Home > History > Pope Joan And Patriarchal Folly

Pope Joan And Patriarchal Folly

Here is a legend:

During the Middle Ages, a learned woman named Joan may or may not have risen to the rank of pope by disguising herself as a man. Google Pope Joan if you like.

This brings us to the quote of the year, so far. In The Secrets of the Tarot: Origins, History, and Symbolism, Barbara G. Walker writes:

“Whether Pope Joan was legendary or not, a strange Vatican custom appeared after what the church insisted was not her reign. Candidates for the papacy seated themselves naked on an open stool, like a toilet seat, to be viewed through a hole in the floor by cardinals in a room below. The committee then had to render a formal verdict: Testiculos habet, et bene pendentes—-“He has testicles, and they hang all right.”

The men of the church would rather gaze up at an old guy’s scrotum than mistakenly allow a woman to assume power.

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