Celibacy


#1

Someone mentioned in another thread that celibacy was a discipline, not a doctrine. Have there been priests, bishops, or Popes who were married?

Why, now, does it seem as though it is doctrine to be celibate?


#2

Our very first Pope, Peter, was married, though it’s not clear from the Gospels if she was still living at the time when Peter was with Jesus.

Celibacy is recommended by no less an authority than Peter, and Jesus is referring to celibacy when he says that “there are those who have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven” (may not be the exact words there, but it’s close). So that’s a strong recommendation, though I don’t see that in our Protestant brethren–I don’t know why that is.

As for it seeming like a doctrine: well, I don’t know what to say to that. A discipline is a rule, plain and simple. Rules can change, though to be honest I don’t think this discipline will change anytime soon, if it ever does—and I’m happy with that. You may not know that some of the Eastern Rite churches that are in communion with Rome (the “Roman Catholic Church” is only one rite out of several, though by far the largest) do not have celibacy as a discipline, which I’m also perfectly happy with.


#3

[quote=BluegrassJimmie]Someone mentioned in another thread that celibacy was a discipline, not a doctrine. Have there been priests, bishops, or Popes who were married?

Why, now, does it seem as though it is doctrine to be celibate?
[/quote]

Hey! welcome back!
Did you resolve the purgatory thingy yet?
Is Jesus a priest? If so when did He become one? If so, when did He marry?
Was Paul Married? If so, when and who did he marry?
Did Luther get married?
If so, do we follow Paul or Luther?
It’s not a doctrine unless you make it one. It is a practice in respect to Jesus and Paul. Pretty simple, really.


#4

Yes, for centuries priests and popes were allowed to be married. I think problems arose when priest died before their wives. What did the priest leave behind for his wife and what belonged to the parish? As you can imagine, this could create huge conflicts. Yes, Paul spoke extensively about the virtue of celibacy. It was also valued among the Jewish clergy.

NotWorthy


#5

Yes, there are currently Roman Catholic Priests who ARE married. I’m sure that you will stumble on to another one of these kinds of threads soon, giving you more info on this sort of thing. I know that a priest needs to be married before they actually become a priest (usually they were minsters of their parishes before they became Catholic) and if their wife dies, they cannot get remaried.


#6

Priests of the Eastern Rites can be married (well…they have to be married prior to ordination, otherwise they remain celibate). Additionally, there are at least 80 modern day Latin Rite (Roman Catholic, proper) priests who are married with Papal Dispensations. Mostly, these come from married Protestant clergy who convert and are ordained priests.

It’s not a doctrine - it could change tomorrow, if B-16 so desired. In practice, however, this is a much more theologically sound to have a priest (who is there to be the representative of Christ in the flesh) be celibate. Think about it - who was Christ’s bride? The Church! Who is the bride of a priest? The Church!

Make sense?

God bless,
RyanL


#7

Maybe it is worth saying that celibacy is a good thing in itself - someone who is celibate, is not someone who has failed to be married, but someone who has chosen freely to adopt a different, and equally valid, and therefore complementary, path to Christian perfection. Marriage is good - it must be, because only a good thing can be given the standing of a sacrament - but so is celibacy. And clerical celibacy - more accurately, clerical continence - is a particular form of it, in which a state that can be lived without reference to Christ or His Church, is sanctified, so as to become a means of the Church’s mission. Celibacy of this kind is like a sacramental (AFAICS).


#8

[quote=BluegrassJimmie]Someone mentioned in another thread that celibacy was a discipline, not a doctrine. Have there been priests, bishops, or Popes who were married?

Why, now, does it seem as though it is doctrine to be celibate?
[/quote]

It has always been taught that a preist can not get married, but at times in the past a married man could become a preist. In the eastern churches this is the case at the present time.

It is a discipline of the western church for only celibate men to become preists. It may seem like a doctrine because it is enforced. But the Church can change disciplines.


