Nicaea 325, clergy’s rights
affirmed at Trullo 692
According to A.W. Richard Sipe's book A Secret World – Sexuality and the Search for Celibacy, 1990, the concept that the offerers of a sacrifice should remain untainted by sexual encounters goes back to ancient civilizations. He provides such examples as the yellow-capped Lamas of Tibet, the ascetic hermits of Egypt, the virgin priestesses of Thebes, the Astorte [? Astarte] cult of Syria, the primitive worshipers of Dodona, the Vestal Virgins of ancient Rome, and the temple priests of the Aztecs. (page 35).
David Rice presents a comprehensive historical look at celibacy in his book about resigned priests entitled, Shattered Vows. Rice credits Catholic theologian Edward Schillebeeckx in The Church with a Human Face with asserting that clerical celibacy
originated in "a partly pagan notion of ritual purity," as Sipe indicates with the aforementioned examples. At the Council of Nicaea in 325, a proposal to require celibacy for all priests was defeated and at the Council of Trullo in 692, marriage rights for priests were reasserted. (Rice page 161).
Schillebeeckx says that, first in the fourth century came a law that forbade a married priest from having sexual intercourse the night before celebrating the Eucharist. However, when the Western Church began celebrating a daily mass, abstinence became a permanent factor for married priests.
"At the origin of the law of abstinence, and later the law of celibacy," said Schillebeeckx, "we find an antiquated anthropology and ancient view of sexuality." (ibid). Rice follows with a quotation from St. Jerome which expressed the views of both pagans and Christians at the time that, "All sexual intercourse is impure." (ibid).
Because the resulting implication of a priest living with his wife like a brother led many priests into "deplorable situations," in 1139 the Second Lateran Council forbade the marriage of priests altogether and declared all existing marriages involving priests null and void. (ibid).
"One does not approach the altar and consecrated vessels with soiled hands," had been the pagan view and then became the cornerstone for compulsory Christian [Roman Catholic, really] celibacy. (ibid). Other not-necessarily concurrent or chronological developments also contributed to the establishment of the celibacy requirement for Catholic priests. More bishops began to be chosen from the ranks of monks who had already taken monastic vows of chastity.
Another factor was an economic development as the Church began acquiring its own property. According to Rice, there was a real danger that legitimate children of
priests could inherit and deprive the Church of its land. At the time, common law prevented illegitimate children from inheriting property.
In reality, the 1139 law did not enact celibacy but merely changed marriage into concubinage. Rice quotes from a document on celibacy prepared by church historian Hubert Jedin for the Second Vatican Council [1962-65]:
"It would be a mistake to imagine that these permanent concubines, especially in the countryside, would have aroused a lot of scandal," said Jedin. "We know of many cases where these 'keepers of concubines' possessed the sympathies of their parishioners and were looked upon as good and virtuous pastors." (ibid page 162)
No finer mind than Thomas Aquinas (Summa Theologia II-IIa, 88, 11) had provided stubborn opposition to those who saw celibacy rulings as part of divine law.
Thomas [Aquinas] contended that the celibacy requirement for Catholic priests was merely Church law that could be reversed at any time by papal or conciliar authority. (MacGregor pages 108-109).
When the Reformation indirectly brought forth the Council of Trent in the mid 1500's [Italy, 1545-63], the Roman Catholic Church reformed itself and remodelled the priesthood to its present form. Not only did the Council reiterate the Church's prohibition of a married clergy but also instituted reforms to try to insure the implementation of the decrees of the Church on this subject.
