I have been recently studying the life of a 17th Century Catholic of some renown. In my studies, I have discovered that she would often perform severe “penances.” These penances/ascetics/motifications (not sure which term is the most appropriate) seemed to be her own idea (rather than, say, a penance given by a confessor), and included such things as sleeping on a bed of thorns and burning herself with hot coals.
This is something that you don’t see anymore. In fact, seeing that it made such an impression with her peers and the local clergy, I doubt that it was seen much in those days, either.
My question: is such a thing still permissable with the modern rules of the church? I’ve looked in my CCC for guidance, and I can’t find anything to indicate that such actions would be against the teachings of the church. Something instictively tells me that it’s wrong, but I think that just might be the result of years of exposure to Baptist doctrine, where respect of the body is held in very high esteem.