Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts


Medieval Studies

First Advisor

Dr. Larry Simon

Second Advisor

Dr. E. Rozanne Elder

Third Advisor

Dr. Thomas L. Amos

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Campus Only


The Visitas Pastorales series of episcopal registers for the diocese of Barcelona in 1303 indicate that clerical concubinage and other sexual relationships were common, despite the policies of the papacy and some thirteenth- and fourteenth-century Aragonese reformers. These and other records reveal that the episcopal authorities had only moderate expectations about the celibacy of the clergy in Barcelona, and they did not vigorously enforce those expectations. Indeed, only the most public of the concubinous clerics were ever penalized for their behavior.

These records also provide information about the social circumstances of the men and women who were involved in these relationships, and this helps explain how clerical concubinage and other sexual behaviors fit into the fabric of both lay and ecclesiastical society in the fourteenth century. In the end, the relaxed treatment by the various levels of church administration, as well as the social needs of the community, including the men and women involved in the relationships, combined to allow this entrenched practice to continue with little censure.

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