or recruited to be clergy, they did it because it is what God fearing "good" boys did to help please God and get into Heaven, and it made their family look pious too. The medieval system of pushing sons into the clergy allowed a second or third son to take up a profession that would be of importance, empower the family but would not require an inheritance of land, splitting of family property, etc. Besides that, being clergy were popular at the time, they held lots of local political power, and having a member of the clergy in the family brought brought prestige and possibly greater influence with higher offices of the Church and higher orders of nobility/royalty. It was not seen like it is now in western countries, as an almost oddity because almost nobody is religious anymore.

Sculptingman is taking modern headlines and laughably trying to play them out as millennia old problems.
It is laughable that you pretend to imagine that Modern headlines do not reflect human behavior that has ALWAYS existed.

Um- The vatican has OODLES of documents dating back as far as rome of sexual impropriety by priests. That very few people are ever allowed to see them is evidence of how shameful and vast that history has been.

It is true that there were periods when the church leadership had relations with women- although thru MOST of church history- such things WERE hidden and exposure resulted in de-frocking. But this was largely among men who were not actual clerics- but had been appointed to such positions from a non-clerical former life- Like Thomas Becket- Or Popes who were simply powerful men who went after the papacy thru murder and bribery.
MOST sexual abuse of boys happened at the level of the Parish- in small communities where illicit affairs were harder to hide but access to young boys was unpoliced.
Monks and second or third sons who went into the priesthood because of tradition and started out as altar boys and went directly into the rectory from there.
In this all male environment- abuse occurred routinely- just as history shows it occurs in ALL environments that are all male.

That the modern world has decided to stop HIDING what is done in the shadows does not exonerate the past of its obfuscations.

I never said altar boys were slaves- I said that sexual abuse of slaves existed in Rome as a routine thing ( both males and females ) and that as the Church originated in Rome- these practices were culturally established already and led to the abuse of boys who "served" the priests.
You have to be some kind of apologist to think that it takes longer than a few minutes to sexually abuse an altar boy- that altar boys were not actually owned makes little difference- In England and other european cultures of the medieval era- for example- second or third sons did not inherit property. And the cultural norm of those sons being pressed into the clergy was a way of ensuring they had some means of support and security.
What happened to them in the seminary was not all piety.
I translated one vatican document detailing how a team of 'exorcists' were sent to a remote monastery to "deal" with the fact that locals were complaining about rampant debauchery among the monks.

If you want to believe in a sanitized history of propaganda painting them as noble and pure- that's fine with me.
Its a delusion. But most folks seem to need a few delusions to deny reality.

I know what the priest told my brother- that his was a centuries old tradition that the laity was not privy to- I know other priests in our parish knew what he was doing and thought nothing of it.
I know that the Church has been found to have a LONG history of not only concealing this kind of abuse- but also of dealing with instances of complaint by re-locating the priest to another parish where he had every opportunity to do the exact same thing.

This is a culture of acceptance of such conduct- and its no "modern" thing-

People are the same today as they have ever been.
 
Last edited:

Naomasa298

Forum Staff
Apr 2010
35,493
T'Republic of Yorkshire
And, again- first sources are likely to be in the form of rumor or denigration... because no culture in history wanted to openly admit that homosexuality occurred routinely.
And here is the problem.

So as to sources- how do you prove something that was never socially acceptable to acknowledge publicly or in historical documentation?
If you don't have sources, you don't just make it up, which is essentially what you're doing.

The intelligent inference is as I state it.
No. This is YOUR inference.

You state those inferences as fact, which they are clearly not.

For example:
"The catholic church pretty much included sex with altar boys as a holdover from traditional relations between masters and slaves in the Roman era. In the church they rationalized this as the Sin of Onan having been spilling his seed on the ground- and so priests could not masturbate- they had to deposit their seed in another person and yet were forbidden to have "sex" with women. Boys filled the bill and often ended up being priests as they had been imprinted in puberty with homosexual experiences and so continued the cycle. "

Back this up with evidence.
 

Kirialax

Ad Honorem
Dec 2009
4,904
Blachernai
Um- The vatican has OODLES of documents dating back as far as rome of sexual impropriety by priests. That very few people are ever allowed to see them is evidence of how shameful and vast that history has been.
And what evidence do you have to support the existence of these documents?
 

sculptingman

Ad Honorem
Oct 2009
3,673
San Diego
PS- suggesting that priests were NOT abusing boys because some priests had sex with women is a spurious argument.
You might as well argue that men in the medieval world never cheated on their wives because they were MARRIED, duh!

Most homosexual activity in the world thru history is not necessarily among what we would call homosexuals.
Most of the time men buggered boys because boys look like girls- smaller in frame- less body hair- in that sense the men were not homosexual in orientation- they were simply opportunistic in having sex.

And just because some pope or cardinal had a chippie on the side- or even a wife is not evidence he had never abused an altar boy, nor evidence he was not abused as a boy.

