Or the expression of sexuality in previous centuries as much as it tried to divorce the expression of love and devotion from sexuality.
A high percentage of priests of the Middle Ages, for example, had illegitimate children. These were considered products of the weak and lustful flesh– bad enough, but considering man’s fallen state, understandable lapses. Such situations were overlooked, if not condoned, as long as a priest’s love and devotion still belonged to the Church and were not “squandered” upon the mother of such offspring.
The nuns were kept in subservient positions. Yet the nunneries also served as refugees for many women, who managed to educate themselves even under those conditions.
A good number of nuns were of course carrying the seed of those priests, and bearing children who acted as servants in monasteries, sometimes, as well as in covenants. There were numerous rebellions on the part of nuns in various convents, however, for these women found themselves operating rather efficiently though in segregated surroundings. They began to question the entire framework of the Church and their position with it. Some left in groups, particularly in France and Spain, forming their own communities.
The Church, however, never really found a suitable method of dealing with its women, or with the intuitive elements of its own beliefs. Its fear of a goddess emerging was renewed each time another apparition of Virgin appeared in one corner or another of the world.
There were also some women who passed as monks, living lives of a solitary nature and carrying on for years. No works bear their feminine names, for they used male ones. It goes without saying that lesbian and homosexual relationships flourished in such surroundings. The Church closed its eyes as long as the relationships were sexual in nature. only when love and devotion were diverted from the Church was there real concern. intellect and emotions became further divided then. This resulted of course in an overemphasis upon dogma– rules and the ritualization that had to be colorful and rich because it would be the one outlet allowed in which creativity could be handled. The Church believed that sexual experience belonged to the so-called lower or animal instincts, and so did usual human love. On the other hand, spiritual love and devotion could not be muddied by sexual expression, and so any normal strong relationship became a threat to the expression of piety.