What about the Catholic castration of choir boys in the Middle Ages?
We got an email that said:
In 1599, Pope Clement VIII gave the ok for castrated young boy's to sing in the Church. This went on for the next 280 years or so until Pope Leo in 1878 finally stopped it. So many years and so many popes not doing anything about it and even approving it is beyond me.
None of the Popes from 1599-1878 have been canonized as Saints (only Pious IX and Innocent XI have been declared Blessed). That indicates that the Catholic Church is not too impressed with most of its Popes during that time. Almost all of the early Popes are recognized as saints and there are a couple of Popes recognized as saints for virtually every other century in Church history.
Some will point to bad popes as proof that God did not institute the Papacy with Peter. The Church claims that its teaching is infallible, but its people are not indefectible. Even Jesus chose a bad disciple, Judas. Ten of the others deserted him in his time of need. We don't say "Jesus can't be the Saviour because he had bad disciples." Catholics think the fact that there have been bad Popes is a testimony to God's institution of the papacy. These bad Popes could have defined all kinds of crazy doctrines in the name of their teaching authority, but they didn't - they stayed silent of issues of dogma, which is the only thing that Catholics claim is infallible. We think this is part of God's promise of infallibility.
Wikipedia describes castrato singers like this:
As the castrato's body grew, his lack of testosterone meant that hisepiphyses (bone-joints) did not harden in the normal manner. Thus the limbs of the castrati often grew unusually long, as did the bones of their ribs. This, combined with intensive training, gave them unrivalled lung-power and breath capacity. Operating through small, child-sized vocal cords, their voices were also extraordinarily flexible, and quite different from the equivalent adult female voice. Their vocal range was higher than that of the uncastrated adult male.
This was a time of history when the arts were exploding, and everyone was seeking ways to refine and perfect all the arts. It was the time of Michaelangelo, Bernini and the Renaissance. Almost all artists suffered for their art. Even today, how many athletes take testosterone and other hormone enhancing drugs, which ruin their bodies, to improve their performance. How many artists ruin their brains with mind altering drugs, to enhance their art. Unfortunately, the Church was caught up in the mad dash to artistic perfection in those days. There is a lot of great art from those centuries but not much spiritual fruit.
A subtle difference between allowing castratos to join the choir and actually castrating them
There is no evidence that we've been able to find that indicates that anyone was forced into castration by the Church or that there was a Catholic office or entity doing the castrations. There is a subtle difference between allowing castrato singers into the choir and actually going out and castrating people. But nevertheless, it was not a good thing to foster the castrations by allowing them to join the choir.
Perhaps the middle ages can claim ignorance for their inhumanity during a brutal period of history, like slave traders who misinterpreted Scripture in order to serve their selfish ends. Those who wanted beautiful music misinterpreted this Scripture:
For there are eunuchs who have been so from birth, and there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by others, and there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. (Mat 19:10-12)
Like those who thought the world was the centre of the universe because Scripture said the earth is "immovable", those who advocated castration were just plain wrong. Thank God, the Church saw the light.
Let's compare the barbarism of the Middle Ages to today
Today we have the benefit of culture, history, all the tools of science,
and yet society ignores the brutality of abortion. History will judge
our age by much harsher standards than the middle ages, and we will come up
looking pretty barbaric in comparison. The majority of secular society sees nothing wrong with abortion. The
Catholic Church is pretty well the only united voice against it along with several evangelical groups. The Castration of young boys was cruel, it cut
off their testicles. Inside the womb, EVERYDAY, thousands of children are
being torn limb from limb.
In the last 30 years approximately 43,000,000 young girls and boys have died violent deaths in the United States. They have had their arms, legs ripped off, and their heads cut off. These boys and girls were defenseless, they could not speak out to defend themselves. They remained silent as they were brutally murdered.
Let's call the girl below "Sara." Sara could not protect herself while the "doctor" cut her head off with forceps.
Sara will never learn how skip or play hopscotch. She will never experience
her first date or the prom. Sara has been denied the right to vote, the right
to freedom of speech, the right to work. Sara's death is the fruit of what
radical feminists call "equality."
"It's my Body, I can do what I want with it!"
If the baby is part of the body of the mother, we can't understand why the doctor has to count all of the little broken off arms and legs of the baby that are sucked out of the mother to make sure none are left inside. Half of women carrying babies have a little boy inside them with a penis. Is that part of her body? Today, the most dangerous place on the planet to live is not Harlem or a Pakistan terrorist ghetto. It is in a mother's womb. It is a treacherous time in history to be an infant.
Thank God the Church eventually saw the
the sin of castrating boys. When will society see the barbarism of abortion?