From Origins to 360 on Celibacy


#1

From Christian Cochini, S.J. “The Apostolic Origins of Priestly Celibacy”

from page 139
"The letter of Ignatius of Antioch to Polycarp, “bishop over the Smyrnaean Church- or rather, who has God the Father for bishop over him, together with the Lord Jesus Christ” includes among other advice, a warning to embrace humility and chastity so as not to lose, out of pride, the benefit of a difficult virtue. On his way to martyrdom, the bishop recommends that his colleague enlighten Christians on that point: “If someone is capable of passing all his days in chastity, in honor of the Lord’s body, let him do so without boasting; for if he boasts of it, he is lost, and if the news gets beyond the bishop’s ears it is all over with his chastity.”"

from page 140
"The interest in this variation is obvious. If one considers the possibility of a contemptous attitude toward the bishop on the part of the “nonmarried” class, it is because there were many men bound by marriage at the heads of the Christian communities. At a time when virginity was crowned with honor, there was a strong temptation for those who had made a profession of chastity to compare themselves advantageously to others, their bishops included."

newadvent.org/fathers/0110.htm
"Chapter 5. The duties of husbands and wives.
Flee evil arts; but all the more discourse in public regarding them. Speak to my sisters, that **they love the Lord, and be satisfied with their husbands both in the flesh and spirit. **In like manner also, exhort my brethren, in the name of Jesus Christ, that they love their wives, even as the Lord the Church. Ephesians 5:25 If any one can continue in a state of purity, to the honour of Him who is Lord of the flesh, let him so remain without boasting. If he begins to boast, he is undone; and if he reckon himself greater than the bishop, he is ruined. But it becomes both men and women who marry, to form their union with the approval of the bishop, that their marriage may be according to God, and not after their own lust. Let all things be done to the honour of God. 1 Corinthians 10:31 "

If someone continues as a virgin, how could they boast and “reckon himself greater than the bishop” if bishops were not married?

Is this honor and exhortation to virginity before marriage, or virginity and renouncing the possibility of marriage?

If “their marriage is according to God” then do they not remain pure?

Michael


#2

From Cochine:

Documented married priests, bishops, deacons, popes (who knows how many existed and we do not have remaining documentation or archeological evidence specifying marriage. this may be why we have less documented from the 1st century, and more as the centuries get closer to the present time):

1st Century

  1. Anonymous bishop. Of Sinopus (Adversus Haereses), Haer 42, 2,3-4

  2. Nicolas, deacon of Jerusaem (Acts of the Apostles 6:5

not to forget Peter had a mother-in-law

2nd Century
3 Valens. Priest of Philippi
4 Anonymous deacons (Irenaeus of Lyon, Adverus Haeresis, I, 5

3rd Century
5 Cheremon. Bishop of Nilopolis
6 Demetrian. Bishop of Antioch, father of Bishop Dommus
7 Demetrius. Patriarch of Alexandria
8 Irenasus. Bishop of Sirmium
9 Martial. Bishop of Merida
10-14 listed as priests

4th Century
15 Ajax. Bishop of Botolus
16 Anastasius I Pope 399-402
Father of Pope Innocent I, his sucessor

17 Anonymous bishop, Italy, father of Deacon Florentius
18 Six anonymous Bishops, Epheus area
19 Antoninus. Bishop of Ephesus
20 Anonius. Bishop of a suburban diocese of Rome
Father of Pope Damasus 366-84
21 Artemius. Bishop of Auvergne
22 Asrug. Bishop of Pakravant. Son-in-law of Bishop Khat
23 Carterius. Spanish bishop, married onece before his baptism, and a second time after24-26 Bishops
27 Gregory the Illuminaotr
28-49 Bishops

5th Century
66-82 Bishops
83 Felix III Pope
great-grand father of st Gregory the Great

84-99 Bishops
100-114 Priests

6th Century
125-156 Bishops. including:
145 Hormisdas Pope 514-23
Father of Silverius who would becme his sixth successor to the throne of Peter (536-38)

176 Stephen. Subdeacon of Rome, father of Pope Adiodatus I (615-618)

7th Century
177-189 Bishops
189 Theodorus. Father of Pope Theodre I (642-49)

Michael


#3

I’m trying to figure out what your point is? :confused:

Celibacy for clerics is a discipline of the Roman Church. It’s not a timeless truth revealed by God, but a practice the Church has a adopted–which is well within her rights of binding and loosing.

