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The Construction of Catholic Male Chastity: A Modern Understanding of Catholicism's Views on Sex through the Life of the Saints (1859 1954)

Journal: International Journal of Science and Research (IJSR) (Vol.9, No. 9)

Publication Date:

Authors : ; ;

Page : 335-345

Keywords : Catholicism; sexuality; hagiography; masculinity; sainthood;

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In History of Sexuality Volume 1, Foucault claims that despite commonly held beliefs that Victorians restricted public references to sex, they and subsequent generations could not stop talking, writing, and researching topics that dealt with intercourse. If Foucault’s hypothesis is true, and this paper assumes it to be so, a question to research is how different groups within Western culture understood, constructed, and dealt with sexuality from the Victorian era into the twentieth century. One of the groups that interest this article is the Catholic Church. Catholicism has traditionally defined itself as a religion that encourages sexual abstinence as a means of achieving salvation, but the notion of restraint was particularly applied to women until the nineteenth century. From the second half of the nineteenth century through to the mid-twentieth century, a shift occurred emphasizing both male and female agency to police their bodies. It was during this time that the figure of the martyr for chastity emerged, a symbol for the Church to communicate to the laity a sure way of attaining salvation through the exercise of the will and the control of the body.

Last modified: 2021-06-28 17:11:32