Was Jesus Really Sexually Abused? No.

Be advised that content in this post is on a mature topic, contains some sexually explicit language, and may offend or upset some persons. The post covers the topic of sexual abuse and contains some explicit descriptions of sexual torture used historically by the Romans in some crucifixions.

This post argues that Jesus was never sexually abused, and that such a false claim constitutes blasphemy against our Lord and Savior.

A particular blogger, Mary Pezzulo, blogs at Patheos under the blog name “Steel Magnificat.” She made the claim, in a 2019 article, that Jesus was sexually abused. She asserts that He was more than likely raped and, as she describes it, sexually tortured, during the Passion and Crucifixion. She re-posted this article in 2020 and again this year in 2021, about the time of Lent. In each of those three years that she posted the article, some Catholics argued against her claims and some also accused her of blasphemy. She also has written other articles, defending this claim, and recently an article making personal attacks on me for my complaints, on Twitter, against her claim.

I complained about this claim of hers on Twitter. Unfortunately, she did not merely defend her claim. She and her supporters began to engage in personal attacks, name-calling, ridicule, and deliberate false accusations. She also scanned the internet, looking for complaints about me, and then repeated those complaints as if they were her own. Then her article of Good Friday, April 2, continued these false accusations and ad hominem attacks. I’ll give my reply to those personal attacks in a second article here.

Please understand, I am defending Christ against a false and blasphemous claim, which the author in question repeats year after year by reposting the same article. Originally, I had thought her post was a single new article, but later I learned she reposts it year after year about the time of Holy Week. She states that each year some Christians accuse her of blasphemy. Her reposting this article, her repeated assertions of the claim in other articles and on Twitter, and her personal attacks on any one who disagrees, makes the sin of blasphemy worse.

The Claims of Mary Pezzulo

The articles in question:
[1] My Intention for a Dark Lent – 3/6/2019 earlier mention of this claim
[2] Was Jesus Really Sexually Abused? – original article 3/7/2019
[3] Blasphemy, Scandal and the Divine Victim 3/9/2019 defending her claims
[4] Good Friday and the Scandal of Christ the Victim 4/2/2021 post attacking me

She also wrote on this topic on Twitter. Here is her public Twitter account profile:
“Mary Pezzulo Does Not Have A Valid Occupation @mary_pezzulo
“Hysterical woman blogger at Patheos Catholic. Contributor at the Catholic Herald. Author at Apocryphile and Ave Maria Press. A nasty vicious temper.” [retrieved 4/3/2021]

The reference to her occupation is explained on her Twitter profile in a screen cap where she enters her occupation as “Writer” and the webpage responds with an error message: “Please enter a valid occupation.” So she is not saying that she lacks a valid occupation.

Who is Mary Pezzulo? She is a Catholic who blogs at Patheos. In her self-description, she says she is married to a man and that she has only ever been with one person, her husband. She also refers to herself as bisexual and as LGBTQ. She rightly defends LGBTQ persons against mistreatment, especially in the Church.

However, in her claims about Jesus and the Crucifixion and some theological implications related to those claims, she errs gravely. This post is a correction of those errors. However, I will criticize her not only for these claims about Jesus, but also for her response to my criticism — which was for her and her supporters to attack me personally. Those who have no theological arguments to support their position usually turn rather quickly to ad hominem arguments.

Speaking in general: Every Catholic needs to understand that, whenever you are arguing the Faith online with anyone, Catholic or non-Catholic, malice can very easily become a mortal sin. It is objectively gravely immoral, and malice often meets the conditions for actual mortal sin because a person who speaks or acts with malice can hardly do so inadvertently; it is by its nature a deliberate act. And in many cases, the deliberation is full, especially when it encompasses a series of malicious words or deeds over time. Then as concerns knowledge of the grave immorality of the act, no person of good will thinks that treating someone with malice is compatible with love of God and neighbor. In addition, malicious remarks online are often accompanied by false accusations; lying in a serious matter is also objectively grave.

So a Catholic online who treats another person with malice, especially as I’ve just described, may be committing an actual mortal sin. And for what reason? Is it because someone has different ideas than you? Or is it because you were offended when criticized? That is not a sufficient reason to treat anyone, especially a fellow Christian, with malice, lies, ridicule, name-calling, gossiping, or spite. Yet such behavior is not uncommon online among Catholics.

Articles and Tweets

Let’s begin with this article from Pezzulo in 2019: My Intention for a Dark Lent (March 6, 2019). In it she states the following:

“They took Him to the house of the High Priest, and the leaders of the people clamored to Pilate until Christ was condemned. They tortured Him– they abused Him emotionally, physically, sexually– and then they murdered Him. He died naked, stripped of all dignity one human being can strip from another.” [1]

Jesus suffered greatly in His Passion and Crucifixion. But you cannot simply invent a suffering and claim that it occurred to Him. It is certainly not true that He had all dignity taken from Him. He died for our salvation, as the Savior of the world. He spoke with dignity from the Cross. His seven words on the Cross are dignity and truth. His love for others extended to the good thief on the cross next to His, whom the Lord saved while He himself was dying on the Cross. That is dignity to a high degree. And no one is able to strip Christ, the Lord, of His dignity. Throughout Her articles on this topic, Pezzulo speaks as if Christ were not God.

Pezzulo also claims that Jesus was abused sexually. There is no basis for this claim about Jesus in Sacred Tradition, Sacred Scripture, the Magisterium, or the writings of Saints, Doctors, early Church fathers, or other early Church sources. Nothing in private revelation makes this claim. Even the non-canonical pseudo-gospels do not say anything like this. But if it did happen, it would be part of the sufferings of Jesus for our salvation, and so He would have told us through Scripture and other sources. We were not told because it did not happen.

