Catholic birth control

It sounds a bit like a paradox, Catholic birth control. How did I get on it? I'm currently reading the book Pope Joan by Donna Cross. The book is based on the legend of the only female pope, Pope Joanna, who would have sat on the papal throne around 855 BC. The story mentions the problems that occurred at that time regarding the establishment of a date for marriage. Now, of course, there are often things in a novel that are not true or not quite right, so I immediately went looking for a substantiation. What was the case?

The Catholic Church - like many other faiths - has a number of periods in which it is fixed. We think mainly of food and drinks, but there are and were many more restrictions. For example, when it comes to celebrating parties, marriages and not to mention sex. Of course, the latter two are interrelated, because a marriage must be consumed during the wedding night, as it is so neatly called. These rules are being handled more loosely, but for centuries they have been strictly applied.

In the days of Johanna and many centuries after that, there was a whole list of days and periods designated by the Catholic Church when you were not allowed to have sex. For starters, not on Sundays, Wednesdays and Fridays, which already almost halves the number of days available. There were also the fasting periods such as the Advent time, the 40 days before Easter and a period after Pentecost. With that you could immediately cross out about 220 days. And with that we were not there yet because even during menstruation, the entire pregnancy and the suckling period there was no sexual intercourse. A drastic form of periodic abstinence.

Of course, you can ask yourself whether the people were adhering to it, too. There are some indications for this, for example, in old church books where the dates of marriages and births were kept. A comparison of the 17th and 19th century data of the birth months shows a clear shift. In the 17th century, the rising and descending line adheres to the prescriptions of the church when you look at the probable time of conception. It is mainly about the fasting period of 40 days before Easter, which can be clearly read. In the 19th century, the line looks completely different.

Because no one knows exactly when conception took place, it is of course difficult for fasting days and short periods to say anything meaningful about it. But there are other indications that the fear of having sex on those days was deeply in it and was fueled by all sorts of fables. Thus, the talk went that problems during pregnancy, misbirths and deformed babies were the result of conception on # forbidden days. If you weren't punished at birth, it could always happen later. According to a widely spread medieval theory, the then common disease Leprosy was a punishment of God for the bandless and immoral conduct on fasting days.

In short, the Catholic Church did not distribute condoms or the pill, but did propagate an extreme form of abstinence.

#pregnancy #geboortebeperking