If you can’t make that sacrifice for the Lord, than don’t–it’s not a sin to be a lay person.


#4

When did celibacy become the requirement for priests, let alone Popes? If it was not a requirment in the first centuries, why now? And why selectively?

Pope Alexander VI 1492-1503:
From newadvent.org/cathen/01289a.htm
"The young Rodrigo had not yet definitely chosen his profession when the** elevation of his uncle to the papacy (1455) opened up new prospects to his ambition**. He was adopted into the immediate family of Callixtus and was known henceforward to the Italians as Rodrigo Borgia. Like so many other princely cadets, he was obtruded upon the Church, the question of a clerical vocation being left completely out of consideration. After conferring several rich benefices on him, his uncle sent him for a short year to study law at the University of Bologna. In 1456, at the age of twenty-five, he was made Cardinal Deacon of St. Nicolo in Carcere, and held that title until 1471, when he became Cardinal-Bishop of Albano; in 1476 he was made Cardinal-Bishop of Porto and Dean of the Sacred College (Eubel, Hierarchia Catholica, II, 12). His official position in the Curia after 1457 was that of Vice-Chancellor of the Roman Church, and though many envied him this lucrative office he seems in his long administration of the Papal Chancery to have given general satisfaction."

 "**In his twenty-ninth year he drew a scathing letter of reproof from Pope Pius II for misconduct in Sienna which had been so notorious as to shock the whole town and court** (Raynaldus Ann. eccl. ad. an. 1460, n. 31). **Even after his ordination to the priesthood, in 1468, he continued his evil ways.** His contemporaries praise his handsome and imposing figure, his cheerful countenance, persuasive manner, brilliant conversation, and intimate mastery of the ways of polite society. The best portrait of him is said to be that painted by Pinturicchio in the Appartimento Borgia at the Vatican; Yriarte (Autour des Borgia, 79) praises its general air of grandeur incontestable. **Towards 1470 began his relations with the Roman lady, Vanozza Catanei, the mother of his four children: Juan, Caesar, Lucrezia and Jofre, born, respectively according to Gregorovius (Lucrezia Borgia 13) in 1474, 1476, 1480, and 1482."**"

Michael


#5

I am not sure what you mean by “why selectively” but as to “why now”, the Church has looked at this issue many times over the centuries, including again very recently, and decided that it it the best choice for most of our priests and bishops (which includes the Pope).

Here is one nice article on the “why now” and a bit of the history.

zenit.org/english/visualizza.phtml?sid=105087


#6

Perhaps all these threads on clerical celibacy belong in the Apologetics forum, not the forum where people discuss vocations.


#7

Why, cannot those considering clerical celibacy discuss and/or defend the discipline? Are they not to be exposed to proposed Scriptural and historical objections to the discipline required of Latn rite priests in general?

I am quoteing Cochini, a Jesuit, his book “the Apostolic Origins of Priestly Celibacy”, published by Ignatius; as well as reference on Alexander VI from newadvent, the Catholic Encylopedia.

What are your comments on the posts, besides wanting to move a discussion on celibacy, a presently required discpline asked of those pursueing a vocation in Latin rites? You have posted plenty of pictures, apparently enthusiastically, on ornate attire for priests, including hats and gloves. What are your thoughts on the basis of celibacy, which pertains to the interior, not the exterior of the follower of Christ?

Michael


#8

Well, clerical celibacy is necessary in the Latin Rite. Priests must be outside of maintream, and increasinlgy secular, society. The priest is also a living icon of Christ, who was not married of course, and follows the same of the Apostles, who left their familes to follow Christ.


#9

Well, by selective I am referring to the real examples of married priests, bishops, and Popes.