Three years in a row, Pezzulo posted this baseless claim (2019, 2020, 2021) in an article expounding on the alleged sexual abuse of Jesus: Was Jesus Really Sexually Abused? Some quotes from that article follow. And she does not merely claim sexual abuse or rape, but what is certainly a type of extreme sexual torture. Since no source makes such a claim about Jesus, why does she not only make the claim, but insist on it, year after year, and attack anyone who disagrees? Why does Mary Pezzulo spend so much time and effort imaging the rape and sexual torture of Jesus, the Son of God? Why is this the way she imagines the Savior of the world?

“One of my readers … seemed surprised when I mentioned that Jesus endured sexual abuse in my post from last night. Apparently no one had mentioned it before. I find it’s a topic that’s not discussed very much.”

That’s because there is no evidence that Jesus was sexually abused, especially not in the manner that Pezzulo claims. Jesus was stripped, and based on what Saint Bridget and Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich have each said, He was entirely naked when scourged, but was permitted to have a loin cloth thereafter. And this is how he was crucified, wearing a loin cloth, just as innumerable crucifixes since the dawn of Christianity attest. So Jesus was not naked on the Cross.

Yes, being scourged while naked in front of a crowd, many of whom were probably mocking him at the time, was a type of sexual abuse, under a rather broad definition. But that is as far as it went. We know about the stripping and scourging from the Gospels, the writings of the Saints, Doctors, and Fathers, and the Magisterium. Notice that none of this was withheld from us by Scripture, Tradition, or the Magisterium. The sufferings of Jesus are clearly described explicitly in the Gospels. And I believe what they say about Christ.

Pezzulo is working from a different gospel. One that she invented. One in which the worshipers of Jesus Christ imagine Him being sexually tortured in various ways. She even says: “contemplate Christ the victim of sexual abuse.” [7]

But the truth is, there are no secret sufferings of Jesus, the Lord. There is no secret knowledge of Christ that is not found in Sacred Tradition, Sacred Scripture, the Magisterium, nor in the writings of the Saints, Doctors, and Fathers, nor even in visions given to Saints and Blessed, but is somehow known to a scattering of modern-day bloggers like Pezzulo. Such a claim is essentially a type of Gnosticism, having secret knowledge of religion. And it is absurd, as if the Gospel withheld knowledge of Christ, as if the Church were ignorant for 2000 years, having to be informed in modern times by a blogger.

Pezzulo objects to my references to the visions of the Passion and Crucifixion given to Saint Bridget and Blessed Anne Catherin Emmerich, saying that private revelations are not required belief. True, but my point is that even private revelation contains no such sufferings of Christ. And if we do not have to accept visions from God given to Saints, why should we accept the perverse imaginings of a modern-day blogger, who claims to know truths about the sufferings of Christ not found anywhere in the sources of truth used by the Church. It is as if she is offering her own private revelations.

If Christ had been sexually-abused, other than being stripped and scourged, we would have been told by Tradition, Scripture, Magisterium and the Saints. If God wanted Jesus to suffer sexual abuse, it would have been in the Gospels; it would have been taught by Tradition and the Magisterium. And then those who, in every century, would be sexually abused themselves, would know that their Savior suffered the same. But what would be the point of Jesus suffering in this manner, and then NOT telling anyone for many centuries. The only possible reason or benefit is negated by the fact that no such information is found in any Christian source.

The claim that Jesus was sexually abused is absent from all sources of truth in the Catholic faith. Therefore, it is false. The Gospels have not withheld from us some truth about the Passion and Crucifixion which can only be revealed many centuries later by a blogger and some social media followers.

That is why people are surprised to read Mary Pezzulo make this claim. That is why “Apparently no one had mentioned it before,” and “it’s a topic that’s not discussed very much.” Right, because it was only recently invented. It is fiction. Nothing of the kind happened, or we would have been told.

Since we have not been told by Tradition, Scripture, Magisterium, Saints, Doctors, Fathers, or even in private revelations, how would Pezzulo know? What is her source? She read that the Romans sometimes sexually abused victims of crucifixion. But in fact, such abuses were unusual, and the most severe of the abuses were rare. She merely assumes that it happened to Christ. No source says this happened specifically to Christ. The only source is her imagination. But why she would not only imagine Christ this way, but declare it again and again, seems inexplicable. Well, there is a possible explanation, but I will withhold it. This is not about Pezzulo, but about Christ.

Pezzulo: “To me, it’s not only likely that Jesus was literally raped at some point during His passion– it would be surprising if He wasn’t.”

Wrong. For the reasons stated above, and more reasons I will give below, Jesus certainly was not raped during His Passion. But notice that Pezzulo implies an admission: she doesn’t know this happened; she is only assuming it. Then why does she insist that it is “not only likely” but very likely? She has no evidence that it happened to Christ, yet she insists and is almost certain that it did. She clearly wishes that this happened to Him.

“This is so unfortunate, for those of us who have survived sexual violence. Going through something like that can make you feel so dirty, it’s easy to believe that Christ’s suffering must be a completely different kind.”

I have not had the same experience. But I certainly do not consider persons who have suffered sexual abuse to be guilty of sin, nor to be guilty of any type of failure, nor to be dirty or tainted or damaged. So my rejection of Pezzulo’s claim of the sexual abuse of Christ is not due to any kind of negative attitude towards victims of abuse. This is one of her defenses, accusing anyone who rejects her twisted version of the Passion Story to have a bias against victims.

