Is this a heresy?


#1

It seems as though good Catholics are confused about the difference between states of life.

I’ve had this discussion with many good Catholics and it could be linked with the lack of vocations in general (but not necessarily)

Many say: “Marriage and Virginity (read, consecrated people and celabate priests) are equal vocations”

Now it isn’t stated clearly in the Catechism but is hinted at that
Consecrated Virginity (CV) is higher.

JpII in his aposolic letter says:

FAMILIARIS CONSORTIO
16…Rightly indeed does St. John Chrysostom say: “Whoever denigrates marriage also diminishes the glory of virginity. Whoever praises it makes virginity more admirable and resplendent. What appears good only in comparison with evil would not be particularly good. It is something better than what is admitted to be good that is the most excellent good.”(38)

This footnote 38 unfortunately is not on the Vatican Website but in the book form refers to Pius XII ecyclical:

  1. This doctrine of the excellence of virginity and of celibacy and of their superiority over the married state was, as We have already said, revealed by our Divine Redeemer and by the Apostle of the Gentiles; so too, it was solemnly defined as a dogma of divine faith by the holy council of Trent, and explained in the same way by all the holy Fathers and Doctors of the Church. Finally, We and Our Predecessors have often expounded it and earnestly advocated it whenever occasion offered. But recent attacks on this traditional doctrine of the Church, the danger they constitute, and the harm they do to the souls of the faithful lead Us, in fulfillment of the duties of Our charge, to take up the matter once again in this Encyclical Letter, and to reprove these errors which are so often propounded under a specious appearance of truth.

#2

All three vocations provide lifestyles that allow one to attain heaven. To say one is higher than the other does not carry much weight without a logical explanation as to what “higher” means and consists of. So what are you trying to say except to state that the concept of all three states being co-equal as some seem to feel better saying is incorrect? If one is called by the Lord to a particular vocation would it be somehow better to disregard that call and seek a “higher” or “lower” one?


#3

[quote=rwoehmke]All three vocations provide lifestyles that allow one to attain heaven. To say one is higher than the other does not carry much weight without a logical explanation as to what “higher” means and consists of. So what are you trying to say except to state that the concept of all three states being co-equal as some seem to feel better saying is incorrect? If one is called by the Lord to a particular vocation would it be somehow better to disregard that call and seek a “higher” or “lower” one?
[/quote]

St Thomas Aquinas says it is alway better to that the higher one.


#4

Consecrated virginity is objectively more noble than married life. This is true. But not everyone is meant to be a consecrated virgin. So, for the person who is called to married life, married life is subjectively the path he ought take as a means of holines. So, there are two perspectives: the objective and the subjective.


#5

Didn’t Council of Trent say that being celibate doesn’t necessarily make you better.

Can I say something. I’m reminded of something a former teacher of mine (Pentecostal) said. He told us that God has specific vocations plans for each person. He talked about some people’s calling might be “assistant pastor.” He said that if your calling is an assistant pastor than being a senior pastor is not a promotion for you! It’s a demotion. I would say the same can apply in the Catholic Church. If God’s role is for someone to just be a deacon. That’s His plan for them. Then well becoming a bishop isn’t a promition for them…They aren’t in the will of God, and there’s something very sad about it.

I think this is the way it works. We should be about wanting to serve Jesus, not serving or glorifying ourselves. Frankly, God wants some people to get married and well raise kids! (He did say be fruitfull and multiply.) If that’s God’s plan for a person, than thats the plan they should be following. No matter what the "higher calling/the one with more honor in this world really is).

We are all important in the grand scheme of things.


#6

KBarn nailed this one perfectly.

1 Cor. 7 gives the Scriptural take which basically backs it up.


#7

For what it’s worth, this is from the 19th chapter of Matthew [His] disciples said to him, “If that is the case of a man with his wife, it is better not to marry.” He answered, “Not all can accept [this] word,but only those to whom that 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 heaven. Whoever can accept this ought to accept it.”

This seems similar to what has been suggested earlier, marriage is for those who are meant for marriage and the celibate lifestyle is for those who are meant for that.

peace

Jim


#8

Didn’t Council of Trent say that being celibate doesn’t necessarily make you better.

Im not sure of what you speak? Where in Trent?
Though I agree it is the common teaching that being a CV doesn’t automatically make one holier but objectively theirs is a higher state, as said well by KB above. That being said, all the saints agree by taking the three vows one does more than all the apostolates, penance, prayers etc… as a layman. The vows free one from all punishment due to sin before the vows, like a second baptism they say.

Can I say something. I’m reminded of something a former teacher of mine (Pentecostal) said. He told us that God has specific vocations plans for each person. He talked about some people’s calling might be “assistant pastor.” He said that if your calling is an assistant pastor than being a senior pastor is not a promotion for you! It’s a demotion. I would say the same can apply in the Catholic Church. If God’s role is for someone to just be a deacon. That’s His plan for them. Then well becoming a bishop isn’t a promotion for them…They aren’t in the will of God, and there’s something very sad about it.

