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Table of contents
PREFACE
THE MOTHER AND HER CHILD-1.1
THE MOTHER AND HER CHILD-1.2
THE MOTHER AND HER CHILD-1.3
THE MOTHER AND HER CHILD-1.4
THE MOTHER AND HER CHILD-1.5
SEXUAL EDUCATION-2.1
SEXUAL EDUCATION-2.2
SEXUAL EDUCATION-2.3
SEXUAL EDUCATION-2.4
SEXUAL EDUCATION-2.5
SEXUAL EDUCATION-2.6
SEXUAL EDUCATION-2.7
SEXUAL EDUCATION-2.8
SEXUAL EDUCATION-2.9
SEXUAL EDUCATION-2.10
SEXUAL EDUCATION-2.11
SEXUAL EDUCATION AND NAKEDNESS-3.1
SEXUAL EDUCATION AND NAKEDNESS-3.2
SEXUAL EDUCATION AND NAKEDNESS-3.3
SEXUAL EDUCATION AND NAKEDNESS-3.4
THE VALUATION OF SEXUAL LOVE-4.1
THE VALUATION OF SEXUAL LOVE-4.2
THE VALUATION OF SEXUAL LOVE-4.3
THE VALUATION OF SEXUAL LOVE-4.4
THE FUNCTION OF CHASTITY-5.1
THE FUNCTION OF CHASTITY-5.2
THE FUNCTION OF CHASTITY-5.3
THE FUNCTION OF CHASTITY-5.4
THE FUNCTION OF CHASTITY-5.5
THE FUNCTION OF CHASTITY-5.6
THE PROBLEM OF SEXUAL ABSTINENCE-6.1
THE PROBLEM OF SEXUAL ABSTINENCE-6.2
THE PROBLEM OF SEXUAL ABSTINENCE-6.3
THE PROBLEM OF SEXUAL ABSTINENCE-6.4
THE PROBLEM OF SEXUAL ABSTINENCE-6.5
THE PROBLEM OF SEXUAL ABSTINENCE-6.6
PROSTITUTION-7.1
PROSTITUTION-7.2
PROSTITUTION-7.3
PROSTITUTION-7.4
PROSTITUTION-7.5
PROSTITUTION-7.6
PROSTITUTION-7.7
PROSTITUTION-7.8
PROSTITUTION-7.9
PROSTITUTION-7.10
PROSTITUTION-7.11
PROSTITUTION-7.12
PROSTITUTION-7.13
PROSTITUTION-7.14
PROSTITUTION-7.15
FOOTNOTES-1
FOOTNOTES-2

 

 

There were at least two causes which tended to extinguish the primitive 

Christian attraction to chastity, even apart from the influence of the 

Church authorities in repressing its romantic manifestations. In the first 

place, the submergence of the old pagan world, with its practice and, to 

some extent, ideal of sexual indulgence, removed the foil which had given 

grace and delicacy to the tender freedom of the young Christians. In the 

second place, the austerities which the early Christians had gladly 

practised for the sake of their soul's health, were robbed of their charm 

and spontaneity by being made a formal part of codes of punishment for 

sin, first in the Penitentials and afterwards at the discretion of 

confessors. This, it may be added, was rendered the more necessary because 

the ideal of Christian chastity was no longer largely the possession of 

refined people who had been rendered immune to Pagan license by being 

brought up in its midst, and even themselves steeped in it. It was clearly 

from the first a serious matter for the violent North Africans to maintain 

the ideal of chastity, and when Christianity spread to Northern Europe it 

seemed almost a hopeless task to acclimatize its ideals among the wild 

Germans. Hereafter it became necessary for celibacy to be imposed on the 

regular clergy by the stern force of ecclesiastical authority, while 

voluntary celibacy was only kept alive by a succession of religious 

enthusiasts perpetually founding new Orders. An asceticism thus enforced 

could not always be accompanied by the ardent exaltation necessary to 

maintain it, and in its artificial efforts at self-preservation it 

frequently fell from its insecure heights to the depths of unrestrained 

license.[77] This fatality of all hazardous efforts to overpass humanity's 

normal limits begun to be realized after the Middle Ages were over by 

clear-sighted thinkers. "Qui veut faire l'ange," said Pascal, pungently 

summing up this view of the matter, "fait la bete." That had often been 

illustrated in the history of the Church. 

 

The Penitentials began to come into use in the seventh century, 

and became of wide prevalence and authority during the ninth and 

tenth centuries. They were bodies of law, partly spiritual and 

partly secular, and were thrown into the form of catalogues of 

offences with the exact measure of penance prescribed for each 

offence. They represented the introduction of social order among 

untamed barbarians, and were codes of criminal law much more than 

part of a system of sacramental confession and penance. In France 

and Spain, where order on a Christian basis already existed, they 

were little needed. They had their origin in Ireland and England, 

and especially flourished in Germany; Charlemagne supported them 

(see, e.g., Lea, _History of Auricular Confession_, vol. ii, p. 

96, also Ch. XVII; Hugh Williams, edition of Gildas, Part II, 

Appendix 3; the chief Penitentials are reproduced in 

Wasserschleben's _Bussordnungen_). 

 

In 1216 the Lateran Council, under Innocent III, made confession 

obligatory. The priestly prerogative of regulating the amount of 

penance according to circumstances, with greater flexibility than 

the rigid Penitentials admitted, was first absolutely asserted by 

Peter of Poitiers. Then Alain de Lille threw aside the 

Penitentials as obsolete, and declared that the priest himself 

must inquire into the circumstances of each sin and weigh 

precisely its guilt (Lea, op. cit., vol. ii, p. 171). 

 

Long before this period, however, the ideals of chastity, so far 

as they involved any considerable degree of continence, although 


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