New publication on the "The Body of the Priest (Der Körper des Priesters)" in the early modern period

July 09, 2021

Does a Catholic priest have to have an unimpaired body? Is a clergymen allowed to hide a bodily defect? What happens if the female gender of a nun is called into doubt? Who decides which kind of body is suitable for a cleric and which one is not? Using previously unexplored archival sources, Brendan Röder, former doctoral student of the Max Planck Research Group Governance of the Universal Church after the Council of Trent, shows how important these questions were for the daily lives of clerics, communities and for the institution of the Catholic Church in the early modern period. The book analyses the body as an object of negotiation between simple clerics, bishops and popes as well as laymen and medical experts. It sheds light on long-standing patterns of exclusion but also shows how creatively and flexibly unusual bodies were dealt with in practice.

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