Pezzulo tries to support her claim about Christ by saying that victims of abuse do not sin. True; it is not a sin to be sexually abused. Pezzulo says this over and over at the end of her article. But this point in no way supports her claim. If something is a sin, Jesus could not do it. But that does not imply that Jesus experienced everything that was not a sin. And it does not imply that Jesus was sexually abused. It is not a sin to be maimed, but He did not suffer that type of abuse. There are many types of suffering or abuse Christ did not suffer.

The Romans usually broke the legs of those Jews they were crucifying — when a crucifixion occurred on the day before a Jewish religious solemnity. This was done because the Jews did not want dead bodies to be on crosses during a religious day (which begins at sunset); that would conflict with religious restrictions about dead bodies. So they had the Romans break the legs of those still alive near sunset. But this “usual” procedure did not happen to Christ, as the Gospels attest. So what is usual for a crucifixion — or in this case unusual or rare — need not happen to the Lord.

Pezzulo: “Of course Jesus was sexually abused: because He knew some of us would be.”

Does Jesus need or want to suffer every type of suffering that we suffer? No. There are many types of suffering that Jesus did not experience: cancer, heart disease, mental illness, amputation, paralysis, childhood sexual abuse, etc. Moreover, the sufferings of Jesus were not for the purpose of joining us in whatever we might suffer. Some sufferings were not fitting for Jesus to suffer because He is God.

If that were the case, if Jesus suffered sexual abuse so that he could join us in our sufferings, so that we would be consoled knowing that He suffered this type of suffering that many would suffer, then it would not be absent from EVERY source about His sufferings from the Gospels, to Tradition, to magisterial teaching, to the writings of Saints, Blesseds, Doctors, and fathers of the Church. It would make no sense for Him to suffer sexual abuse, to join and console those who suffer the same, and then keep it a secret for very many centuries, not letting anyone who suffers sexual abuse know that He suffered the same, until it is revealed in 2019 by a blogger. Jesus would not suffer sexual abuse and not let us know.

The best reply to this type of claim by Pezzulo is found in the following Tweet:

Dorothy A. Buckley @dabuckley
“I don’t need Jesus to be raped for Him to be with me in all my pain. He knows our suffering better than we do because he knows the beauty of his world without suffering — when all of His creation behaves as He desires for us. How it must pain him to watch us toss that away.”

Jesus does not need to suffer every type of suffering. He suffered for our salvation. He suffered in body, spirit, and soul. He died. That is more than sufficient. It is an astounding act by God to not only become one of us, but to suffer and die for our salvation. The purpose of Jesus’ suffering was salvation. There would be no purpose to God permitting Christ to be sexually abused. And there are good reasons God did not permit that suffering.

There is no Church teaching saying that Jesus chose to suffer every type of suffering or did so suffer or needed to do so. Nothing in Church teaching supports the idea that Jesus should or did suffer sexual abuse in order to understand or be with those who suffer in that way. And if He had suffered sexual abuse, it would have had to have been for some reason pertaining to our path of salvation. And in that case, we would have been told. It would have been in Tradition, Scripture, Magisterium and the writings of Saints.

But there is something else wrong with Pezzulo’s claim. She speaks as if Jesus were not the Son of God, as if God the Father did not have the power to guide the events of the Passion and Crucifixion, as if Jesus necessarily had to suffer whatever the Romans wanted to do to Him because He were powerless. It is implicit in the way that she speaks about Jesus and suffering.

For the alleged abuse is not merely rape but sexual torture, as indicated in these quotes:

Pezzulo: “Part of the torture of crucifixion was the humiliation of hanging naked with the erection that can result when a grown man is hung by the arms like that. Sometimes they did worse things involving stakes, to increase the pain and humiliation. That’s how Christ died: naked, possibly with an erection, with the leaders of His people staring and laughing at Him.”

What sometimes happens when a mere human person, a fallen sinner who is not the Son of God, is crucified does not apply. First, He was wearing a loin cloth. Second, how does Pezzulo know what happened on the Cross? She doesn’t.

I’ve already proven that Jesus wore a loin cloth on the Cross; this was explained by Saint Bridget and by Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich, based on their visions from God. Further proof is found in the innumerable crucifixes since the dawn of Christianity which depict Christ in this manner.

Then, too, there is no reason that His experience of suffering and crucifixion had to be the same as that of other men. In fact, His Crucifixion was different in many ways: Pilate refused to condemn him directly; the soldier gave him a crown and a royal cloak; Pilate asked the crowd to release Jesus (but they preferred Barabbas); someone helped Him carry His cross; the sun was darkened for three hours while He was on the Cross; the veil of the temple was torn in two when He died; etc. So there is no reason to assume that the Crucifixion of the Son of God would be the same as most other crucifixions, nor the same as a scattering of unusual cases of crucifixion.

And it doesn’t matter what the physiological effects, in some persons, might be from crucifixion. As far as I could tell from some online research, the so-called death erection occurs in a minority of cases of death by suffocation; it is “present in one case in three” [5]. Scholars disagree on what causes the death of various persons who have been crucified; the only thing that is certain is that the causes of death vary from case to case. Again, Pezzulo takes something that happens to mere fallen sinners, only some of the time, and assumes that it happened to the Lord Jesus Christ, without any support for the claim in His case.

She also says: “Sometimes they did worse things involving stakes, to increase the pain and humiliation.” Wikipedia states: “Writings by Seneca the Younger state some victims suffered a stick forced upwards through their groin.[6]” Pezzulo references this procedure repeatedly. This was not usually the case, and if it had happened to Christ, it would have been reported in Tradition, Scripture, the Magisterium or the writings of Saints and Blesseds. It is not so reported. There is no reason to believe this occurred.