I never said EVERYBODY did it-
other than eating, sleeping, pooping and dying, there are very few things EVERYONE does in any society.

the question was how acceptable was it? Was it ever celebrated?

It was never seen as socially acceptable- but happened enough that people sniggered over it and some would get incensed if it were overt.

You have yet to cite a single piece of argument or evidence that I am wrong.
If you think modern stories of abuse describe things that never occurred in the past- make an argument on how that could possibly be true- given Margret Meade's observation that what any people SAY about themselves, as a people, is not what they actually do?
 

aggienation

Ad Honorem
Jul 2016
9,813
USA
It is laughable that you pretend to imagine that Modern headlines do not reflect human behavior that has ALWAYS existed.

Um- The vatican has OODLES of documents dating back as far as rome of sexual impropriety by priests. That very few people are ever allowed to see them is evidence of how shameful and vast that history has been.

It is true that there were periods when the church leadership had relations with women- although thru MOST of church history- such things WERE hidden and exposure resulted in de-frocking. But this was largely among men who were not actual clerics- but had been appointed to such positions from a non-clerical former life- Like Thomas Becket- Or Popes who were simply powerful men who went after the papacy thru murder and bribery.
MOST sexual abuse of boys happened at the level of the Parish- in small communities where illicit affairs were harder to hide but access to young boys was unpoliced.
Monks and second or third sons who went into the priesthood because of tradition and started out as altar boys and went directly into the rectory from there.
In this all male environment- abuse occurred routinely- just as history shows it occurs in ALL environments that are all male.

That the modern world has decided to stop HIDING what is done in the shadows does not exonerate the past of its obfuscations.

I never said altar boys were slaves- I said that sexual abuse of slaves existed in Rome as a routine thing ( both males and females ) and that as the Church originated in Rome- these practices were culturally established already and led to the abuse of boys who "served" the priests.
You have to be some kind of apologist to think that it takes longer than a few minutes to sexually abuse an altar boy- that altar boys were not actually owned makes little difference- In England and other european cultures of the medieval era- for example- second or third sons did not inherit property. And the cultural norm of those sons being pressed into the clergy was a way of ensuring they had some means of support and security.
What happened to them in the seminary was not all piety.
I translated one vatican document detailing how a team of 'exorcists' were sent to a remote monastery to "deal" with the fact that locals were complaining about rampant debauchery among the monks.

If you want to believe in a sanitized history of propaganda painting them as noble and pure- that's fine with me.
Its a delusion. But most folks seem to need a few delusions to deny reality.

I know what the priest told my brother- that his was a centuries old tradition that the laity was not privy to- I know other priests in our parish knew what he was doing and thought nothing of it.
I know that the Church has been found to have a LONG history of not only concealing this kind of abuse- but also of dealing with instances of complaint by re-locating the priest to another parish where he had every opportunity to do the exact same thing.

This is a culture of acceptance of such conduct- and its no "modern" thing-

People are the same today as they have ever been.
So another gigantic rant without a single source. How very historic of you.
 

aggienation

Ad Honorem
Jul 2016
9,813
USA
PS- suggesting that priests were NOT abusing boys because some priests had sex with women is a spurious argument.
You might as well argue that men in the medieval world never cheated on their wives because they were MARRIED, duh!

Most homosexual activity in the world thru history is not necessarily among what we would call homosexuals.
Most of the time men buggered boys because boys look like girls- smaller in frame- less body hair- in that sense the men were not homosexual in orientation- they were simply opportunistic in having sex.

And just because some pope or cardinal had a chippie on the side- or even a wife is not evidence he had never abused an altar boy, nor evidence he was not abused as a boy.

I never said EVERYBODY did it-
other than eating, sleeping, pooping and dying, there are very few things EVERYONE does in any society.

the question was how acceptable was it? Was it ever celebrated?

It was never seen as socially acceptable- but happened enough that people sniggered over it and some would get incensed if it were overt.

You have yet to cite a single piece of argument or evidence that I am wrong.
If you think modern stories of abuse describe things that never occurred in the past- make an argument on how that could possibly be true- given Margret Meade's observation that what any people SAY about themselves, as a people, is not what they actually do?
Wow, all them sources! Its going to take weeks to read them all!
 
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Theodoric

Ad Honorem
Mar 2012
2,984
Yötebory Sveriya
I think it’s important to note that medieval Europe had vastly different cultures. It wasn’t some unified thing.

Most of the evidence for homophobia is from the Late Middle Ages. In the High Middle Ages it seems that homosexuality between men was generally frowned upon, but lesbianism was not so much. Outright intolerance for homosexuality seems to be far heavier in the renaissance period.

Here’s a source (with other sources linked): Homosexuality in medieval Europe - Wikipedia
 

Naomasa298

Forum Staff
Apr 2010
35,493
T'Republic of Yorkshire
You have yet to cite a single piece of argument or evidence that I am wrong.
Oh no. You've been a member of this forum for long enough to know that's not how it works. YOU made the assertion, YOU support it.

You don't need to cite 57 years' worth of sources. Let's start with just 3, shall we?