#9

[quote=TNT]Hey! welcome back!
Did you resolve the purgatory thingy yet?
[/quote]

Thanks, and I’m still working on it. :smiley:

Is Jesus a priest? If so when did He become one? If so, when did He marry?
Was Paul Married? If so, when and who did he marry?
Did Luther get married?
If so, do we follow Paul or Luther?
It’s not a doctrine unless you make it one. It is a practice in respect to Jesus and Paul. Pretty simple, really.

What’s Luther got to do with it? I ain’t no Lutheran. :stuck_out_tongue:


#10

[quote=Gottle of Geer]Maybe it is worth saying that celibacy is a good thing in itself - someone who is celibate, is not someone who has failed to be married, but someone who has chosen freely to adopt a different, and equally valid, and therefore complementary, path to Christian perfection.
[/quote]

Exactly. Celibacy is a good because it sacrifices another good (marriage) for greater service to the Kingdom of God.

And, yes, even a Roman Catholic priest can be married, although he can’t get married. IOW, he can be married before his ordination, but cannot get married after his ordination, even if his wife dies. Such priests certainly aren’t the norm in the Latin Rite, but they are out there.

– Mark L. Chance.


#11

[quote=BluegrassJimmie]Thanks, and I’m still working on it. :smiley:

What’s Luther got to do with it? I ain’t no Lutheran. :stuck_out_tongue:
[/quote]

I asked 7 questions. You answered with a question?
Come now, let’s address what I was asking in the 6 others. Right?


#12

TNT,

Perhaps you want to start another thread to deal with the questions you have. They don’t seem to apply to the topic of this thread.

CARose


#13

“he can be married before his ordination, but cannot get married after his ordination”

This has almost always been the tradition (with a lower-case t) in the Church, but even that is not doctrine but just discipline, as dispensations have been given at various times throughout history.


#14

[quote=RyanL]In practice, however, this is a much more theologically sound to have a priest (who is there to be the representative of Christ in the flesh) be celibate. Think about it - who was Christ’s bride? The Church! Who is the bride of a priest? The Church!

[/quote]

This is totally insensitive and offensive to not only the married priest in the Latin Church but to the totality of the Byzantine rite, not to mention wrong.

Yes the Church is the bride of Christ but not the priest.

[quote=mlchance]Exactly. Celibacy is a good because it sacrifices another good (marriage) for greater service to the Kingdom of God.

[/quote]

This is a much more senstive and right way to put it. Good Job Mark. I will remember this one when asked why, as a Byzantine I have chosen to pursue the priesthood as a celibate.


#15

[quote=ByzCath]This is totally insensitive and offensive to not only the married priest in the Latin Church but to the totality of the Byzantine rite, not to mention wrong.
[/quote]

ByzCath,

First and foremost, thank you for having the courage to pursue the life of service to which you have been called.

Second, It was not my intention to be either insensitive or offensive. Please, accept my apology.

Finally, could you please explain how it is wrong? In reading The biblical foundation of priestly celibacy [left]
** **
[/left]

** **
I find the following:

In this text, where we find the formula *unius uxoris vir *being applied to the *bishop, *the whole accent falls on the fact that he, ‘the man’, in his relations with his ‘wife’, symbolizes the relationship between Christ and the Church. An analogous use of the phrase ‘man and wife’ occurs in a passage of *De continentia: *«The Apostle invites us to observe so to speak three pairs *(copulas): *Christ and the Church, husband and wife, the spirit and the flesh». The suggestion these texts offer us for interpreting the stipulation *unius uxoris vir *applied to the (married) minister of the sacrament is that he, as minister, not only represents the second pair (husband and wife) but also the first: henceforth he personifies *Christ *in his married relationship with the *Church. *Here we have the basis for the doctrine which was later to become a classic one: *Sacerdos alter Christus. *Like Christ, the priest is the Church’s bridegroom.

the sacred minister, from the moment of his ordination, now lives in another relationship, also of a matrimonial type — that which unites Christ and the Church in which he, the minister, the man *(vir), *represents Christ the bridegroom; with his own wife *(uxor) *therefore «the carnal union should from now on be a spiritual one», as St Leo the Great said.

