In the good old days...
Pius noted that the Third Lateran Council (1179) had decreed that those clerics guilty of sodomy, the crime for which “the wrath of God came upon the children of unbelief,” were to be confined in monasteries or be removed from the clerical order altogether. However, the pope expressed his concern that such a penalty was too mild, particularly for those who “do not fear the death of the soul.”
“Lest the contagion of such a disgrace, from the hope of impunity – which is the greatest incentive to sin – strengthen in boldness, we have decided that the clerics who are guilty of this nefarious crime are to be more gravely punished, so that the avenger of the civil laws, the secular sword, might certainly deter those who do not fear the death of the soul,” wrote Pius.
He therefore decreed that “any and all priests and other secular and regular Clergy of whatever grade and dignity who practice such a dire sin we deprive of every clerical privilege, and of every Ecclesiastical office, dignity, and benefit, by the authority of the present canon,” and added that they should then be “handed over to the secular power, which may exact from them that same punishment that is received by laity who have fallen into this ruin, which is found to be constituted in legitimate ordinances.”
At that time, the “legitimate ordinances” of many jurisdictions in Europe decreed death, castration, or forfeiture of one’s property for the crime of sodomy.