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Journal > Volumes > 46 (2015) / 3 (Autumn)
From Slurs to Silence? Sodomy and Mendicants in the Writings of Catholic Laymen in Early Modern Ghent
Jonas Roelens
Ghent University

This article analyzes the reactions of Catholic laymen to a 1578 sodomy trial held in Ghent.The recently established Calvinist city council had accused a number of mendicants of the crime to slander their religious opponents.The lack of official response from the clergy has led to the assumption that the laity also remained silent in the face of the slurs.Remarkably, a considerable number of Catholic laymen passionately attempted to rehabilitate the friars through the popular narrative genre of city chronicles, the Memorieboeken, even though sodomy was an unmentionable sin.Furthermore, chroniclers were still writing about the trial more than a century after the fall of the Calvinist regime.Clearly, the Catholic restoration of Ghent was accompanied by the stigmatization of old enemies.This particular sodomy trial not only shows how religious polemics could influence responses to deviant sexuality but also reflects the formation of an urban historical consciousness.

Pages: 629 - 649