Corporal punishment in religious institutions

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Franciscan padre Cornelius Adriaensen whipping women penitents with birch rods. Popular engraving, 17th century.

Ever since the first monasteries and nunneries were built, they were not only places of faith and worship but also of education. Religious institutions expected people to follow not only secular laws, but also moral and religious commandments, plus, for their members, additional monastic rules. They were often notorious for their strict discipline and punishments.

Contents

[edit] Punishment scenarios

Nun birching a student in painting by Austrian artist Adam Johan Braun (1748-1827).

Punishment by religious authority figures occurred in different scenarios:

  1. punishment of members of a religious order (monks and nuns) for breaking monastic rules
  2. punishment of prospective members of a religious order (novices) for breaking monastic rules
  3. punishment of members of their parish by clerics for their sins (as penance)
  4. punishment of students, altar boys, etc. by clerics in loco parentis for misbehavior
  5. self-punishment as penance and for religious reasons (mortification of the flesh)

[edit] Punishment methods

Penance, engraving by an unknown English artist, 18th century

Common methods of punishment in Christian religious institutions included exercises of penance (such as reciting prayers), extra work or chores, removal of privileges (such as fasting, no speaking, no sleep), confinement, wearing of a cilice, and corporal punishment.

There was a lot of discussion whether corporal punishment should be given clothed or nude, and whether it should be administered to the shoulders and back, or to the buttocks. They ended up with two schools of thought:

  • the so-called 'upper discipline' (disciplina supra): whipping of the back
  • the so-called 'lower discipline' (disciplina deorsum): spanking of the buttocks. Also known as disciplina secundum sub.

Implements commonly used in ecclesiastic corporal punishment included various types of scourges made of leather or rope, horsehair whips, and birches. Both whips and birches were used for upper and lower discipline.

[edit] School corporal punishment

Main article: School corporal punishment

The first schools in Mediaeval Europe were convent schools and the first schoolmasters were monks. Children (originally only boys, later also girls in convent schools) were routinely subjected to harsh punishment by their teachers. The birch rod was the preferred implement for centuries. See School corporal punishment (antiquity-1699) for images.

Gradually schools for girls were founded too. After secular schools had came up, religious schools, especially Catholic schools, continued to maintain a reputation for particularly strict discipline and punishment.

[edit] Popular culture

Illustration for The Convent School (c. 1876).
Nun whipping. Illustration by Aroldo Bonzagni.

Novels: Flagellation erotica inspired by Christian discipline began in the Victorian era with novels such as The Convent School, or Early Experiences of A Young Flagellant (1876) by Rosa Coote. This also became part of early 20th century French spanking literature, for example the 1911 novel Le Fouet au Couvent by Aimé Van Rod.

The trend continues in contemporary novels such as Spanking at the Girl's Convent School by Jacqui Knight (Miro Books: 2010).

There is also an adult comic book (or graphic novel) by Milo Manara called Borgia: Blood for the Pope that includes graphic scenes of nuns whipping and tormenting nude women.

Films: Nunsploitation (nun exploitation) is a subgenre of exploitation films produced in Italy and Japan in the Seventies and Eighties. These films were notorious for concentrating on sexual perversities among isolated nuns living in convents. Many films include lurid depictions of punishment and self-chastizements such as topless nuns whipping themselves or enduring painful masochistic rituals of mortification of the flesh.

Mainstream films with religious-based corporal punishment:

  • 1974: School of the Holy Beast (F/F), Japanese convent film with various forms of sadomasochistic punishments and flagellation scenes including two topless nuns forced to whip each other.
  • 1977: Vanessa, soft core erotica, Olivia Pascal is whipped twice; by a nun in a convent and later by a man. (video at sevenload)
  • 1986: Convent of Sinners (F/F), Italian nunsploitation with self-flagellation and two nuns severely whipped.
  • 2002: The Magdalene Sisters (F/F), based on real events, caning in a convent-like work house in Ireland in the '60s. Video clip at YouTube
  • 2004: The Halfway House (2004), parody of exploitation films features a perverted priest who frequently paddles bad girls at a Catholic reform school.
  • 2009: Nine (M/m); a boy is caned by a Catholic priest.

A montage of whipping scenes from three nunsploitation films (including Images In the Convent and Convent of Sinners) can be seen at the Internet Archive.

[edit] Fetish videos

A typically naughty, irreverent French photo of nun flagellation erotica (c. 1900).

Several producers of erotic BDSM and spanking videos have also created stories centered around overly strict nuns and priests who inflict harsh punishment, usually by cane, strap, or birch, on misbehaving schoolgirls or nuns. Some examples include:

  • Because Rules Were Broken (Raven Hill Studios); M/F punishments in a Christian cult
  • Catholics Corrected (NaughtyBottom.com), religious students caned by a nun.
  • The Confessor (Spanking Sarah); series on a nun who spanks and whips bad girls.
  • The Confessor, Part 2 (Spanking Sarah)
  • The Confessor, Part 3: Honey Wells (Spanking Sarah)
  • The Confessor, Part 4: Amber (Spanking Sarah)
  • Convent Discipline (Nu-West/Leda Productions), re-enacts true story of Irish convent in the '50s.
  • Correction at the Vicarage (Perfect Spanking), preview
  • Discipline in Russia #17: Private Religion School, Part 1 (Nettles Corporation)
  • Discipline in Russia #18: Private Religion School, Part 2 (Nettles Corp.)
  • Hour of Penitence (Mood Pictures), nuns severely whipped and caned at an Order of St. Magdalene convent in Ireland. Most likely inspired by The Magdalene Sisters. (video at bondagetube.tv)
  • In the Name of Love 1 & 2 (Mood Pictures), F/F canings in a religious cult
  • Monastery of Misery (California Star, UK import), View video at TubeDirty (38 min.)
  • The Nun and the Cane (Whipped Women), an Inquisitor canes a nun suspected of being a witch.
  • Punishment Day (Raven Hill Studios); M/F spankings at a religious cult
  • The Reformation (Classic Spanking), a Reverend punishes the wicked in his parish.
  • Reformation at the Abbey (Northern Spanking); servant girls punished by secular and religious authorities.
  • Religious Nutters (NaughtyBottom.com), photos
  • Repent! (Nu-West/Leda Productions), strappings in a Christian cult.
  • Russian Slaves 54-56: Life in a Russian Convent (Nettles Corporation), 3-part story
  • Russian Slaves 64: Persecution of the Russian Church (Nettles Corp.), two nuns are whipped.
  • Russian Slaves 78 (Nettles/Her First Punishment), novice nuns caned and switched.
  • School for Wayward Girls (Nu-West/Leda Productions), spankings at a Christian reform school
  • Selfish Habits (Connoisseur C.P.), Mother Superior and a priest chastize nuns at The Order of St. Birchingem Convent.
  • Sister Anna's Penance (Ohh Tee Kay Productions)
  • Sister Sarah and the Naughty School Girl (Sarah Gregory Spanking)
  • Sister Strict (Girl Spanks Girl)
  • The Sisters of Repentance (Tallion, re-released by Classic Spanking)
  • The Smoking Nun (Ohh Tee Kay Productions)
  • Spanking Confessional (Shadow Lane); priest punishes a female confessor.
  • Thou Shall Not Steal (NaughtyBottom.com)
  • Two Naughty Nuns (Ohh Tee Kay Productions)

Misc. video clips:

[edit] See also

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