1 Timothy 4:1-3

1 Timothy 4:1 Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;

1Ti 4:2 Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron;

1Ti 4:3 Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth.

Just wondering…

Don’t Catholic’s believe that priests shouldn’t Marry?

Don’t Catholics also believe to not eat fish on Fridays?

1 Timothy 4:3 say both these things are false doctrines

Can I have a Catholic’s defense on this?

I’ll let someone else refute this. At the same time, this Scripture can just as easily be used against protestants when also taken out of its context. Speaking of some who depart from the faith (the reformation, protestants leaving Catholicism and listening to doctrines of devils/sola scriptura/sola fide etc etc all these could be considered thusly since they contradict what Christ taught). Giving heed to seducing spirits could be argued to be what pentecostals do/believe how they seem to feel the Holy Spirit will physically speak through one of them if they dance around loud enough and get excited enough. As for Priests not marrying, that is a an encouraged discipline, not doctrinal teaching. My hometowns Priest Father Anderson is happily married (he was an episcopal minister prior to coming home to the Church).

No one is forbidden to marry in the Catholic Church. Some people choose not to by remaining single or joining the Latin priesthood, but no one is forbidden from choosing the path God wills for them. Remaining celibate is actually encouraged in Scripture for those who are called to that life, just as both Jesus (Matt. 19:12) and Paul (1 Cor. 7:1-7, esp. v. 1 and 7) taught.

The verse you mention, 1 Tim 4:3, refers to those who that taught marriage was evil, thus forbidding it completely. He may have been referring to sects who forbade marriage such as the Encratites, Marcionites, or Manicheans.

Also, FYI, priests in the Eastern Catholic Rite may marry.

As MarcoPolo points out, the condemnations of 1 Timothy 4 have to do with sects that take a hard line, requiring absolute adherence to certain doctrines. With respect to abstinence from meat, the prohibition is the absolute and perpetual abstinence. However, if it only meant periodic abstinence from meat, then 1 Timothy would be contradicting any Scripture that encouraged fasting. After all, when one fasts from all food, isn’t he also abstaining from meat? :wink:

So, periodic abstinence (and voluntary celibacy) aren’t what is being discussed in this passage. Since the Catholic Church doesn’t mandate celibacy and vegetarianism to its members at large, it isn’t what is being warned against here.

  1. Catholics (or at least priests) are FORBIDDEN to marry?

That’s news to me. It’s also news to the tens of thousands of Eastern Rite priests who are married. It’s news to the hundreds of Latin Rite priests who are married (a number that is growing as the anglican ordinate grows). It’s also news to the tens of thousands of Orthodox priests!

Either way, People are not forbidden to marry in the Catholic church. Latin Rite priests VOLUNTARILY take a vow of celebacy in which they choose not to marry for complete devotion to the church (something which St Paul considered very esteemable).

This passage MORE LIKELY refers to groups like the Cathars and the Albigensians, who were against the practice of marriage altogether (for everyone)… but we, the staunch defenders of the true faith, had an inquisition which stopped their violent heresy cold.

  1. Catholics are FORBIDDEN to eat meat?

Not really, I enjoy good steaks all the time. You know what I also enjoy? Emulating the Lord, Jesus Christ, by occasionally fasting and abstaining from certain things (as Jesus did in His lifetime as a devout Jew and as is even recorded in scriptures). We are not forbidden to eat meats other than to share experiences with our Lord to better understand His perfect sacrifice.

Then how do you resolve the scriptures in the following blog article of mine?
Priestly celibacy is unBiblical. NOT!

