The Christian tradition has generally proscribed any and all noncoital genital activities, whether engaged in by couples or individuals, regardless of whether they were of the same or different sex. The Catholic Church's position specifically on homosexuality developed from the teachings of the Church Fatherswhich was in stark contrast to Greek and Roman attitudes towards same-sex relations.
Canon law regarding same-sex sexual activity has mainly been shaped through the decrees issued by a number of ecclesiastical councils. In Spain the Inquisition tried nearly a thousand individuals for sodomyand a number were executed. The Catholic Church's position specifically on homosexuality developed from the teachings of the Church Fatherswhich was in stark contrast to Greek and Roman attitudes towards same-sex relations including the " usually erotic homosexual relationship between an adult male and a pubescent or adolescent male" that is called pederasty.
The early 2nd century treatise, the Didache which influenced thinking by some of the Church Fathersincludes in a list of commandments: Greenberg gives it as one example of the early Christian writings of the first two centuries that were "unequivocably opposed to male prostitution and pederasty — probably the most visible forms of homosexuality in their time". Clement of Alexandria c. The Apology of Aristides of Athenspresented to Emperor Hadrian around — CE, scorned the practices and acts of the Greek pagans who worshipped gods some of whom "polluted themselves by lying with males".
Basil of Caesarea or — was among the first to talk about penalties, advising in a letter that, "He who is guilty of unseemliness with males will be under discipline for the same time as adulterers. And a yet more disgraceful "Pope benedict speech on homosexuality and christianity" than these is it, when even the women seek after these intercourses, who ought to have more shame than men.
Punishment will be found in hell for such transgressors, and that women can be guilty of the sin as much as men although the former disrupt Pope benedict speech on homosexuality and christianity patriarchal hierarchy through such as act.
Chrysostom argues that the male passive partner has effectively renounced his manhood and become a woman — such an individual deserves to be "driven out and stoned". Chrysostom was particularly influential in shaping early Christian thought that same-sex desire was an evil that ultimately resulted in social injustice — altering the traditional interpretation of Sodom as a place of inhospitality, to one where the sexual transgressions of the Sodomites became paramount.
The early 4th-century Council of Elvira was the church council to deal with the issue directly, excluding from communion anyone who had sexual intercourse stuprum with a boy: Canons 16 and 17 of the Council of Ancyrawhich "became the standard source for medieval ecclesiastical literature against homosexuality",  impose on "those who have been or who are guilty of bestial lusts" penances whose severity varies with the age and married status of the offender, allowing access to communion only at death for a married man over fifty years old canon 16 ; and impose a penance also on "defilers of themselves with beasts, being also leprous, who have infected others [with the leprosy of this crime]".
Isaiah was tortured severely and exiled, while Alexander had his genitals amputated and was subsequently paraded around the city on a litter. As a result the Christian Emperor Justinian c. Many homosexual men were arrested in the wake of this, and died from their injuries.
An atmosphere of fear followed. In Iberia, the Visigothic ruler Egica of Hispania and Septimania demanded that a church council confront the occurrence of homosexuality in the kingdom. Inthe Sixteenth Council of Toledo issued a canon condemning guilty clergy to degradation and exile and laymen to a hundred lashes. Egica added an edict imposing the punishment of castration as already in the secular law promulgated for his kingdom by his predecessor King Chinawith. The matter was also dealt with at the Council of Paris—in canons 34 and 69 AD which went beyond Elvira and Ancyra in explicitly endorsing the death penalty for sodomy—claiming that it had led God to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah and send the Great Flood  [note 3]  The concern at Paris was that toleration of sodomy might provoke God to give victory to the enemies of Christianity i.
At about the same time, the set of forged capitularies produced by the deacon Benedict Levita implied that Charlemagne had likewise supported the death penalty. Meanwhile canon 15 of the Council of Trolsy AD warned against "pollution with men or animals".