What have I said that is not orthodox?

Again thank you for answering the call of God to serve, and may He bless you richly for your dedication and love,
RyanL


#16

[quote=RyanL]ByzCath,

First and foremost, thank you for having the courage to pursue the life of service to which you have been called.

Second, It was not my intention to be either insensitive or offensive. Please, accept my apology.

Finally, could you please explain how it is wrong? In reading The biblical foundation of priestly celibacy [left]** **
[/left]
** **
I find the following:

What have I said that is not orthodox?

Again thank you for answering the call of God to serve, and may He bless you richly for your dedication and love,
RyanL
[/quote]

Ryan,
First, thank you for your kind words, I want to apologize if I came off a bit harsh.

The statement that it is more theologically sound is not not correct, it ignores the fact that the first Apostle chosen was a married man.

It ignores Church history.

The use of the idea of the Church being the Bride of Christ so there for the priest, who acts in the place of Christ, is married to the Church implies that those priests who are married are somehow in a polygamist relationship.

That book ignores the Biblical basis for the married priesthood.


#17

[quote=ByzCath]First, thank you for your kind words, I want to apologize if I came off a bit harsh.
[/quote]

Apology not required, but warmly received. I failed to take into account how non-Latin-Rite-celibate-priest-having-Catholics would consider my words, and so I was careless. I would not say you were wrong for correcting me, and it is a lesson I would do well to learn.

[quote=ByzCath] The statement that it is more theologically sound is not not correct, it ignores the fact that the first Apostle chosen was a married man.

It ignores Church history.

The use of the idea of the Church being the Bride of Christ so there for the priest, who acts in the place of Christ, is married to the Church implies that those priests who are married are somehow in a polygamist relationship.

That book ignores the Biblical basis for the married priesthood.
[/quote]

Roughly the first third of the document from the Vatican archives of the deals with the married clergy, and the entire document deals with Church history, throughout. As for the implication you spoke of, it is also dealt with. Would you please read fully and let me know if the Roman Curia’s Congregation for the Clergy has it wrong?

God Bless, and thank you for being patient with me,
RyanL


#18

[quote=RyanL]Roughly the first third of the document from the Vatican archives of the deals with the married clergy, and the entire document deals with Church history, throughout. As for the implication you spoke of, it is also dealt with. Would you please read fully and let me know if the Roman Curia’s Congregation for the Clergy has it wrong?

God Bless, and thank you for being patient with me,
RyanL
[/quote]

Ryan,
I am sorry again, I mistook the Biblical basis for priestly celibacy for a book that I skimmed that attempts to raise celibacy to dogma. I will read this document from the congregation over the weekend when I have time and get back to you on what I think of it.


#19

[quote=ByzCath]Ryan,
I am sorry again, I mistook the Biblical basis for priestly celibacy for a book that I skimmed that attempts to raise celibacy to dogma. I will read this document from the congregation over the weekend when I have time and get back to you on what I think of it.
[/quote]

ByzCath,
No sweat. Take your time, and may God bless you richly for your love for Him.
Prayerfully,
RyanL


#20

Does anyone here know anything about the Celtic Church? I don’t pretend to be an expert historian by any means, but I do know that when St. Augustine of Canterbury (not to be confused with St. Augustine of Hippo) arrived in Britain, there were already Christians there. Based on what I’ve read, the Celtic Christians (who had been separate from Rome for a while) had married priests and were very shocked by Augustine’s insistence on priestly celibacy. This, plus Augustine’s (in my opinion) uncharitable attitude toward the Celtic Church, led to some conflicts. I guess I see this as evidence that the early church had no objection to a married priesthood and the the rule of priestly celibacy came later. Anyway, when I e-mailed my father about my study of Catholicism, he e-mailed me back (and was very courteous and supportive, even if he didn’t agree with all my conclusions). He mentioned the practice of priestly celibacy as one of his objections to Catholicism, and he mentioned the Celtic Church’s support of a married priesthood. Anyway, thanks for any information!

God Bless!


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