Since the Council of Trent, celibacy has remained Church law, specifically upheld by Pope Paul VI in his 1967 encyclical Sacerdotalis Caelibatus. Despite opposition from half of the bishops attending the Synod of 1971, requests from bishops in the United States, France, and Latin America in 1988, Pope John Paul II has not budged from his opposition to a married priesthood. – From "Celibacy is the issue," Thomas G. Lederer, M.A, 1992, www.arthur street.com/ celibacy 1993.html
By John C. Massam – The Christian Scriptures
In 1st Peter it could be interpreted that his son was with him in a missionary city: "Your sister in Babylon, who is with you among the chosen, sends you greetings; so does my son, Mark." (1 Peter 5:13) *
Appoint mature married fathers as clergy: "The overseer therefore must be blameless, a husband of one wife, moderate in habits, sound in mind, orderly, hospitable, qualified to teach, not given to wine, not a smiter, but reasonable, not belligerent, not a lover of money, a man presiding over his own household in a fine manner, having his children in subjection with all seriousness. (For, if a man does not know how to preside over his own household, how can he take care of God's community?) Not a newly-converted man, for fear that he might get puffed up and fall into the judgement passed upon the Devil. Moreover, he should also have a fine testimony from people on the outside, lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the Devil." (1 Timothy 3:2-7)
"… appoint elders in every town, in the way that I told you, that is, each of them must be a man of
irreproachable character, husband of one wife, and his children must be believers and not liable to be charged with disorderly conduct or insubordination. The presiding elder has to be irreproachable since he is God's representative; never arrogant or hot-tempered, nor a heavy drinker or violent, nor avaricious; but hospitable and a lover of goodness; sensible, upright, devout and self-controlled, and he must have a firm grasp of the unchanging message of the tradition, so that he can be counted on both for giving encouragement in sound doctrine and for refuting those who argue against it." (Titus 1: 5 - 9)
"… to avoid fornication, every man ought to have his own wife and every woman her own husband." (1 Corinthians 7:2)
"The husband should fulfil his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband. The wife's body does not belong to her alone but also to her husband. In the same way, the husband's body does not belong to him alone but also to his wife." (1 Corinthians 7:3-4)
"Do not deprive each other except by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control." (1 Corinthians 7:5)
"Now to the unmarried and the widows I say … if they do not contain themselves, let them marry, for it is better to marry than to burn." (1 Cor 7:8-9) Now, isn't that guidance to clergy etc. who find the R.C. puritanism no good for their mammal bodies, nor the bodies and minds of the altar boys and girls, and the choir girls and boys?
"What I mean, brothers, is that the time is short. From now on those who have wives should live as if they had none …" (1 Corinthians 7:29) **
Wives accompanied missioners on their journeys, says Paul: "Don't we have every right to be accompanied by a sister, a wife, like the other apostles, like the Lord's brothers, and like Cephas?" (1 Corinthians 9:5) Denying this, the RCC adopted the "no-sex" mindset by insisting that Mary was always a virgin, therefore had no other children after her "first-born son," thus denying the four named brothers and the unnamed sisters were Mary's children! Expulsion from the Holy Family!
It was foretold that false teachers would forbid marriage: "The inspired spirit says definitely that in later appointed times some will fall away from the faith, leaning toward errant spirits and teachings of demons, in hypocrisy of liars, marked with a hot iron in their conscience; forbidding to marry …" (1 Timothy 4:1-3)
Jesus said: "Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall never pass away." (Bible, Matthew 24:35)
"He must have a firm grasp of the unchanging message of the tradition, so that he can be counted on both for giving encouragement in sound doctrine and for refuting those who argue against it." (Titus 1: 9)
"Therefore, brothers, stand fast, and hold the traditions which you have been taught, whether by word, or by our letter." (2 Thessalonians 2:15)
"But if anyone is not obedient to our word through this letter, keep this one marked not to associate with him, in order that he might become ashamed." (2 Thess. 3:14).
"Even if we or an angel out of heaven were to preach to you as gospel besides the gospel that we preached to you, let him be accursed." (Galatians 1:8)
John wrote: "Anyone who does not stay with the teaching of Christ, but goes beyond it, does not have God. … If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, never receive him into your homes or say a greeting to him. For anyone that greets him is a sharer in his wicked works." (2 John 9-11)
"Fight hard for the faith which has been once for all delivered to the holy ones." (Jude, verse 3)
The Council of Toledo (A.D. 400) had decreed that "if the wives of any clergy sinned" the husbands should "keep them bound in their house, compelling them to salutary fasting" and "macerating them with stripes and hunger." – Nicholas Carter, The Late Great Book, the Bible, 1985, Truth Missions, Manhattan Beach (California), ISBN 0-910607-01-X, p 79.
Thomas Aquinas, Summa Contra Gentiles, 1259-64
A good example of this is the works of Aristotle. A fourth century B.C. Greek philosopher, his worldview made a rather unexpected comeback in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries.
