>The impotence test was also used by ecclesiastical courts on the
By chance, would you know of the approriate decretals/glosses for this
(or a secondary source to point the way)? I'd be interested for future
>Yes, I feel sorry for the poor sods that had to go through such a
>humiliating ordeal in order to get a divorce.
Yes, me too. However, I don't think that this was done publically before
the judge. If I have it right (In England, at least) it was done in a
room with appropriate witnesses and safeguards against bribery. This
also was only used in the diocese of Canterbury and York, and not in
every case where impotence was cited.
>The clerics used prostitutes to carry out these tests.
Are you sure about this? In the documents I've seen, the ecclesiastical
courts were very sticky about asserting that the witnesses or deponents
were of good fame and reputation. Of course, if they were deputized...
>The Church's reputation for prudery comes in more from whipping folks
>around the church for fornication (and assorted other forms of public
>shamings, vide the ducking stool at Canterbury) and from theologians'
>entrenched hostility toward oral sex, gay sex, or any other
>position sexual pleasures. Of course, such condemnations are not to be
>confused with the actual sexual practice of a sizeable portion of the
>clergy, pre- and post-Gregorian "reform."
The reputation might also have come from the Reformation days. The
Catholics were seen as, well, cavalier. The reactions to such things by
the Counter-Reformers may have had an effect on our modern interpretation
(as well as our society catching up with and surpassing the mores of the
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