Sunday, 15 March 2009

It burned, drowned and decapitated women as witches, didn't it?

Last week fern hill blogged about the cruel inconsistencies in the Catholic Church, as its bishops pontificated over the life of a nine year-old Brazilian girl.

The Catholic Church has always been quick to pass judgement against women and girls, and yet been generously lenient with its pedophile clerics. More evidence of its centuries-old tradition of doctrinal misogyny came to the surface in Kent, England last month. From here:

The medieval remains of a teenage girl who may have been suspected of witchcraft are to be given a Christian burial and funeral. The skeleton, found by Faversham-based archaeologist Dr Paul Wilkinson, is thought to be from the 14th or 15th century.

It was found in unconsecrated ground under a holly tree, next to Hoo St Werburgh parish church, near Rochester. The remains would normally be left in archives for future archaeological reference, but the vicar of Hoo, the Rev Andy Harding, has asked for the body to be returned so she can be re-buried in the church grounds. ...

When they found the remains, the girl’s skull had been removed from the body and placed carefully beside it, meaning she may have either committed suicide or was suspected of being a witch or a criminal. He said: ..."She was buried facing east with her head very carefully placed beside her body." ... Pottery found in the area dates back to medieval times and so it is suspected the body, which is currently being held at the University of Kent, was from the same period.

It should be mentioned that this young woman's decapitation and burial took place when was Hoo St Werburgh parish was under the ecclesiastical rule of the Vatican. Yesterday her body was given the dignity of a Christian burial. From here:

Her body has now been reburied in the church's main graveyard. The girl was affectionately named Holly by church officials because her remains were found beside a holly tree used over many years to decorate the church at Christmas.

Speaking at Saturday's public funeral service, the Reverend Andy Harding, vicar of Hoo, said: "Whoever this young girl is, whatever she had done, innocent or guilty, she and everyone deserves a dignified and respectable funeral. "If she had faced a trial then her death was the human penalty and she has paid in full. If she took her own life then today's culture tells us that she deserves pity and understanding, not damnation and brutality." He added: "Holly had an horrific end and the treatment of her body was brutal."

Removing the young girl's head had been an "extra punishment meant to last an eternity". Mr Harding said that if she had come from the area, then she had now completed her journey and been given the proper burial denied to her several hundred years ago.

Hoo St Werburgh parish now belongs to the Church of England, which may explain why the clergy found it appropriate and Christian to bury her in consecrated ground.


Alison said...


deBeauxOs said...

Yes? There is something that you'd like to add to your fickied finger of fate?


Post a Comment