Alongside this, penances for such sexual transgressions may Pope benedict speech on homosexuality and christianity be found in a few of the penitential books which first emerged in the 6th century in monastic communities in Ireland including for women having sex with other women. By the late Middle Ages, the term "sodomy" had come to cover copulation between males, bestiality, and non-vaginal heterosexual intercourse,  coitus interruptusmasturbation, fellatio and anal Pope benedict speech on homosexuality and christianity whether heterosexual or homosexual ;  and it increasingly began to be identified as the most heinous of sins by authorities of the Catholic Church.
In Italy, Dominican monks would encourage the pious to "hunt out" sodomites and once done to hand them to the Inquisition to be dealt with accordingly: By persecuting sodomites as well as heretics, the Church strengthened its authority and credibility as a moral arbiter".
Pope Leo IX d. Likewise aroundSaint Peter Damian wrote the Liber Gomorrhianus in which he argued for stricter ecclesiastical punishment for clerics guilty of "sins against nature". The Council of London in incalled at the urging of English Archbishop Anselm of Canterburyexplicitly denounced homosexual behavior as a sin for the first time at an English council.
Confessors were urged to take account of such ignorance when hearing confessions for sodomy, and to take into account mitigating factors such as age and marital status before prescribing penance; and counselling was generally preferred to punishment. In Canons 28 and 29 the Council decreed that the people should be informed of the gravity of the sin, and their obligation to confess particularly if they derived pleasure from it.
Nevertheless, Anselm deferred publication of the proceedings, arguing further time was needed to clarify certain matters. InPope Alexander III presided over the Third Lateran Council in Rome which decreed canon 11 that all those guilty of sodomy be removed from office or confined to penitential life in a monastery, if clergy; and be strictly excommunicated, if laity: At the same time, the German Abbess Hildegard of Bingen d.
Canon 14 of the Fourth Lateran Council in stated that if a priest suspended for unchastity of any kind — especially the vice that "on account of which the anger of God came from heaven upon the children of unbelief" sodomy — dared to celebrate Mass then he was to be deposed permanently from the priesthood. By the early 13th century time of the Fourth Lateran Council the Church determined that "secular authorities, as well as clergy, should be allowed to impose penalties on 'sodomites' for having had sexual relations", and by the end of this period, "Sodomites were now [regarded as] demons as well as sinners.
InPope Gregory IX established the Roman Inquisition which investigated claims of sodomy - arguing that sodomites were "abominable persons despised by the world In the Summa TheologicaThomas Aquinas stated that "the unnatural vice" is the greatest of the sins of lust.
Alongside this, the German Dominican Albertus Magnus described homosexuality as "Pope benedict speech on homosexuality and christianity" "foulness" that was both addictive and contagious. InBernardino of Siena preached for three days in Florence, Italy against homosexuality and other forms of lust, calling for sodomites to be ostracized, and these sermons alongside measures by Pope benedict speech on homosexuality and christianity clergy of the time strengthened opinion against homosexuals and encouraged the authorities to increase the measures of persecution.
InPope Nicholas V enabled the Inquisition to prosecute men who practiced sodomy. Handed over to the civil authorities, those condemned were frequently burned in accordance with civil law. The Spanish Inquisition thus replaced the Medieval Inquisition which had been set up under direct papal control, and transferred it in Spain to civil control. Inin response to complaints by relatives of the first victims, Sixtus wrote that he had not intended his grant to be abused in that way.
However, strong pressure brought to bear on him prevented him from revoking it. The Tribunal of the Holy Office of the Inquisition in Spain was therefore under the control of its monarchs and the initial direction of the Dominican friar Tomas de Torquemada.
At first it seems to have been reluctant to take on responsibility for trying those accused of sodomy, and that the Suprema the governing
Pope benedict speech on homosexuality and christianity ruled in that such cases were for the secular courts, which already punished sodomy with death.
However, in the Suprema requested papal authorisation to prosecute sodomites. Pope Clement VII granted permission but only within the Kingdom of Aragon and on condition that trials be conducted according to the civil laws, not the standard inquisitorial procedure.