Catholic Priesthood & circumcision dispensation


I was greatly perturbed today by a twitter post from Mark Hart the bible geek for Lifeteen. He posted about his newborn baby boy’s circumcision (TMI just sayin’) but what came after was interesting.

Mr. Hart tweeted this:

The Pediatrician: “Have any questions about your son’s circumcision?”
Me: “What do I look like? A Galatian?”
Her: “Let’s try this again.”

A person responds with a bible quote

Uhm - don’t read Phillipians 3:1-2 prior to the event… just saying

several others tweet their shock about his discision and what finnally got me was this

he won’t need a dispensation if he wants to be a priest! Yay!

with Mr. Hart replying back "

Hahaha - I can only hope! #onlyonecollar

I am really shocked here. I was sure that Catholics believed that [non-medical and only cosmetic] neo-natal-circumcision especially on the 8th day is a Jewish BAPTISM and thus highly sinful as exemplified as in the Philippians quote and others from the Colossians and such.

But with the Council of Florence/Basil in the 1460s proclaiming that infant circumcision was a mortal sin, how could these tweets be?

Am I entirely wrong on this or is Mark Hart wrong I don’t understand? As a person discerning the priesthood the state of whether or not I need or don’t need certain body parts is crucial.

(For the record I understand this is a controversial topic I wish only to espouse Catholic Facts) (I understand that people have a right to cosmetic and medicinal surgeries)

Please answer this.

I have found the Church Documents from the council

Cantate Domino (A.D. 1442), signed by Pope Eugene IV, from the 11th session of the Council of Florence

Therefore it strictly orders all who glory in the name of Christian, not to practice circumcision either before or after baptism, since whether or not they place their hope in it, it cannot possibly be observed without loss of eternal salvation

[note to mod: couldn’t find a subforum to enter under move if necessary]

This is only obfuscating this all the more


Quite frankly you are worrying about something you do not need to worry about! Circumcision or non circumcision has absolutely no bearing on the Catholic priesthood.You misunderstand the scripture quotations- Paul is referring to those who said that circumcision was necessary for salvation ie following the Jewish law.The quote from the council is not an infallible teaching.At that time it would be rare for anyone who was a Christian to circumcise their sons.Much later in history routine circumcision in the U.S. and some other countries became the norm for various reasons.It is now not considered routine to circumcise many still do many do not.


Circumcision, and tonsil and adenoid removals were quite ‘routine’ here in the UK during the decade or so post WWII - indeed I fell under the surgeons’ knife! In later life I began to think it was a case of large numbers of ‘surplus’ post war surgeons looking for employment and practice. :wink:


The Church certainly does not practice circumcision as religious ritual but it is acceptable if done for a medical reason. The Church will never ask if you are circumcised.


I knew one case of a Catholic family which opted not to circumcise the son. Well, turns out years later, he was getting chronic infections. So, it was decided that he’d get circumcised, despite he was older.

The family was VERY Catholic and I don’t think would have undergone the procedure had it been against their faith.

In Jewish times, circumcism was mandatory. Later, the obligation was lifted in Christian times. However, it’s also not prohibited.


I have always understood it as you are not ‘required’ be circumcised before joining the Church.

I have always been taught that Church Councils’ Constitutions were infallible. Am I wrong there? if so why bother having them at all.


Various non-religious reasons. Personal (aesthetics), sexual (I’ll spare details of the differences there), convenience, hygiene, etc.


Section 2297 of the Catechism ought to provide the definitive answer on this. It is not “therapeutic” unless actual medical need exists in a particular case. The American Medical Association has stated it is not therapeutic as no disease requiring any treatment is present since at least 1999 if not earlier. It certainly is an amputation, thus it directly falls under the proscription in this section of the Catechism as against the moral law. Why the American wing of the Church has remained wholesale silent on the issue is bewildering to me.:frowning:


I suspect that this is not a good time for the Church - and particularly the American Church - to focus on penises. In fact, there may never be a good time to do so.


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