Pezzulo: “That’s how Christ died: naked, possibly with an erection, with the leaders of His people staring and laughing at Him. That’s sexual abuse. We know that that much happened, because it’s written right in the Gospel.”

The Gospel does not say Christ was sexually abused or raped. The Gospel does not say anything about an erection. The Gospel does not say Christ was naked on the Cross. (It says he was stripped at one point in time.)

Nothing remotely like Pezzulo’s claims of an erection and stakes in the groin or anus (see below) are found in the Gospels, or in any accounts of the Crucifixion of Jesus from ANY sources at all. And it does not matter what may have happened uncommonly or rarely to some persons in Roman crucifixions, the Crucifixion of the Son of God was unique. She continues her article, saying:

Pezzulo: “And then there’s everything else Romans were known to do to prisoners and crucifixion victims. Anal and vaginal rape were expected parts of that torture according to contemporary historians, as a Patheos colleague has already pointed out….”

“Christ was sexually abused in horrendous, traumatic ways- he was stripped and humiliated for the pleasure of sadistic men. He was likely also raped.” [1]

It doesn’t matter of a “Patheos colleague” repeated the same claim. It has no basis in any early Christian sources; it has no basis in any sources of Christian truth.

So now she is claiming that Jesus was raped during the time when He was stripped and mocked by the soldiers. At that point, He was not naked. Stripped does not necessarily mean zero clothing. In the Gospel, at one point, Peter is stripped for work in the boat, meaning stripped down to just a loin cloth. The Jews of that time were much more modest than some persons are today. Jesus was not naked until the scourging, and then after he resumed his loin cloth (according to St. Bridget and Bl. Emmerich). Jesus had a loin cloth on the Cross, according to almost every crucifix that ever existed.

On Twitter, Pezzulo was more explicit in the above claims:

Pezzulo: “All the sufferings of a Roman crucifixion, yes. Including the scourging and other brutalization by the Roman guards. Did you know it was standard for some Roman crucifixions to involve castration or a stake through the penis?”

Pezzulo: “Or a “seat” consisting of a stake up the anus in the middle of the cross? That one was especially torturous because it “helped” the victim breathe, drawing out his agony.”

Pezzulo: “Why do you think that being forcibly penetrated in the vagina or anus is bodily corruption but being forcibly penetrated in the hands and feet is not?”

Pezzulo: “How is that different, from the moral standpoint, on the victims part, from a Roman guard’s spear butt going into the anus?”

Again and again she insists on proposing acts of sexual torture of the Lord Jesus Christ, which would violate or corrupt the sacred body of the Son of God, a body forever joined to the Divine Nature, even after death. She repeated this over and over on Twitter, not only in her article, which she keeps reposting every year. What is the reason for this type of baseless claim and her vehement insistence on repeating it?

Also, the phrase “standard for some” is ridiculous. If it were “standard”, it would not be applied only to “some”.

Pezzulo is not the writer of a fifth Gospel, which contains this alleged new revelation. What she is writing is not Gospel truth, but fiction — and not any type of fiction, but sexually-explicit torture porn. The numerous quotes from Pezzulo above prove that her claim is not merely that He was raped, but that He was sexually tortured.

There is no basis for claiming that these types of sexual torture were done in all or most cases. And it certainly was not “standard” in Roman crucifixions. What Pezzulo is doing is taking the worst sexual torture she can find in any historical cases, however unusual or rare, and applying all of it to Christ the Lord, without any evidence at all.

What we have here is an author who writes a fictionalized account of the Crucifixion, adding in all of the sexual humiliations, rape and sexual tortures that she can find in any crucifixion in history. What she has done with these claims is to write a piece of fiction in which she adds, to the true story of the Crucifixion of the Son of God, details of him suffering sexual torture. She has written fictional accounts of the rape and sexual torture of Jesus Christ. These accounts are found nowhere but in her writings. It is irrelevant what the Romans did rarely or uncommonly to other victims of crucifixion. Jesus Christ’s Passion and Crucifixion was unique and under the providence of God, and it was described in the Gospels. Pezzulo’s claims are a type of perverse fan-fiction, where she re-imagines a character in a true historical account as being raped and sexually tortured. And if you disagree, she makes personal attacks.

Does she not believe that God was able to protect Jesus; or that he could not protect Himself?

{4:28} And all those in the synagogue, upon hearing these things, were filled with anger.
{4:29} And they rose up and drove him beyond the city. And they brought him all the way to the edge of the mount, upon which their city had been built, so that they might throw him down violently.
{4:30} But passing through their midst, he went away.

Jesus was able to avoid any suffering that He chose to avoid. That is why, before His suffering, He had to decide to suffer what the Father willed, when He was in agony in the garden.

{26:53} Or do you think that I cannot ask my Father, so that he would give me, even now, more than twelve legions of Angels?

God protected Jesus from certain types of suffering, not because that type of suffering was sin, but for other reasons. Those reasons and a summary of the proofs that Jesus was not sexually abused or sexually tortured are summarized:

1. The body of Jesus, being joined forever to the Divine Nature, is sacred; it is a Temple (Jn 2:19). It is holier than the Ark of the Covenant (1 Chron 13:10) which was not permitted to be touched.

2. It was not fitting for the body, forever joined to the Divine Nature, to be sexually violated.

3. Whatever can be said of Jesus, can be said of God. So we can truly say, in a manner of speaking, that God died on the Cross. But if Jesus were sexually abused or, as Pezzulo describes it, sexually tortured, then we would be able to say the same about God — which is blasphemous.