And how then do you resolve the following passage from St. Paul?
Romans 14:1] As for the man who is weak in faith, welcome him, but not for disputes over opinions.
2] One believes he may eat anything, while the weak man eats only vegetables.
3] Let not him who eats despise him who abstains, and let not him who abstains pass judgment on him who eats; for God has welcomed him.
4] Who are you to pass judgment on the servant of another? It is before his own master that he stands or falls. And he will be upheld, for the Master is able to make him stand.
5] One man esteems one day as better than another, while another man esteems all days alike. Let every one be fully convinced in his own mind.
6] He who observes the day, observes it in honor of the Lord. He also who eats, eats in honor of the Lord, since he gives thanks to God; while he who abstains, abstains in honor of the Lord and gives thanks to God.
7] None of us lives to himself, and none of us dies to himself.
8] If we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord; so then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s.
9] For to this end Christ died and lived again, that he might be Lord both of the dead and of the living.
10] Why do you pass judgment on your brother? Or you, why do you despise your brother? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of God;
11] for it is written, “As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me,
and every tongue shall give praise to God.”
12] So each of us shall give account of himself to God.
13] Then let us no more pass judgment on one another, but rather decide never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother.
14] I know and am persuaded in the Lord Jesus that nothing is unclean in itself; but it is unclean for any one who thinks it unclean.
15] If your brother is being injured by what you eat, you are no longer walking in love. Do not let what you eat cause the ruin of one for whom Christ died.
16] So do not let your good be spoken of as evil.
17] For the kingdom of God is not food and drink but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit;
18] he who thus serves Christ is acceptable to God and approved by men.
19] Let us then pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding.
20] Do not, for the sake of food, destroy the work of God. Everything is indeed clean, but it is wrong for any one to make others fall by what he eats;
21] it is right not to eat meat or drink wine or do anything that makes your brother stumble.
22] The faith that you have, keep between yourself and God; happy is he who has no reason to judge himself for what he approves.
23] But he who has doubts is condemned, if he eats, because he does not act from faith; for whatever does not proceed from faith is sin.

I always thought Catholic Priest had to be celibate

It is a discipline of the Roman Catholic priesthood to be celibate. There are allowable exceptions, but these are certainly not the norm (my parish priest is married - he was an Episcopal married priest who joined the Catholic Church. The Pope gave him and about 100 others a special dispensation). I think in some places of Africa it is allowed.

But most of the rest of Roman Catholic priests are required to be celibate.

Jesus praises those who become “Eunuchs for the Kingdom”. Who do you think he was talking about, if not those whe are celibate?

BTW, what does Matthew 16:19 mean to you? "***I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.***”

Isn’t this the authority to make rules binding on the faithful, and then to release those rules?

BTW - regarding your signature, Catholics feel that “following Jesus” and “following the Catholic Church” are synonymous. What are your thoughts on this?

In the Eastern rite…an ordinand (candidate for priesthood/ordination)…has to have been married before ordination. Once ordained, he cannot marry anymore.

Also, by tradition…all bishops are celibate. Even in the Eastern rite, a bishop has to come from the celibate.

There were exceptions given by the Pope, not sue exactly when it started, a special dispensatioon…for converts (pastors/ministers) who wanted to be ordained a Latin rite priests. But it was not automatic…they had to undergo retraining and ordination…and with the recommendation of his bishop.

MOST priests are, but to say that they ALL must be celebate is to ignore the fact that the Catholic church is made up of MANY rites of the faith, only one of which is the Latin Rite (commonly referred to as Roman Catholics) and takes a vow of celebacy (although there are notable exceptions in the case of approximately 350 priests… not 100)

As someone else has noted, priests of ALL the other rites who are married at the time of their ordination remain married. If they are single when they are ordained, then they take a vow of celebacy at that point (again, voluntarily. No one is FORCED to join the priesthood). The same rules apply for our schismatic bretheren in the Orthodox Church (who have valid ordination as priests, even if they practice illicitly)

Remember, the majority of what you have heard about the faith is likely to be second or third hand rumor which addresses ONLY the Latin (Roman) Rite of the Church…

There was a false asceticism rising from stoic philosophers (not all were vain for example, Seneca) during the time of Paul, perhaps Timothy had to know that his fasting could not conform to what would turn into a widespread movement. Your logical conclusion that of a false indication is too exclusive to consider the context of the whole body of scriptures, and certainly doesn’t allow a historical-critical appoach which is used by many these days.

Charter of the Rights of the Family

Presented by the Holy See to all persons, institutions and authorities concerned with the mission of the family in today’s world October 22, 1983


Considering that:

A. The rights of the person, even though they are expressed as rights of the individual, have a fundamental social dimension which finds an innate and vital expression in the family;

B. the family is based on marriage, that intimate union of life in complementarity between a man and a woman which is constituted in the freely contracted and publicly expressed indissoluble bond of matrimony and is open to the transmission of life;

C. marriage is the natural institution to which the mission of transmitting life is exclusively entrusted;

D. the family, a natural society, exists prior to the State or any other community, and possesses inherent rights which are inalienable;

E. the family constitutes, much more than a mere juridical, social and economic unit, a community of love and solidarity, which is uniquely suited to teach and transmit cultural, ethical, social, spiritual and religious values, essential for the development and well-being of its own members and of society.

