Dall'Orto Document forwarded to me by Wayne

From William A. Percy
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A document printed in 1590 states in a most clear way - thus disproving Foucault's opinion about the ancient Sodomite being a mere "single-act sinner" in an act - that what qualifies someone as a sodomite is the quality of his desire/urge (towards someone of his same sex), not the type of sexual act he performed (the exact source is cited at the bottom of this message).

The writer is a Dominican (and please remind that Dominicans ruled the Inquisition, and that the book was printed with the due permission) theologian, Agostino da Montalcino (15?-after 1605), who was explaining how circumstances, in a sin, should always be explained in a confession, because they change the quality of the sin. To do so, he takes as an example a heterosexual intercourse between a man and a woman: /p. 35/

II.III.3. Clodio confesses having had intercourse with a woman, and at once you deem him a fornicator; (...) had she been a virgin, he would have been a deflowerer or a raper; outside the due vase, against nature; his godmother in a baptism, or in a christening, incestuous but spiritually; thinking in males, he is a very bad sodomite... (II.III.3. Clodio si confessa d'havere havuto che fare con una donna, subito l'hai per fornicario; (...) se fusse stata vergine, era defloratore, o stupratore; se non nel vaso debito, contra natura; sua commare di battesimo, o di cresima, incestuoso ma spirituale; pensando a maschi, è Sodomito pessimo ...)

In this unmistakable list, the hypothesis of an anal intercourse with a women is dealt with separately and before dealing with the hypothesis of the man who has vaginal intercourse with a woman while, to get aroused, he thinks in a male... and for doing so, he is a very bad sodomite! How can anyone assume that being a "sodomite" was merely linked to acting an act, whereas here we are doubtlessly dealing with the orientation of an urge? This document, by cataloguing in two separate cases (1) "he who had anal intercourse with a woman" and "he who lusts for men although he has intercourse with women - therefore he is a sodomite", shows how being a sodomite does not mean - pace Foucault - being a "recidivist": it is a way of being, inside. It is a quality of the "mind".

The same author stresses further, dealing with the various kinds of lust, (at page 62) that what qualifies sodomy is the quality (i.e. the gender) of the people who indulge in it - who should both belong to the same gender - not the typology of the act: The fourth kind <of intercourse>, even worse, happens between people of the same sex, acted in whatever way, is called Sodomy <and should be punished> with capital punishment, or at least with imprisoning in perpetuity those, either men or women, who indulge in this most nefarious sin. ("La quarta spetie sempre più grave è fra persone dell'istesso sesso consumato comunque si voglia, chiamasi Sodomia [e va punita] con l'ultimo supplitio; o almeno rinchiusi in perpetuo carcere, cosi gli huomini, come le donne, che a questo nefandissimo peccato danno opera" .) It should be remarked that heterosexual sodomy had already been dealt with in a previous page, therefore the mention of women here does refer indeed to lesbian intercourse, which is also demonstrated by the fact that dealing with masturbation at page 58 this theologian had clearly stated that even mutual masturbation between persons of the same gender qualifies as sodomy.

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