If one becomes a Bishop that is his vocation from God to fulfil.

When people make marital vows that is their vocation for them.

When one is a CV then that is their vocation.

The reason we lose a lot of priests is that they dont see their consecration as an infallable vocation for them to fulfil.(they shouldn’t be constantly seeking) One knows God’s will by the vows one makes : marriage, CV, or priest (bishop included). All three of these are witnessed to by the Church as their vocation 100%. How they fulfil these vocations is another question. But I think many people confuse Apostolate with vocation.

I think this is the way it works. We should be about wanting to serve Jesus, not serving or glorifying ourselves. Frankly, God wants some people to get married and well raise kids! (He did say be fruitful and multiply.) If that’s God’s plan for a person, than thetas the plan they should be following. No matter what the "higher calling/the one with more honour in this world really is).

We are all important in the grand scheme of things.

I think your confused with giving honour to ones-self (earthly) and glory to God. A CV honours God more than a married layman. Because the CV has given-up more than the married person. Heaven is not communistic there are some who are closer and imitated Jesus better than others. CV imitate Jesus more check the catechism 916; 923.

Of course we are all important but the body image comes to mind ones little toe isn’t as nobel as the eye. Both are important to the body but one is a higher function.


#9

This is what the Council of Trent (24th Session, Doctrine on the Sacrament of Matrimony, Canon X) says about marriage, consecrated virginity etc.-

CANON X.-If any one saith, that the marriage state is to be placed above the state of virginity, or of celibacy, and that it is not better and more blessed to remain in virginity, or in celibacy, than to be united in matrimony; let him be anathema.

Pope Pius XII makes it clear in his encyclical Sacra Virginitas that the supperiority of virginity and celebacy is not only true, but a dogma of the Faith as defined by the Council of Trent (see above).

Everyone has their calling, but everyone is not called to an equally holy state. That is not to say that other callings are bad, but like another poster stated, heaven isn’t a communistic society. There will be some who experience the Beatific Vision to a higher degree than others, but all who are in heaven will be unbelievably happy in as much as they are able to be.

I remember having this same discussion on this board before. Some folks want to think that all vocations are equal, but I think we cannot really argue with H.H. Pope Pius XII (of happy memory) when he specifically points out that the supperiority of virginity and celebacy was solemnly defined as a dogma of our Holy Catholic Faith, unless we want to say that the Pope has erred on matters of Faith and Morals.


#10

[quote=ComradeAndrei]This is what the Council of Trent (24th Session, Doctrine on the Sacrament of Matrimony, Canon X) says about marriage, consecrated virginity etc.-

Pope Pius XII makes it clear in his encyclical Sacra Virginitas that the supperiority of virginity and celebacy is not only true, but a dogma of the Faith as defined by the Council of Trent (see above).

Everyone has their calling, but everyone is not called to an equally holy state. That is not to say that other callings are bad, but like another poster stated, heaven isn’t a communistic society. There will be some who experience the Beatific Vision to a higher degree than others, but all who are in heaven will be unbelievably happy in as much as they are able to be.

I remember having this same discussion on this board before. Some folks want to think that all vocations are equal, but I think we cannot really argue with H.H. Pope Pius XII (of happy memory) when he specifically points out that the supperiority of virginity and celebacy was solemnly defined as a dogma of our Holy Catholic Faith, unless we want to say that the Pope has erred on matters of Faith and Morals.
[/quote]

Thanks! :thumbsup: When I was posting the first post I had hit submit by mistake. I thought that I posted Trent too. I tryed to edit it guess it didn’t function the way I thought.


#11

This past Sunday’s Epistle reading would certainly imply that CV was a higher state or calling. Luke10:38-42 where Jesus visits Mary and Martha sheds some light on this question too. Mary has chosen the better part according to Jesus even as Martha busies herself with household tasks in order to serve him. Never the less it would seem that Jesus loved both women. Yet at the last supper when Jesus washed the feet of the apostles as spoken of in John’s Gospel, he told them it was to remind them that they were to be servants to their fellow Christians. So a higher calling has great implications for the level of sacrifice expected. I can’t think of how one might find a higher calling than that of the twelve. We are also taught in Scripture that as Christians we are expected to not “Lord It” over our fellow human beings as the pagans do. See Mark10:38-44.


#12

[quote=bekalc]Didn’t Council of Trent say that being celibate doesn’t necessarily make you better.

Can I say something. I’m reminded of something a former teacher of mine (Pentecostal) said. He told us that God has specific vocations plans for each person. He talked about some people’s calling might be “assistant pastor.” He said that if your calling is an assistant pastor than being a senior pastor is not a promotion for you! It’s a demotion. I would say the same can apply in the Catholic Church. If God’s role is for someone to just be a deacon. That’s His plan for them. Then well becoming a bishop isn’t a promition for them…They aren’t in the will of God, and there’s something very sad about it.