F. the family is the place where different generations come together and help one another to grow in human wisdom and to harmonize the rights of individuals with other demands of social life;

G. the family and society, which are mutually linked by vital and organic bonds, have a complementary function in the defense and advancement of the good of every person and of humanity;

H. the experience of different cultures throughout history has shown the need for society to recognize and defend the institution of the family;

I. society, and in a particular manner the State and International Organizations, must protect the family through measures of a political, economic, social and juridical character, which aim at consolidating the unity and stability of the family so that it can exercise its specific function;

J. the rights, the fundamental needs, the well-being and the values of the family, even though they are progressively safeguarded in some cases, are often ignored and not rarely undermined by laws, institutions and socio-economic programs;

K. many families are forced to live in situations of poverty which prevent them from carrying out their role with dignity;

L. the Catholic Church, aware that the good of the person, of society and of the Church herself passes by way of the family, has always held it part of her mission to proclaim to all the plan of God instilled in human nature concerning marriage and the family, to promote these two institutions and to defend them against all those who attack them;

to read the rest click here vatican.va/roman_curia/pontifical_councils/family/documents/rc_pc_family_doc_19831022_family-rights_en.html

Currently, Catholic priests in the Latin-rite of the Church are chosen from among those Christian men who have vowed to God to remain unmarried for the sake of the Kingdom.
The choice of such men is not a matter of belief (a church doctrine) but rather a prudential judgment made by pastoral authorities (a church discipline), which could be changed should future circumstances warrant. Since Catholics believe that people ought to fulfill their vows to the Lord, they believe such men should fulfill their vow to remain unmarried.

Don’t Catholics also believe to not eat fish on Fridays?

Again, this is not a matter of belief (a church doctrine) but rather a prudential judgment made by pastoral authorities (a church discipline), which could be changed should future circumstances warrant. To help them advance in self-mastery, Catholics in general are currently asked to abstain from meat on Fridays. In 1 Tim 4:3, St. Paul was writing against those who held the belief that eating certain foods was always and everywhere sinful, not against types of fasting, such as that practiced by Catholics on Fridays.

The abstaining from meat on Fridays is a way of instilling self-discipline.

Think about it… If you can’t resist the temptation of eating meat, how can you hope to resist the temptation to resist more deadly forms of sin!

As pointed out already, but to further clarify. St. Paul was speaking to a first century audience, that is where you will find context. There was a group of people that were called Gnostics who believed that eating meat was an abomination, as well as procreating, due to their view of the soul.

To further explore the passage you may want to get familiar with a Gnostic sect called

The Encratites

Here is what Hippolytus (170-236 AD) Had to say of them

Refutation of all Heresies 8.13 Encratites are very prideful and violent, abstaining from animal food, (and) being water-drinkers [used water instead of wine for communion],** and forbidding to marry**, and devoting themselves to asceticism.

And Here is what Ireneaus had to say on them around (180 A.D.) in Against Heresies 1.28.1.

Many offshoots of numerous heresies have already been formed from those heretics we have described. This arises from the fact that numbers of them-indeed, we may say all-desire themselves to be teachers, and to break off from the particular heresy in which they have been involved. Forming one set of doctrines out of a totally different system of opinions, and then again others from others, they insist upon teaching something new, declaring themselves the inventors of any sort of opinion which they may have been able to call into existence. To give an example: Springing from Saturninus and Marcion, those who are called Encratites (self-controlled) preached against marriage, thus setting aside the original creation of God, and indirectly blaming Him who made the male and female for the propagation of the human race. Some of those reckoned among them have also introduced abstinence from animal food, thus proving themselves ungrateful to God, who formed all things. They deny, too, the salvation of him who was first created. It is but lately, however, that this opinion has been invented among them. A certain man named Tatian first introduced the blasphemy. He was a hearer of Justin’s, and as long as he continued with him he expressed no such views; but after his martyrdom he separated from the Church, and, excited and puffed up by the thought of being a teacher, as if he were superior to others, he composed his own peculiar type of doctrine. He invented a system of certain invisible Aeons, like the followers of Valentinus; while,** like Marcion and Saturninus, he declared that marriage was nothing else than corruption and fornication**. But his denial of Adam’s salvation was an opinion due entirely to himself.

Or you could just throw out history altogether and go with some of the famed Protestant “Scholars” of the past. Here is your link… What is Truth?


