Nosti quantis turpitudinibus immoderata mea libido corpora nostra addixerat, ut nulla honestatis vel Dei reverentia in ipsis etiam diebus Dominicae passionis, vel quantarumcunque solemnitatum ad huius luti volutabro me revocaret. set et te nolentem et prout poteras reluctantem et dissuadentem, quae natura infirmior eras, saepius minis ac flagellis ad consensum trahebam. tanto enim tibi concupiscentiae ardore copulatus eram, ut miseras illas et obscenessimas voluptates, quas etiam nominare confundimur, tam Deo quam mihi ipsi praeponerem: nec tam aliter consulere posse divina videretur clementia, nisi has mihi voluptates sine spe ulla omnino interdiceret. unde iustissime et clementissime licet cum summa tui avunculi proditione ut in multis crescerem, parte illa corporis sum minutus, in quam libidinis regnum erat, et tota huius concupiscentiae causa consistebat, ut iuste illud plecteretur membrum, quod in nobis commiserat totum, et expiaret patiendo quod deliquerat oblectando, et ab his me spurcitiis, quibus me totum quasi luto immerseram, tam mente quam corpore circumcideret; et tanto sacris etiam altaribus idoniorem efficeret, quanto me nulla hinc amplius carnalium contagio pollutionum revocarent.
(Peter Abelard, Epist. 5, PL 178, 206C-207A)
You know the depths of shame to which my unbridled lust had consigned our bodies, until no reverence for decency or for God even during the days of Our Lord’s Passion, or of the greater sacraments could keep me from wallowing in this mire. Even when you were unwilling, resisted to the utmost of your power and tried to dissuade me, as yours was the weaker nature I often forced you to consent with threats and blows. So intense were the fires of lust which bound me to you that I set those wretched, obscene pleasures, which we blush even to name, above God as above myself; nor would it seem that divine mercy could have taken action except by forbidding me these pleasures altogether, without future hope. And so it was wholly just and merciful, although by means of the supreme treachery of your uncle, for me to be reduced in that part of my body which was the seat of lust and sole reason for those desires, so that I could increase in many ways; in order that this member should justly be punished for all its wrongdoing in us, expiate in suffering the sins committed for its amusement and cut me off from the slough of filth in which I had been wholly immersed in mind as in body. Only thus could I become more fit to approach the holy altars, now that no contagion of carnal impurity would ever again call me from them. (tr. Betty Radice)