Yes, these detailed claims that Jesus, the Son of God, was raped and sexually tortured constitute one of the most severe types of blasphemy. Her claims are both pornographic and blasphemous.

4. God protected Jesus from having his legs broken on the Cross. God’s providence caused the spear to pierce His Side. God caused the sun to be darkened for three hours, while Christ was on the Cross. God caused the temple veil to be torn in two when Jesus died. The providence of God absolutely controlled what did and did not happen to Christ, so He was not subject to whatever the Romans wanted to do, usually did, or rarely did. These arguments do not apply, as God controlled these events by His Providence.

5. The sufferings of Jesus were for our salvation and therefore, Scripture tells us all those sufferings. There are no secret sufferings of Jesus in His Passion and Death, which were not told to us.

6. Tradition, Scripture, Magisterium and the writings of fathers, Doctors, Saints and Blesseds as well as less reliable sources (non-canonical gospels; private revelation) are entirely devoid of any mention of this type of suffering for Christ. If this very severe and very noteworthy type of suffering had occurred, it would have been written down and spoken of widely.

7. If Jesus had been sexually abused on the Cross or during His Passion, sinful human persons would use this as an excuse to commit all manner of sexual sins and sexual crimes. Imagine sex offenders, those inside or outside the Church, justifying the sexual abuse of their victims by relating it to what Christ experienced, or even doing to their victims what was done to Christ. God is not imprudent.

8. In addition, the world would ridicule the teachings of the Church on sexual ethics, saying it results only from the Lord being abused sexually, not from truth. And whenever Christians would be persecuted, they would be much more likely to be sexually abused or sexually tortured, if this had happened to Christ.

9. Jesus did not have to experience every type of suffering in order to know our suffering or in order to have compassion for us. He is God. No one is able to sexually violate God.

10. Jesus suffered crucifixion for our salvation. He did not suffer rape or sexual torture for our salvation. Our salvation is not based on sexual abuse. We are saved through the wounds of Christ. And so it is not fitting for us to be saved by sexual abuse, especially the torturous sexual abuse that Pezzulo describes.

There are more reasons that will be explained below. By comparison, Pezzulo presents no substantial arguments for what she is claiming. Here are her points:

a. The Romans sometimes sexually abused victims of crucifixion

b. being sexually abused is not a sin

c. Jesus suffered sexual abuse because He knew that some of us would

d. Pezzulo says that being scourged naked is sexual abuse, then she redefines sexual abuse to include all manner of other things never mentioned in the Gospels or anywhere else.

e. Pezzulo says that God permitted crucifixion, then she argues that God would therefore have permitted sexual abuse and sexual torture. Yes, much of what she describes is more accurately called sexual torture than sexual abuse. But just because God permitted the torture of Crucifixion does not mean that God would have permitted any type of torture at all.

Pezzulo implicitly assumes that Jesus could not have been protected from sexual abuse by God the Father, or by His own power, or by the holy Angels. Sexual abuse happened to a minority of crucified persons, but it did not happen to Christ because God did not will it so. God only willed and permitted by providence those sufferings that had a salvific purpose, and therefore we were told about those sufferings as it pertains to our salvation. There was no secret sexual abuse of Jesus.

Saint Bridget and Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich each recount the Passion of Christ based on visions from God. Emmerich was beatified by Pope Saint John Paul II. She had the stigmata. She was a religious nun who suffered much for the Lord Jesus. And her visions and recounting of the sufferings of Christ are very detailed. And yet there is not a hint of sexual abuse, other than the stripping and scourging.

In reply to this point, some persons have ridiculed Emmerich. Others have pointed out that we don’t have to believe what is in private revelation. But my point is not only what Bridget and Anne said, but what they did not say. Neither discloses sexual abuse. And such an event is also absent from every source of truth in Catholicism. Therefore, it did not happen.

Pezzulo: “We’re all accustomed to seeing Jesus on the cross in a cute white loincloth, which would have been bad enough according to the cultural taboos of His day.”

Facts: Nearly every crucifix for the last 2000 years shows Jesus with a loin cloth. The Church has never taught the contrary. Saint Bridget and Blessed Emmerich both had visions from God explaining that Jesus was permitted to have a loin cloth after the scourging. This covering provided Jesus and subsequently billions of worshippers with modesty by the providence of God.

Pezzulo falsely claims that there was a cultural taboo preventing Jesus from having a loin cloth. I’ve study and written Biblical chronology, specifically on first century B.C. and first century A.D. I’ve read Josephus, Cassius Dio, Tacitus, Suetonius, and many of the early Church fathers. There was no such taboo preventing him from wearing a loin cloth.

Also, the Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, who worked (healed) on the Sabbath, who permitted His disciples to eat grain from the fields on the second first Sabbath, who spoke of eating flesh and drinking blood, who defied the cultural taboo of handling and paying the Roman tax with Roman coins, and who commended David and his men for eating bread reserved for the priests, was not someone who was limited by cultural taboos. So, as Saints and Tradition attest, He wore a loin cloth on the Cross.

Pezzulo: “But the Romans actually crucified people naked.”

What the Romans did usually, or sometimes, or rarely, or even almost always does not change the unique experience of Christ on the Cross. The Son of God did not have the usual experience on the Cross of other human persons. For He is a person both human and divine. When He was on the Cross, the sun went dark. When He was on the Cross, the Angels wept. When He was on the Cross, the Blessed Virgin Mary shared in His sufferings to a marvelous and sorrowful extent. When He died on the Cross: “the veil of the temple was torn into two parts, from top to bottom. And the earth was shaken, and the rocks were split apart. And the tombs were opened. And many bodies of the saints, which had been sleeping, arose.” (Mt 27:51-52).

