Clerics within the heart a while have been subjected to differing beliefs of masculinity, either from in the Church and from lay society. The historians during this quantity interrogate the that means of masculine identification for the medieval clergy, by way of contemplating a variety of resources, time sessions and geographical contexts.
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Extra info for Negotiating Clerical Identities: Priests, Monks and Masculinity in the Middle Ages (Genders and Sexualities in History)
5 So the present-day stereotype about clergymen’s problematic sexuality, as regards masculinity, can be summed up as follows. Either clergymen are not sexually driven enough, or at all, and therefore do not qualify to be considered truly masculine. Or they are indeed sexually driven, perhaps even too much, but to the wrong objects (men or children), and therefore do not qualify to be considered truly masculine. Or they are sexually driven to the right objects (adult women), and therefore may be masculine – but do not qualify to be considered true clergymen.
This anonymous vicar, then, recognized that the clergyman often deviated from his own ‘natural’, plain-spoken masculine ideal in a way that set them apart from the layman. Yet in criticizing him, he effectively called for yet another kind of separateness. Our task as historians is to be aware of all these reasons for finding clerical masculinity an odd phrase so that we can get past that feeling of strangeness. Recognizing why we classify and identify certain patterns of life the way we do, allows us to make more informed assessments of new evidence – or of old evidence, regarded in new ways.
What ‘masculinity’ meant to the men who made that system work seems like a mystery better left alone. What if we then change our terminology, speaking not of ‘clerics’ or ‘clerical’ but of ‘clergy’ or ‘clergymen’? We then make it clear that we are referring specifically to those men who had taken Holy Orders, who were ministers of the Church in some form. Alas, the relevance to masculinity does not consequently become any clearer. The basic meaning of the word ‘clergy’ has not really changed over centuries, and the clergy themselves have consistently tried to speak to their own time.
Negotiating Clerical Identities: Priests, Monks and Masculinity in the Middle Ages (Genders and Sexualities in History)