In the article you reference mentions the years 303, and 390:
"“The Council of Carthage (390), for instance, said: ‘It was fitting that those who were at the service of the divine sacraments be perfectly continent (continentes esse in omnibus), so that what the Apostles taught and antiquity itself maintained, we too may observe.’”[1]

In the same way, Alfons-Marie Stickler mentions biblical arguments of apostolic inspiration that advocate celibacy.[2]

Historical development

The Church’s solemn Magisterium has never ceased to reaffirm the measures regulating ecclesiastical celibacy. The Synod of Elvira (300-303?) prescribed in canon 27: “A bishop, like any other cleric, should have with him either only one sister or consecrated virgin; it is established that in no way should he have an extraneous woman”; in canon 33: “The following overall prohibition for bishops, presbyters and deacons and for all clerics who exercise a ministry has been decided: they must abstain from relations with their wives and must not beget children; those who do are to be removed from the clerical state.”[3]"

Looking at what the “solemn Matesterium has never ceased to reaffirm the measures regulating ecclesiastical celibacy” has done in documented reality, the following bishops and Popes were married:

4th Century
15 Ajax. Bishop of Botolus
16 Anastasius I Pope 399-402
Father of Pope Innocent I, his sucessor
17 Anonymous bishop, Italy, father of Deacon Florentius
18 Six anonymous Bishops, Epheus area
19 Antoninus. Bishop of Ephesus
20 Anonius. Bishop of a suburban diocese of Rome
Father of Pope Damasus 366-8421 Artemius. Bishop of Auvergne
22 Asrug. Bishop of Pakravant. Son-in-law of Bishop Khat
23 Carterius. Spanish bishop, married onece before his baptism, and a second time after24-26 Bishops
27 Gregory the Illuminaotr
28-49 Bishops

5th Century
66-82 Bishops
83 Felix III Pope
great-grand father of st Gregory the Great
84-99 Bishops
100-114 Priests

6th Century
125-156 Bishops. including:
145 Hormisdas Pope 514-23
Father of Silverius who would becme his sixth successor to the throne of Peter (5
36-38)

176 Stephen. Subdeacon of Rome, father of Pope Adiodatus I (615-618)

7th Century
177-189 Bishops
189 Theodorus. Father of Pope Theodre I (642-49)

Then there is Alexander VI who was Pope from 1492-1503.

This is what I mean by selective.
If we had more documentation from the first centuries, may be surprised how many bishops and priests were married.

Michael


#10

Alexander VI was hardly the model Pope, and who cares about those from the early centuries before clerical celibacy was codified. If you are suggesting a return to early traditions, I will remind you that antiquarianism is a heresy.


#11

And we may not. Besides, does it matter if 10, 20, 30, 40, 50, 60, 70, 80, 90, or even 100% ‘were’ married?

Bind and loose. We are not talking of bishops taking it upon themselves to change a previous doctrine --as some did on taking a then 1500 year doctrine of transsubstantiation and making it ‘consubstantiation’ and still others ‘nothing but a symbol’.

Priestly celibacy is a discipline. It arose from what the Church considered good reason, and still does. Should there be good reason to change the discipline, it will do so. The thing is, whether one has a discipline of “celibacy” or "marriage’–there is still a discipline. If married, the priests must have ‘only one wife’–no divorce permitted, no polygamy, no adultery, etc. If celibate, there must be no ‘self’ satisfaction, no fornication, etc.

And of course, no priest, then or now ‘had to’ be married. From very early times on, it does appear that while some priests were married, many more remained single–to emulate Christ and St. Paul. As time went on, it was noted that in times when there were difficulties involved with having married priests, there were fewer difficulties with single priests. As we know, two cannot live so cheaply as one. Add in family responsibilities–and a Catholic priest has far more duties than a pastor of a church, not least being things like daily Mass (how many non-denoms have daily service), the responsibilities of daily prayer (how many have breviaries or even know of, let alone follow, the Liturgy of the Hours?), confessions, sacramental preparations (Confirmations etc.), and it is the rare man indeed who could care for both flock and family.


#12

“Well, clerical celibacy is necessary in the Latin Rite…”

Really?

