they had little hope of eradicating, such as lustful thoughts or fornication. In his opinion, explaining the sinfulness of acts that people would not give up simply transformed unwitting sins into mortal ones. In some respects, Liguori extended to men, or at least to common men, Rousseau's ideas about women. Both men and women are better left in a more 'natural' state, without being corrupted by too much knowledge. Such ideas were shared by many Catholic government officials, and the number of schools for children of both sexes was significantly smaller in Catholic areas than in Protestant.

In practice rather than in theory, there was more variety in patterns of marriage and sexuality in Catholic Europe than the officials at the Council of Trent hoped would be the case. Tridentine regulations and other measures of social discipline were much easier to enforce in cities and towns than in more isolated rural areas, and depended on the cooperation of secular authorities, which was not always forthcoming. In France, for example, the royal council refused to acknowledge the decisions of Trent, so royal and local church legislation became the basis of matrimonial law. Enforcement of clerical celibacy and the end of clerical concubinage were slow in coming, as were effective prohibitions of sexual relations before marriage among the laity, especially in rural areas. Prostitution was often licensed in Catholic areas rather than being prohibited as it was in Protestant areas, though reforming bishops occasionally tried to close all brothels, opening special houses, termed Magdalene houses, for repentant prostitutes and other 'fallen women'. Sodomy fell under the jurisdiction of the various Inquisitions in some parts of Catholic Europe, under episcopal courts in others, and under secular courts in still others, and regional differences emerged in both arrests and punishments. In general the severity of punishment for sodomy gradually declined, with the last execution for sodomy in Aragon in 1633 and in Castile and the rest of Catholic Europe about a century later. By the early eighteenth century in Paris, police began to track 'sodomites' using spies and informers, with punishments couched in the religious language of repentance even though the cases were handled by secular courts.

Christians outside of Europe

European colonization took Christianity around the world, and in areas colonized by the Spanish, Portuguese, and French, convents for women were generally established relatively shortly after the initial conquest - during the 1520s in the Caribbean, 1540s in Mexico, and 1550s in South America. In 1637, the same year that Jesuit missionaries in Canada established the first community

Was this article helpful?

0 0

Post a comment