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social sciences

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Among Julius's numerous artistic undertakings was the decoration of the family chapel in San Pietro in Montorio with statues by Bartolomeo Ammanati (1511-92), a leading follower of Michelangelo. In the outskirts of Rome, he built the luxurious Villa Giulia (1551-53), which is organized as an unusual sequence of structures and courtyards of varying shapes. Much of the original decoration by Giorgio Vasari (1511-74), Giovanni da Udine (1487-1564), and other artists has been lost, but some fragments of homoerotic mythological scenes are preserved. The villa may have been a retreat where Julius III could indulge his love of other men without censure.

In various ways, Sixtus IV, Julius II, Leo X, and Julius III contributed to the strength of the Catholic Church in difficult periods of its history. Their achievements belie the efforts of Benedict XVI and John Paul II to characterize those who engage in homosexual acts as a danger to the stability of the Church and of society as a whole.

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A review of the history of the Church suggests that the demonization of homosexuality was not a primary concern of the papacy in previous centuries. Indeed, at least a few popes displayed notable tolerance of homosexuality, which challenges the harsh attitudes of the current papacy.

Richard G. Mann

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social sciences >> Overview:  Inquisition

In the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries, the Inquisitions of Aragon and Portugal prosecuted almost 1500 trials for sodomy of various kinds.

social sciences >> Overview:  Knights Templar

The members of the Knights Templar, a military order that had grown powerful in international finance and politics, were accused of heresy and sodomy when the organization was subjected to persecution in the fourteenth century.

social sciences >> Overview:  Roman Catholicism

Historically, the Roman Catholic Church may be the institution most responsible for the suffering of individuals involved in same-sex sexual relationships.

social sciences >> Overview:  Same-Sex Marriage

Lesbian and gay couples have been fighting for the freedom to marry since the dawn of the modern glbtq struggle for equality; despite some success abroad, progress toward same-sex marriage in the United States has been slow.

social sciences >> Overview:  Sodomy

First used to refer only to anal intercourse, sodomy was progressively defined by the Church Fathers, and many later lawmakers, to include all sexual acts that could not result in procreation.

social sciences >> Overview:  Sodomy Laws and Sodomy Law Reform

Sodomy laws, which provided the legal basis for police harassment of sexual minorities, were conclusively overturned by the United States Supreme Court in 2003, after more than half a century of efforts at reform.

arts >> Borghese, Scipione Caffarelli

Scipione Caffarelli Borghese, a seventeenth-century Cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church, was a bold and influential patron and collector of the visual arts.

social sciences >> Boswell, John

John Boswell was one of the late twentieth century's most influential historians of homosexuality and author of one of the first book-length histories on the subject.

arts >> Botticelli, Sandro

Renowned for his linear finesse and richly colored, meticulous paintings, Florentine artist Sandro Botticelli produced profound religious works, astute portraits, and poetic adaptations of classical mythology, all of which encourage a suggestively queer response.

arts >> Caravaggio

The most original painter of early seventeenth-century Europe, Caravaggio imbues his art with homoeroticism.

social sciences >> Christina of Sweden

Enigmatic monarch and enthusiastic patron of the arts, Christina of Sweden shocked Europeans by her aversion to marriage, her "mannish" ways, and her love for women, as well as by the abdication of her throne at the age of twenty-seven.

arts >> Michelangelo Buonarroti

The most famous artist who ever lived, Michelangelo left an enormous legacy in sculpture, painting, drawing, architecture, and poetry; while the artist's sexual behavior cannot be documented, the homoerotic character of his drawings, letters, and poetry is unmistakable.

social sciences >> Pope Joan

The story of Pope Joan, who was said to have lived in the ninth century and was thought to have been a woman who lived as a man in order to rise in the Church hierarchy to become Pope John VIII, captured the imaginations of Europeans for hundreds of years.


Blonden, Jill Elizabeth. "Constructing History: The Visual Legacy of Pope Sixtus IV." Ph.D. diss., University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2002.

Boswell, John. Same-Sex Unions in Premodern Europe. New York: Villard, 1994.

Greenberg, David F., and Marcia H. Bystryn. "Christian Intolerance of Homosexuality." The American Journal of Sociology 88.3 (November 1982): 515-48.

Haskell, Francis, Patrons and Painters: A Study in the Relations between Italian Art and Society in the Age of the Baroque. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1980.

Kempers, Bram. Painting, Power, and Patronage. Beverley Jackson, trans. London: Allen Lane, 1992.

Seaville, Victoria Kate. "Catholicism and the Moral Status of Homosexuality." M.A. thesis, University of Calgary, 2002.

Zanca, Kenneth J. "Social Justice and Sexual Ethics: An Evaluation of Official Church Teachings on Homosexuality Using Principles of Social Justice Derived from the Papal Encyclicals and Documents of Vatican II." Ph.D. diss., Fordham University, 1988.


    Citation Information
    Author: Mann, Richard G.  
    Entry Title: Papacy  
    General Editor: Claude J. Summers  
    Publication Name: glbtq: An Encyclopedia of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual,
Transgender, and Queer Culture
    Publication Date: 2005  
    Date Last Updated December 13, 2006  
    Web Address  
    Publisher glbtq, Inc.
1130 West Adams
Chicago, IL   60607
    Today's Date  
    Encyclopedia Copyright: © 2002-2006, glbtq, Inc.  
    Entry Copyright © 2005, glbtq, inc.  


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