Choirboys of the Middle Ages


#1

Recently my wife, who is finishing up a degree in fine arts at a local college, confronted a fellow student on an accusation she made in class. This student is well know to make off the wall remarks and accusations about the Catholic Church in class without any proof or resources to support them.

Her resent accusation is about choirboys of the middle ages, who were castrated in order to retain their positions in the church choir (obviously to keep their high soprano voices). The student further indicts the church with their full knowledge and condoning of these actions of mutilating the body. My wife asked if the student could produce any proof, however the professor also gave her support to the student and her accusation.

My wife and I are not aware of such practices of the middle ages (we doubt it) however we are sure the Catholic Church itself would not allow such practices to be permitted in light of the churches teachings (theology of the body).

Can you supply any resources to help support the contention that this practice didn’t take place and/or if the did the church didn’t condone them?

Tim & Selena
Chino Hills, CA


#2

Rubbish!

Never heard of it, the reason boy’s loose their high voices is when they are going through adolescence and their voices begin to break, which is part of puberty and by castrating them does not stop the process.

(Former chorister and former member of The Royal School of Church Music)


#3

Pius - You have lived a sheltered life.

See Castrati or Google *Castrati *for more than you will ever want to know about the subject.

At one time it was common in all choirs - Church and secular - and was the road to riches. Some of the castrati lived into the 20th century and were recorded.

They produced a uniqe tone combining a high soprano with the volume of the male chest.


#4

Going waaaaaaay back to the beginings of the forum:
forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=876


#5

[quote=Joe Kelley]Pius - You have lived a sheltered life.

See Castrati or Google *Castrati *for more than you will ever want to know about the subject.

At one time it was common in all choirs - Church and secular - and was the road to riches. Some of the castrati lived into the 20th century and were recorded.

They produced a uniqe tone combining a high soprano with the volume of the male chest.
[/quote]

:bigyikes: My apologies :bigyikes:

I must have led a shelterd life; I am Soo glad I left the choir before my voice broke :smiley:


#6

Pious - Sorry for misspelling your name.

My fingers have been walking through too many papal lists. :wink:


#7

Thanks everyone for the great information…

…especially Richspidizzy for the waaaaaaaaayback link.

I came across some additional info myself. There is some reference to a Papal Decree of 1878 (approx date) that prohibits this practice. I haven’t found it yet.

Does anyone know about this decree or where I might find it?

tim & selena +<><
chino hills, ca


#8

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