In Christianity, female sexuality has always been a bit of an ongoing issue. It’s no wonder then that there’s a long history of menstrual stigmas in the Catholic Church. In certain conservative denominations menstruating women still can’t receive communion.
Back in the beginning of Christianity, Jesus broke some of the then prevailing taboos as he allowed a haemorrhaging woman to touch him and cured her. Despite this, in early western cultures menstruating women were still considered dangerous. For centuries women weren’t allowed to touch holy objects, wear holy clothing or preach.
It was mainly because of their menstrual blood that women were seen as unclean and therefore couldn’t obtain positions of authority in Christianity. The Corpus Iuris Canonici (1234-1916) forbade the communion for women who were on their period. In 1917 the new Code of Canon Law by the Pope didn’t bother with separate bans for menstruating women and just forbade things such as becoming mass servers at the altar for all girls and women. A lot of these bans have only been lifted by the Catholic Church in 1983.
In modern Christianity there are no menstrual taboos. However, some Catholics still believe women shouldn’t have sex when on their period. Also there are certain conservative orthodox denominations that have menstruation related rules and for example don’t allow menstruating women to receive communion or perform prayers. Russian orthodox Christians even believe that a menstruating woman’s stare can influence the weather negatively.
The Bible’s instructions for women
Menstruating? Fasting forbidden!
Pure or impure: that’s the question
Just a natural excretion
Impure for 14 days
Honour your menstruation