And what is most astounding, many Catholics do not believe the above account from Sacred Scripture, but they believe Pezzulo’s sexually perverse gospel. Yes, many have jumped to her defense, putting their faith in a gospel of sexual torture, abandoning the Gospel of Sacred Scripture.

{1:6} I wonder that you have been so quickly transferred, from him who called you into the grace of Christ, over to another gospel.
{1:7} For there is no other, except that there are some persons who disturb you and who want to overturn the Gospel of Christ.
{1:8} But if anyone, even we ourselves or an Angel from Heaven, were to preach to you a gospel other than the one that we have preached to you, let him be anathema.
{1:9} Just as we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone has preached a gospel to you, other than that which you have received, let him be anathema.

{3:1} O senseless Galatians, who has so fascinated you that you would not obey the truth, even though Jesus Christ has been presented before your eyes, crucified among you?

So it does not matter what the Romans did or did not do to those they were crucifying. What happened to Jesus in His Passion and Crucifixion was guided by the Providence of God, in fulfillment of the Scriptures, for our salvation. And everything was revealed to us, to those for whom He suffered, in Tradition, Scripture, Magisterium and by the Saints, Doctors, and fathers of the Church. There are not secret sufferings of Christ, which the Church had to wait 2000 years to learn.

When I took to Twitter to condemn this article of pornographic blasphemy written by Mary Pezzulo, she replied many times. Most of her replies were personal attacks on me: name-calling, ridicule, false accusations, misrepresentations of my writings on other topics. And a group of her online supporters then joined in the mockery and ridicule. I gave many replies on the topic of Pezzulo’s claims about Christ being abused. I avoided replying to the ad hominem attacks.

In her tweets, Pezzulo again asserts that Christ was sexually abused. She says it’s not wrong “to contemplate Christ the victim of sexual abuse.” Not wrong? Imagining the Son of God being sexually tortured is an exceedingly grave blasphemy. And calling such an exercise contemplation of Christ is a perverse lie. It is entirely incompatible with the love of God, to imagine the Son of God being raped and sexually tortured, and even to call this a type of prayerful contemplation.

Why Is This Claim Blasphemy

These claims by Mary Pezzulo about Jesus Christ, the Son of God, are blasphemy.

First, let’s see what the Catechism of the Catholic Church says about blasphemy. It is intrinsically evil and always gravely illicit (CCC 1756). Blasphemy is a mortal sin; it is “of its nature incompatible with the charity that orients man toward his ultimate end” and “it contradicts the love of God” (CCC 1856)

“Blasphemy is directly opposed to the second commandment. It consists in uttering against God – inwardly or outwardly – words of hatred, reproach, or defiance; in speaking ill of God; in failing in respect toward him in one’s speech; in misusing God’s name. St. James condemns those “who blaspheme that honorable name [of Jesus] by which you are called.” [James 2:7] The prohibition of blasphemy extends to language against Christ’s Church, the saints, and sacred things…. Blasphemy is contrary to the respect due God and his holy name. It is in itself a grave sin. (CCC 2148)

“The second commandment forbids every improper use of God’s name. Blasphemy is the use of the name of God, of Jesus Christ, of the Virgin Mary, and of the saints in an offensive way.” (CCC 2162).

How do assertions in the article by Pezzulo constitute blasphemy?

First and foremost, her descriptions propose a severe violation of the sacred body of Christ, the Son of God, a body always joined to the Divine Nature, from conception and even after death. This false claim, unsupported by Tradition, Scripture, Magisterium or any other Christian sources, speaks ill of God to an extreme extent; fails in respect toward God to an extreme extent; reproaches and denigrates Christ in His whole Person and especially His body; and dishonors, disrespects, and offends the Lord Jesus Christ, during the very sufferings which obtained our salvation.

Since whatever can be said of Christ Jesus can be said of God, her words are a direct insult to almighty God, as she falsely claims that God was raped and sexually tortured. And she many times gives explicit descriptions of these acts against God.

Her claims about the rape and sexual torture of Jesus fail in respect in speech toward Christ to an extreme extent. She offends against His sacred body when she describes sexual torture occurring to the Lord, while He is in the very act of obtaining our salvation. But instead of describing the salvific sufferings clearly expressed in Sacred Scripture, she invents fictional sufferings of rape and sexual torture.

These words which she utters against the Lord offend against His sacred Name, His sacred body, and the Father’s sacred plan for our salvation. She reproaches Christ by treating Him as if he were no different than any fallen sinner, any victim of crucifixion, as if God would not protect Him from the abuses she claims were used by the Romans against other victims of crucifixion, even as if God were unable to protect Him.

Her blasphemy against Jesus Christ is sexually explicit, describing acts of sexual torture, making this an example also of pornographic blasphemy. It is a type of blasphemy that applies sexually explicit words and deeds to God, Jesus, and the most sacred events in the plan of God for salvation.

In another article by Pezzulo, she also blasphemes against Christ. In this one, titled “Blasphemy, Scandal and the Divine Victim” (2019) she defends her claims that the Lord was sexually abused. But she adds further blasphemies by speaking of Christ in a demeaning and explicit manner regarding different bodily functions. But she has no qualms in speaking about the Lord, the Son of God, in such a denigrating manner.

