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Jim Frederick wrote:

Hi, guys —

In my anatomy class we were talking about the bubonic plague, and my instructor said during this time people did not bathe because the teachings of the Catholic Church did not approve of bathing.

  • Is this true?
  • Did the Catholic Church teach that bathing was vain and would be seen as sin, punishable under the wrath of God?

What I'm finding is the reason bathing was discouraged was to help prevent the spreading of the disease.

Thanks,

Jim

  { Did the Catholic Church forbid people to bathe during the era of the bubonic plague? }

Mary Ann replied:

Hi, Jim —

The Church never discouraged bathing, officially. Members of the Church, did, however, take on some of the values of their own culture.

After the Fall of the Roman Empire, with the consequent lost of technology and conveniences (such as plumbing and bathhouses), the values and practices of the so-called barbarians began to predominate (since they conquered).

In some peoples, bathing was considered frivolous or unnecessary, whereas wealthy Romans bathed every day.

Mary Ann

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