Apr 18 2011

The Council of Elvira 306AD and the Catholic Church’s Proccupation With Sexual Abuse and Sexual Misconduct: Recovered Memory Series III

I know it may be hard to believe the Catholic church leaders were already preoccupied with sex in the early 4th Century, but they were.

Keep in mind, 306AD was 1,706 years ago. So, for over 1,700 years, the Catholic church and their decision makers have been aware, concerned, and trying to manage the damage caused by the sexual violations of their bishops and clerics.

What kind of sex?

Here is a summary of the types of sexual behaviors the Council of Elvira addressed and tried to control:

  • Sexual abuse of children, adolescents and adults by bishops, priests, and other clergy

  • Priests who are sexually immoral.
  • Women who have sex before marriage
  • Catholic girls may not marry pagans, heretics, or Jews
  • Parents of girls who marry pagan priests
  • Bishops and clerics may only have a sister or daughter who is a virgin consecrated to god living with them
  • Bishops and other clerics must abstain from sexual intercourse with their wives and from the procreation of children
  • Women are not permitted in cemetaries at night, lest they be involved in some wickedness
  • Clerics may not continue to live with a wife who has committed adultery
  • Women who conceive and then abort a pregnancy may not be forgiven
  • Men may not marry their step-daughters, as this is incest
  • Women may not associate with hairdressers or men with long hair
  • “Those” who sexually abuse boys may not commune
  • Anyone making false accusations against bishops or clerics may not commune
  • Women may not write or receive letters from other christians without her husband’s consent, not receive letters addressed only to herself and not also her husband.

The sexism, anti-semitism, and concerns about sexual abuse by bishops and other clerics is quite clear.

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