In that other article, she states: “It was also common practice to castrate crucifixion victims, or crucify them with a stake stuck up their anus or through the genitals.” [3]

Regarding bodily functions of Jesus and Mary, first, explicitly describing these is blasphemy, as it is insulting and demeaning. You would not write an article about a Pope or a President or a popular singer and discuss these things. You would not, in writing a news article about someone who was raped, described the abuses in detail. And since Christ was certainly not sexually abused in His Passion, it is even worse when the degrading descriptions are false.

In addition, what many people fail to understand is that Jesus and Mary are unfallen. They did not have original sin at conception. They have unfallen bodies. Therefore, their bodies are not subject to the usual disorders that affect the fallen. Yes, they still ate and drank, and these things eventually passed out to the sewer (Mt 15:17). But this point is too far from the present topic. Jesus is like us in all things but sin, which includes original sin. So Jesus and Mary are what we would be like if we were not fallen. But “like us in all things but sin” does not include every possible indignity or suffering.

In any case, it is also blasphemy to speak or treat the Blessed Virgin Mary in the same insulting manner. This type of blasphemy is indirect. God is insulted by insulting those who are closest to God: Mary, the Saints, the Popes. By claiming that the Son of God was sexually abused on the Cross, Pezzulo implies that the Blessed Virgin Mary (and the other holy women and Saint John the Evangelist, who witness the suffering of Jesus on the Cross) witnessed this sexual abuse of her Son. And that is also a type of blasphemy, against Mary and the Saints who were with her.

In her article, Blasphemy, Scandal and the Divine Victim (2019), Pezzulo also claims Jesus was sexually abused at the Crucifixion. She notes that many persons disagree. Then she says: “As far as I’m concerned, you are free to believe what you like.” That is not actually a true statement. When I disagreed on Twitter, she and a group of her supporters uttered all kinds of calumny against me. They engaged in name-calling, ridicule, false accusations, and hateful rhetoric. Then Pezzulo wrote a new article [4] telling lies about me and making personal attacks.

During the Twitter “debate”, Pezzulo began to scan the internet looking for complaints to make against me on other subjects. This went on for many more tweets than she used to discuss her position in her article. In her article from 2019, she also says: “It surprises me a bit how angry people got.” Well, maybe they get angry because you make personal attacks, denigrate, mock, and falsely accuse anyone who disagrees with your claim that Jesus was sexually abused. And it is quite a strange thing that she proposes this baseless claim, and then viciously attacks anyone who disagrees.

One commenter on Pezzulo’s blog called the article alleging the abuse of Jesus:
Rebecca • 2 years ago
“Utter blasphemy. Horrific, scurrilous, monstrous blasphemy.”

Thank you, Rebecca.

Another commentator on the original article, Cotta3513, had several good points:

“you can’t replace this evidence by just making up assumptions. You’re doing the same thing regarding Jesus: you just assume that Roman soldiers always raped everyone, citing Josephus’ comments about specific cases, not universal policy. I don’t think any historian believes that this was the universal policy.”

[After talking about St. Joan of Arc] “And on the subject of crucifixion, you’re taking isolated cases and pretending that this was the universal norm. Show any evidence that it was the universal norm.”

“I asked for evidence showing that this took place “very often”, and (more to the point) evidence that it was done to Jesus. You’re just repeating your previous claims rather than citing evidence, and you’re also citing castration to somehow justify the rape claim. You had previously claimed that crucified men had erect penises while hanging on the cross, while now claiming they were castrated first. Can’t be both at the same time. The bottom line is that there’s no evidence of what happened to Jesus aside from the description in the Bible (which doesn’t mention rape or castration) and the more vague description by Tacitus, who just says Jesus was crucified.”

“If there was evidence of it, I would accept it; but you haven’t provided any evidence at all. Resorting to ad hominem arguments (trying to make this about me rather than the evidence) is the last resort for those who have no valid argument to make.”

Well said, Cotta3513. On Twitter, Pezzulo make numerous ad hominem attacks and arguments against me, also. Then “Thinking Matters” also made comments on the original article with good points:

“I can see some glaring problems here.

“Firstly, the claim that acts of violence and humiliation are sexual abuse because they involved an aspect of bodily nudity, or a bodily function normally associated with the sexual act – I would seriously challenge whether this is actually a true definition of what sexual abuse is, as it seems to be lacking other aspects that are essential to acts that would properly be acts of sexual abuse (like some form or intent, or an actual sexual act.)

“Secondly, making assertions about Roman torture and then trying to apply them to the execution of Christ without any sound scholarly evidence to back up those claims – just a ‘the Romans did this in other cases, so they must have also done it to Christ in this case’ – isn’t evidence, let alone proof, that those alleged things did actually happen in this case. Yet, despite that fact, by the end of the article it is being claimed that these unproven speculations are actually indisputable facts.

“Thirdly, this article seems to be predicated on the notion that, while on earth, Christ had to experience every possible form of abuse, victimisation, and suffering that we humans are capable of experiencing in order to give dignity to the victims of those various sufferings and abuses, and to offer a full and total redemption to humanity’s sufferings.

“But clearly this is not true, because there are forms of abuse and suffering that Christ never experienced – like adultery, or losing a child to murder or disease – yet he still suffers with those people just as much as he suffers with people who may have experienced things He did experience while on earth.

