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222. Have you committed lechery ("luxuria")? These things pertain to lechery (list of 12 aspects, each with brief definition and explanation for the priest to give) ...

223. PRIEST: There remains coitus which is lechery in the strict sense of the word. Have you ever been polluted with lechery?
PENITENT: Lots of times.
PRIEST: Ever against nature?
PEN: Lots of times.
PR Ever with a man?
PEN: Lots of times.
PR: With clerics or with laymen?
PEN: With both.
PR: Married laymen or single?
PEN: Both.
PR: With how many married people?
PEN: I don't know.
PR: So you don't know how many times?
PEN: That's right.
PR: Let us find out what we can. How long were you with them?
PEN: 7 years.
PR: In what Order?
PEN: (I have been) 2 years in the priesthood, 2 in the diaconate, 2 in the sub-diaconate, a year as an acolyte. I sinned with unattached people, but I don't know the number of people or times.
PR: Did you sin with clerics?
PEN: I sinned both with seculars and with religious.
PR: Tell me how many seculars and how many religious, and what order you and they were in when you sinned together, and whether they possessed the dignity of archdeacon, dean, abbot or bishop? Did you ever introduce any innocent person to that sin? Say how many and what order you were then in?

224. Afterwards, he may be asked whether he ever sinned further against nature, if he had anybody extraordinarie? If he asks in what way extraordinarie, I shall not answer him. He shall see for himself. I never mention anything from which he could derive reason for sinning, but only generalities which everyone knows to be sins. I extract (an admission of) masturbation painfully ("dolose") from him, and similarly from a woman, but the method by which to extract this should not be written down. Just as I asked concerning a man, whether he has done anything against nature, so I ask concerning a woman, and indeed about every kind of fornication. Secondly, I ask about adultery and then about every kind of fornication; afterwards about incest in this way:

225. Did you come to your female cousin? ...

226. Did you come to a pregnant woman? I ask this, because many tiny children are in this way debilitated, crippled and oppressed. If anyone is affected by your having sex, in my opinion you should never minister in any order or receive any promotion without papal dispensation. In time of menstruation or (recent) childborth are generated many lepers, epileptics and children bearing themselves badly in other ways.

227. Have you fornicated in a holy place or on a holy day? Ask where and how often, (with a partner) in what order, with what person and in what kind of fornication? ...

228. Did you go to prostitutes? You should be afraid that she might be your kin or affine, or vowed to religion, or that some kinsman of yours had had her, or for some other (aggravating) circumstance. ...

Were you ever "infamous" for fornication? (Something has been said above about "infamy".) Did you ever approach the altar (for the eucharist) after fornication or in hatred or with the will of sinning and not confess or express contrition? Ask how often, and with what will and what kind of fornication, etc.

229. Have you looked with evil intent at many people, men and women, have you desired, solicited, .. kissed them? ..

[Robert of Flamborough, Liber Poenitentialis, ed. J.J.F. Firth (Toronto: Pontifical Inst. of Med. St., 1971), 195 sq.]


Translation by Paul Hyams of Cornell University. See his Course Page?. He indicated that the translations are available for educational use. He intends to expand the number of translations, so keep a note of his home page.

This text is listed as part of the Internet Medieval Source Book. The Sourcebook is a collection of public domain and copy-permitted texts related to medieval and Byzantine history.

Paul Halsall April 1996