As neither of these are doctrines but disciplines the relevance of the scripture you quote is debatable. Also others have pointed out to that the conditions for celibacy vary from Church to Church within the wider Catholic communion, also Catholics (where the discipline is in force ,such as in the UK) are not supposed to eat meat on Fridays. I suggest you learn what we actually believe not what others have told you what they would suppose we believe.

Regarding fasting, from here:

Fasting is a biblical discipline that can be defended from both the Old and the New Testament. Christ expected his disciples to fast (Mt 9:14-15) and issued instructions for how they should do so (Mt 6:16-18). Catholics follow this pattern…

Abstinence from certain foods is also a biblical discipline. In Daniel 10:2-3 we read, “In those days I, Daniel, was mourning for three weeks. I ate no delicacies, no meat or wine entered my mouth, nor did I anoint myself at all, for the full three weeks.” Catholics use a practice similar to Daniel’s when, as a way of commemorating Christ’s Crucifixion on a Friday, they abstain from eating meat on that day of the week during Lent. The only kind of flesh they eat on Friday is fish, which is a symbol of Christ. (not just during Lent, but all Fridays, in ,any parts of the world)

Christ expected and instructed His disciples to fast. Who are we to ignore that or put ourselves above it?

Regarding Priestly Celibacy, from here:
(Karl Keeting, Celibacy and the Priesthood, Catholic Answers Tract)

So far from “commanding” marriage in 1 Corinthians 7, in that very chapter Paul actually endorses celibacy for those capable of it: “To the unmarried and the widows I say that it is well for them to remain single as I am. But if they cannot exercise self-control, they should marry. For it is better to marry than to be aflame with passion” (7:8-9).

It is only because of this “temptation to immorality” (7:2) that Paul gives the teaching about each man and woman having a spouse and giving each other their “conjugal rights” (7:3); he specifically clarifies, “I say this by way of concession, not of command. I wish that all were as I myself am. But each has his own special gift from God, one of one kind and one of another” (7:6-7).

Paul even goes on to make a case for preferring celibacy to marriage: “Are you free from a wife? Do not seek marriage. . . those who marry will have worldly troubles, and I would spare you that. . . . The unmarried man is anxious about the affairs of the Lord, how to please the Lord; but the married man is anxious about worldly affairs, how to please his wife, and his interests are divided. And the unmarried woman or girl is anxious about the affairs of the Lord, how to be holy in body and spirit; but the married woman is anxious about worldly affairs, how to please her husband” (7:27-34).

Paul’s conclusion: He who marries “does well; and he who refrains from marriage will do better” (7:38).

Paul was not the first apostle to conclude that celibacy is, in some sense, “better” than marriage. After Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 19 on divorce and remarriage, the disciples exclaimed, “If such is the case between a man and his wife, it is better not to marry” (Matt 19:10). This remark prompted Jesus’ teaching on the value of celibacy “for the sake of the kingdom”:
“Not all can accept this word, but only those to whom it is granted. Some are incapable of marriage because they were born so; some, because they were made so by others; some, because they have renounced marriage for the sake of the kingdom of God. Whoever can accept this ought to accept it” (Matt. 19:11–12).

Notice that this sort of celibacy “for the sake of the kingdom” is a gift, a call that is not granted to all, or even most people, but is granted to some. Other people are called to marriage. It is true that too often individuals in both vocations fall short of the requirements of their state, but this does not diminish either vocation, nor does it mean that the individuals in question were “not really called” to that vocation. The sin of a priest doesn’t necessarily prove that he never should have taken a vow of celibacy, any more than the sin of a married man or woman proves that he or she never should have gotten married. It is possible for us to fall short of our own true calling.

Celibacy is neither unnatural nor unbiblical. “Be fruitful and multiply” is not binding upon every individual; rather, it is a general precept for the human race. Otherwise, every unmarried man and woman of marrying age would be in a state of sin by remaining single, and Jesus and Paul would be guilty of advocating sin as well as committing it.

Both Christ and Paul were celibate, and both praised celibacy for the sake of tthe Kingdom. Who are we to condemn those who choose celibacy?

By the way, can you please explain how someone can be forbidden from something that he/she has voluntarily given up?

It refers to the 1st century false asceticism that forbade marriage in general. It had nothing to do with the priesthood. One of the Sacraments of the church is Matrimony; it’s celebrated, not frowned upon.

Fasting is very scriptural which is why the church promotes it on certain prescribed days of the year. Other than that a catholic can pretty much eat whatever…

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