Historical facts are contrary, as my previous posts in this thread reference. Pope Alexander VI (1492-1503) was a fornicator, if I am understanding newadvent.com correctly. Now, do you care to tell me when celibacy was affirmed by various bishop councils in 303, 390, etc.
""“The Council of Carthage (390), for instance, said: ‘It was fitting that those who were at the service of the divine sacraments be perfectly continent (continentes esse in omnibus), so that what the Apostles taught and antiquity itself maintained, we too may observe.’”[1]

In the same way, Alfons-Marie Stickler mentions biblical arguments of apostolic inspiration that advocate celibacy.[2]

Historical development

The Church’s solemn Magisterium has never ceased to reaffirm the measures regulating ecclesiastical celibacy. The Synod of Elvira (300-303?) prescribed in canon 27: “A bishop, like any other cleric, should have with him either only one sister or consecrated virgin; it is established that in no way should he have an extraneous woman”; in canon 33: “The following overall prohibition for bishops, presbyters and deacons and for all clerics who exercise a ministry has been decided: they must abstain from relations with their wives and must not beget children; those who do are to be removed from the clerical state.”[3]"

Michael


#13

Whatever the case, clerical celibacy has been standard in the Latin Rite for at least 1000 years. It was reaffirmed by the recent Synod of Bishops and the last month’s Apostolic Exhortation Sacramentum Caritatis. Even in the Eastern churches, where married men may be admitted to the clergy (but where clerics cannot get married after recieving Holy Orders), those who are celibate are held in high esteem and only they are admitted to to the Episcopate. I have absolutely no problem with this teaching since as far as I’m concerned, Rome has spoken.


#14

He was still Pope, elected by Catholic bishops. Do you understand that? Or do you only respect the authority and office of the Pope depending on who it is and what century?

Do tell, when was clerical celibacy codified? And did the Synod and Council in 303 and 390 not reaffirm celibacy? “The Church’s solemn Magisterium has never ceased to reaffirm the measures regulating ecclesiastical celibacy. The Synod of Elvira (300-303?)”

I am not suggesting a return to early tradition. Marriage is not a tradition, it is God’s gift, and the discipline of celibacy imposed on Latin priests is not essential to the priesthood, it is a traditon, changeable, so silence on your part in regard to “I will remind you that antiquarianism is a hersesy.”! How dare you suggest I am treading on heresy! God forbid you become a priest with that attitude, enjoying the fancy ornate apparrel, and trying to silence those who disagree with your view by suggesting they border on/commit heresy!

Michael


#15

On what historical basis do you make this claim. From Cochini’s book, discussing Origen in the first century?

“The interest in this variation is obvious. If one considers the possibility of a contemptous attitude toward the bishop on the part of the “nonmarried” class,** it is because there were many men bound by marriage at the heads of the Christian communities.**”

Do you think Christians left their families and that there was a large movement not to be married among Christians?

Michael


#16

Clerical celibacy has been reaffirmed by Rome quite recently. Discipline it may be, but Rome has spoken in accordance with long-standing tradition. If you cannot accept that the Church has spoken on the issue for the time being, then you at odds with Her.


#17

What do you think? If 10 or 50% of priests were married, as Peter was married at some time, would God later change that to 0%. And we know it has not bee 0% who were truly celibate, both then with married bishops and Popes, and recently with bishops having children
cwnews.com/news/viewstory.cfm?recnum=41982
and priests having children:
cwnews.com/news/viewstory.cfm?recnum=41985

Do you think there is a list in most archdiocese of active priests who have children or are married outside of public knowledge? Impossible?

Michael


#18

So lets all stay single so we can live more cheaply and focus on our careers? Only chose judges, police, firemen, nurses, doctors, from those who are not married or else they will not be able to reasonably be available for others?

Rare man who could care for both flock and family? Moses, Aaron, etc… Eastern rite priests, Christian ministers of other denominations, etc…

Michael

Michael


#19

Do not equate a priest with a layman. For a priest is separated from the rest of society by his holy office and position.


#20

You know, the funny thing is that if you were meaning that from Origins to now, the idea of celibacy was a ‘360 degree turn’–you’re actually quite right.

360 degrees is a circle. **Ergo, you’re right back where you started. **


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