By using the Arthurian myth of the Grail King, Kennedy explained the church's discomfort with sexuality in terms of an "unhealed wound." According to the myth, King Anfortas
was "wounded in a joust, by a poisoned spear through his testicles, so severely he could not be healed."
In Parzival, after all, the old Grail king, Anfortas
, is punished with a symbolic wound in the genitals for 'serving' Orgeluse, and it is Wolfram's prospective new Grail king, Parzival, who, rejecting the self-same Orgeluse's advances out of loyalty to his wife, comes to establish his superior credentials with regard to the holding of the sacred office.
In a defining moment of his life, Parzival visited the castle of Anfortas
, the Fisher King and keeper of the Grail.
The Middle High German version of the story by Wolfram von Eschenbach (which later served as Wagner's main source for Parsifal) likewise does not tie up the imagery in a close symbolic network.(67) It is true that in Wolfram's version Anfortas
's wound was inflicted and alleviated - though not healed outright - by the lance, which in this way had perhaps come to embody both the idea of sin and evil, and, potentially, its cure.(68) There is, however, no suggestion that it should be explicitly identified with the spear of Longinus.