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Tuesday, December 1, 2020

Sadomasochism In The Ancient Church Of Rome

     The submission to discipline as a punishment for various misdemeanors in monasteries and convents, and by members of the Church as an atonement, led, not unnaturally, to priests prescribing flagellation as a penance for those confessing their sins. The penitents were told to strip, and to allow themselves to be beaten. Rarely did anyone, rich or poor, refuse the priest's command.

     The practice was no means restricted to male penitents. Females similarly were ordered to strip themselves and prepare for the discipline.

     As was to be expected, the flogging of female penitents, especially if they were young  and not without charm, led to abuses. The priests were eager and ready to prescribe whipping for the remission of all sins and of every sin, and they were even more eager and even more willing to wield the rod themselves upon the naked bodies of the penitents. So much so was this the case, and so keen were priests of the confessional to use the whip, that again and again was it found necessary for the Church to issue regulations designed to curb these appetites and to provide some sort of safeguard. As early in the history of the Church as the time of Pope Adrian I [Pope 772-795 AD], bishops, priests and deacons were actually forbidden to beat their penitents.

George Ryley Scott, The History of Corporal Punishment, 1968

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