At least, I have heard this assertion several times from different people, so it must be true.
Or is it?
But that did not stop this terrible misunderstanding from spreading to anti-Catholic bigots who were only too willing to believe it. Read the rest here.
A young scholar, Valentius Acidalius, was working as a teacher in Silesia, and, like many young scholars, he was short of money. He thought to turn an honest penny by publishing a “diverting” pamphlet. In Latin the word homo, like the word man in English, primarily means “a human being, male or female, young or old,” but has the secondary meaning of “adult male.” Valentius thought it would be fun to use this ambiguity to “show” that in the Bible only adult males have souls. If he thought the pamphlet would amuse, he was grievously wrong. Simon Geddicus, a Lutheran scholar, launched a mighty counter-pamphlet entitled A Defense of the Female Sex, in which he proposed... to “destroy each and every one of the arguments put forward by Valentius,” [who] took a seizure and died.
The pamphlet, however, often bound with the refutation by Simon Geddicus, survived, and it appears that it was published at Lyons in France in 1647... [T]he offending book caught the attention of Pope Innocent X, who put it on the Index of Prohibited Books (Decree of June 18, 1651). So much for the allegation that the Church holds that women do not have souls.
If you repeat a lie enough times...