“Such an approach to Christ’s suffering, and how the Incarnation redeems humanity completely misses the point that on the Cross Christ experienced a level of suffering beyond anything that any human being has ever had to endure, and in doing so, he is united with us in ANY and EVERY form of suffering we can experience in this life regardless of whether He experienced our specific form of suffering during His earthly life or no”

Pezzulo claims these objections “really shows the contempt they have for victims”. Oh, really? I think it shows the contempt that she has for Christ, the Son of God. She never in any of these articles treats him like the Son of God, the Lord, the Savior, but as if He were no different than any other victim of crucifixion by the Roman, even as if He were the least of those victims. Yes, she speaks of Jesus as a victim of sexual abuse, not as the Victim Lamb of God, not as God-made-man, not as the Lord. And that is contempt for Christ.

Another article by Mary Pezzulo replies to my objections from Twitter. It was posted April 2, 2021. Good Friday and the Scandal of Christ the Victim. Her defense is to accuse anyone who disagrees with her of mistreating victims of abuse or having some type of bias against victims of abuse.

Pezzulo: “And for the third year in a row, I had people accuse me of blasphemy and disrespecting Christ.”

You would think that after a while, she might listen and repent. But pride goeth before a fall.

Pezzulo: “Mr. Conte accuses me of writing the article this year, for some reason; he’s apparently not familiar with my work.”

I’m not familiar with her work. And getting the date wrong on her article, which I corrected in this post, is not an accusation. Some of her complaints don’t even make any sense.

Pezzulo: “He then he goes on to say that my article is blasphemy because Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich had a vision involving a loincloth.”

Wow. That is nothing like what I said. It is not even a remotely correct description of my complaint. Her article is blasphemy for saying that Christ, the Son of God, was raped and sexually tortured, and because there is no basis in any source of Catholic teaching for that false claim, and because she speaks in such a degrading manner about this claim, using sexually explicit terms many times over.

I referenced Emmerich only on two points, that she describes Jesus taking up a loin cloth after the scourging, just as Saint Bridget also describes; and that Emmerich and St. Bridget’s descriptions of the Passion and Crucifixion are very extensive and detailed, but have absolutely no indications that Jesus was raped or sexually abused (other than being scourged naked). So I did not reference Emmerich to prove that her article is blasphemy, and the loin cloth has nothing to do with the accusation of blasphemy. Her claim is a severe distortion.

Pezzulo then spends must space denigrating Emmerich’s visions. But my arguments do not depend upon her visions. Everything I say still stands without Emmerich. The main argument is that there are absolutely no Christian sources for this claim about the Lord Jesus. Then there are several theological reasons why this type of abuse could not occur to Christ; none are based on Emmerich.

Pezzulo: “Conte then got obsessed with the notion that because Christ and Mary were free from “bodily corruption,” that meant it was impossible for them to be victims of sexual abuse or rape.”

Pezzulo got obsessed with the notion that Jesus was sexually tortured. And the reasons that Christ and Mary cannot possibly be victims of sexual abuse or rape includes not only their freedom from bodily corruption of any kind, but the many other reasons stated (and numbered) above.

Now it is true that Jesus and Mary are free from both original sin and personal sin. So they each have unfallen bodies. This means that their bodies, ordinarily, are not subject to corruption of any kind; they are not subject to disease, injury, death, or the decay of the body after death. And God would never permit them to be the victims of sexual violation or abuse. The scourging of Christ while naked was permissible because nudity is not a sexual violation, and because it proves, to the weak in faith, that Christ was fully human. But nothing further was permitted by way of sexual abuse, as Christ’s body is sacred, being always joined to the Divine Nature. Then Mary’s body is sacred in a different sense, since her body carried the Savior in her womb, and gave birth and nursed the Savior. So both had unfallen and sacred bodies which God would not permit to be sexually violated.

For the sake of our salvation, the Trinity willed that Jesus would suffer and die, and that Mary would suffer in a different way, as we know from the Gospels. But the bodies of Jesus and Mary were incorrupt after death. Jesus rose from the dead. Mary is believed to have died, been raised from the dead by Christ, and then (we know the dogma that she) was assumed into Heaven. So their bodies were free from corruption, being unfallen and sacred.

More important is the fact that the body of Jesus, being joined to the Divine Nature is Sacred. Therefore, the most holy Trinity would never permit that body at any time to be violated by rape or sexual torture, nor by decay after death. Then the body of Mary is sacred in a different lesser sense, having borne the child Jesus from His virginal conception and Incarnation to His virgin birth. Therefore, God would never permit the body of Mary to be violated by rape. In fact, as we know from dogma, Mary was ever-virgin. She never had even consensual sex, as her body is a type of temple in which dwelt the Son of God.

Ronald L Conte Jr
Roman Catholic theologian
and Bible translator

[1] My Intention for a Dark Lent – 3/6/2019 earlier mention of this claim
[2] Was Jesus Really Sexually Abused? – original article 3/7/2019
[3] Blasphemy, Scandal and the Divine Victim 3/9/2019 defending her claims
[4] Good Friday and the Scandal of Christ the Victim 4/2/2021 post attacking me
[5] William Augustus Guy (1861). Principles of Forensic Medicine. London: Henry Renshaw
[6] Wikipedia, Crucifixion
[7] Tweet by @mary_pezzulo

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4 Responses to Was Jesus Really Sexually Abused? No.

  1. Great article! keep up the good work, Ron.

  2. King Robert the Bruce says:

    Why does that blogger feel the need to write those allegations its quite disturbing for her to claim this happened as fact and then double down on it when you confronted her about these lies Ron.

    • Ron Conte says:

      Yes, and she has reposted this article yearly, around the time of lent, 3 years, plus other posts supporting this claim. And then on Twitter, she repeats the same claims and engages in name-calling and false accusations against me and a few others for challenging this idea. And then she complains that someone called her a name.

  3. mary murphy says:

    Just another attention-seeking crazy person.

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