Catholic blogger, Mary Pezzulo stirred up a bit of controversy this Lent when she published, Was Jesus Really Sexually Abused? 

I must admit, it was a question that hadn’t even crossed my mind before.

Pezzulo’s basis for raising it comes from both a reading of the Gospel accounts of the crucifixion as well as historical research into the torturous methods of the Romans.

Pezzulo wrote, “The ancient Romans were, as a culture, sadistic. They got off on hurting and humiliating people. And a gang of sadistic Roman soldiers ripped a Man’s clothes off and whipped Him while He was stark naked, then they forcibly dressed Him in a humiliating costume, beat Him up again, ripped the costume off, and threw His own clothes back on Him. That’s sexual abuse.”

Some of her readers pushed back on this. They agreed it was abusive behavior, but questioned whether his forced public nakedness constituted sexual abuse.

Pezzulo countered with, “Pretend it’s the first time you’ve heard that story.”

And when you do try to imagine encountering it for the first time, being forcibly disrobed and mocked certainly has the elements of a sexual assault.

But Mary Pezzulo lost a lot of readers when she pushed her argument even further, speculating on what she claimed was standard operating procedure for those brutish Romans.