In 1210, the teachings of Aristotle were banned by the Catholic hierarchy. In 1230, Aristotle's works were revised to the satisfaction of the magisterium. By 1255, Aristotle's worldviews were required in the Catholic university syllabus. However, in 1270, the Bishop of Paris condemned as heretical 18 propositions being taught by Aristotelian professors, and a student of that school of thought, Thomas Aquinas, was condemned seven years later. [Was this after his death, reported as 1274 ? :-) ]
In 1624, French law stated that anything taught that contradicted Aristotle would be punished by death. The interesting aspect of this pattern of dogma is the complete lack of flexibility or dialogue involved in Catholic theology as it is/was viewed by the magisterium. There was no ability to step back and look and say: we've just overturned last year's dogma; is it possible that there may be more than one solution to our question? The answer was invariably "no," that the Catholic hierarchy knew best, that Catholic followers were indeed like sheep, innocent children incapable of doing anything other than following their dogmatic lead. – Extract from "Celibacy is the issue," Thomas G. Lederer, M.A, 1992, <www.arthurstreet.com/celibacy 1993.html>.** NOTICE: In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is available here without profit to people who want to read it for research and educational purposes. If you quote from this, please check (if possible) and acknowledge the ORIGINAL source. **
… there is the temptation to ask how it could possibly have taken the Church thirteen years [even longer – see Msgr. Pio Paschini, book, Vita et opere di Galileo Galilei, 1964, Vatican Press, Rome; 9 May 1983 Pope John Paul II reversed the 1633 Catholic condemnation of Galileo.] to confirm the fact that the Earth does indeed revolve around the Sun. One might also ask what motivated the Church to make such a production of an announcement that must have embarrassed the majority of Catholics in the world for the acknowledgement that the Church had to wait 350 years before letting go of its fallacious view of the universe.
As stated previously in this paper, the Church has continuously shown the pattern that today's heresy is tomorrow's dogma. The magisterium must now accept one of Jesus' primary tenets, that of humility; it must stop its all-too convincing imitation of the Pharisees; … – Extract from "Celibacy is the issue," Thomas G. Lederer, M.A, 1992, www.arthur street.com/ celibacy 1993.html
Thurston, The Catholic Encyclopedia, 1908
… we must necessarily begin with St. Paul's direction (I Tim., iii, 2, 12, and Titus, i, 6) that a bishop or a deacon should be "the husband of one wife". These passages seem fatal to any contention that celibacy was made obligatory upon the clergy from the beginning, but on the other hand, the Apostle's desire that other men might be as himself (I Cor., vii, 7-8, already quoted) precludes the inference that he wished all ministers of the Gospel to be married. … This freedom of choice seems to have lasted … down to about the time of Constantine and the Council of Nicaea.
… the statement of Clement of Alexandria at an earlier date [before 4th century] is open to no ambiguity. After commenting on the texts of St. Paul noted above, and expressing his veneration for a life of chastity, Clement adds: "All the same, the Church fully receives the husband of one wife whether he be priest or deacon or layman, supposing always that he uses his marriage blamelessly, and such a one shall be saved in the begetting of children" (Stromateiae, III, xiii).
Not less explicit is the testimony given by the church historian, Socrates. He declares that in the Eastern Churches neither priests nor even bishops were bound to separate from their wives, though he recognized that a different custom obtained in Thessaly and in Greece (H.E., Bk. I, cap. xi) – Extract from: Herbert Thurston, in The Catholic Encyclopedia, Vol 3, part of History of Clerical Celibacy in "Celibacy of the Clergy." [ www.newadvent. org/cathen/ 03481a.htm ] Transcribed by Christine J. Murray.
Copyright © 1908 by Robert Appleton Company
Online Edition Copyright © 1999 by Kevin Knight
Nihil Obstat, November 1, 1908. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor
Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York
"Celibacy Crept in from the Outside," www.multiline.com.au/~johnm/ethics/celibacycrept.htm
Some source documents copied around 5-6 Oct 02, arranged with Microsoft® WordPad© on 07-09 October 02, last spellchecked with Ms Word© on 19 Dec 05, added Page Break commands on 22 Aug 05 which worked in Ms Internet Explorer v. 6, but found that Netscape 4.78 still needed Table commands, and Firefox seemed to have its own "spread" rules, modified Page Break commands by adding nonbreaking space between the Heading 6 start and finish, and found some improvement on 17 Aug 08, disputed scriptures changed to grey and sans-serif typeface on 19 Dec 05, Scripture Internet Links and reference date and link to Pope reversing Galileo condemnation 26 Feb 08, OT "Hebrew Scriptures' pro-marriage texts," and NT "better to marry than to burn" added on 18 Mar 2010, NT "marital duty," "body not belong," and "do not deprive" added 29 Mar 2010, last modified on 18 May 2012