I think this is the way it works. We should be about wanting to serve Jesus, not serving or glorifying ourselves. Frankly, God wants some people to get married and well raise kids! (He did say be fruitfull and multiply.) If that’s God’s plan for a person, than thats the plan they should be following. No matter what the "higher calling/the one with more honor in this world really is).

We are all important in the grand scheme of things.
[/quote]

A promotion wouldn’t be a fault or demotion, a promotion is given to those who deserve it and show capability. To receive that would in a sense be an act of God to put you in that position. Some how the idea of the higher rank was put on the officials mind and then were executed if prabable cause. God’s will would be working threw these officials to put that person in the position He wants or needs you to be in to follow his plans.


#13

The point of the thread was that there is a heresy of denying that CV is a higher state than marriage. So far most of you seem to agree but in the real world this is a BIG problem. I know a devote Catholic couple who took their daughter out of her CV community. I said to them that that was wrong. They answered that marriage is a sacrament. :eek: I was told by a secretary of a Bishop that to say CV is higher than marriage is just pride. :eek: But to say the opposite or that they are equal is heresy.

Many of these people are loyal to the Church, orthodox in most respects except this. I was told by someone going to a new orthodox USA Catholic College, that this heresy was taught there too. :eek: It isn’t clearly explained in the Catechism.

It was at one time a big enough problem for Pius XII to write a WHOLE encyclical about it.

I think that a lack of vocations is more than just campaigning. There is a real heresy at the heart of the crisis. Apostolate does not equal vocation. Vows are our vocation not Apostolate. JPII made it clear that for everyone marriage is our natural vocation. The decernment is if one is capable of CV.

But by promoting this idea of they are equal is heresy. :banghead:


#14

I was told by a secretary of a Bishop that to say CV is higher than marriage is just pride. But to say the opposite or that they are equal is heresy.

I think this stems from pride on the side of married folks. Now, before someone blows up at me, let me remind everyone that I am human and I do have great admiration and love for my parents and grandparents (through whom I myself was born) but that is not the point.

You average lay person might just not fathom how a vocation to the priesthood, or to CV in any form for men or women, could possibly be a higher vocation that having to put up with screaming babies, doctors appointments, soccer practice and all this other hard stuff that married folks do. Father just says mass, goes to meetings, takes a walk around town, has a bite to eat then sits at the rectory reading the Divine Office. Maybe hears a couple confessions or something.

Well, it is not a matter of “who works the hardest” (and that is a really subjective term anyway) but rather what kind of service they offer up to God. Priests are called on to do things that many people would never wish to have to do. I can sense it already (and I’m not even in the Seminary yet) what kinds of stuff a priest has to put up with. Try answering questions about marriage, contraception, or any matter pertaining to sexuality with an orthodox Catholic explanation. It isn’t exactly loads of fun to tell people something completely opposite from what they want to hear or from what Fr. Freelove says. I can just imagine the stuff you’d have to deal with as a real priest and not just a Seminary hopeful who is seen as an “authority” on Catholicism.

That is just some of the issues of a parish priest. But also, think about cloistered nuns or monks, or priests from an order. They give up their secular lives, in fact die to themselves to live in complete service to Christ. There is a lot of things that those called to CV or celibacy give up.

Now, those are just a few examples, I doubt I’ve spoke of all of them to any acceptible degree. Then we have what the Church Herself says on the matter. I just can’t see where you can go wrong with the Canon of a council AND the official interpretation of a Pope on the matter. Seems like it is a pretty open and shut case.

Someone might accuse me of “clericalism”-I wouldn’t care a bit. :thumbsup:


#15

Hi there Jasny…

JpII in his aposolic letter says:

FAMILIARIS CONSORTIO
16…Rightly indeed does St. John Chrysostom say: “Whoever denigrates marriage also diminishes the glory of virginity. Whoever praises it makes virginity more admirable and resplendent. What appears good only in comparison with evil would not be particularly good. It is something better than what is admitted to be good that is the most excellent good.”(38)

This footnote 38 unfortunately is not on the Vatican Website but in the book form refers to Pius XII ecyclical:

  1. This doctrine of the excellence of virginity and of celibacy and of their superiority over the married state was, as We have already said, revealed by our Divine Redeemer and by the Apostle of the Gentiles; so too, it was solemnly defined as a dogma of divine faith by the holy council of Trent, and explained in the same way by all the holy Fathers and Doctors of the Church. Finally, We and Our Predecessors have often expounded it and earnestly advocated it whenever occasion offered. But recent attacks on this traditional doctrine of the Church, the danger they constitute, and the harm they do to the souls of the faithful lead Us, in fulfillment of the duties of Our charge, to take up the matter once again in this Encyclical Letter, and to reprove these errors which are so often propounded under a specious appearance of truth.

This is something I do have difficulty with…it seems to me (while acknowledging a superior wisdom and knowledge in The Church) that the state of life to which God calls one is the state in life which will sanctify one and contribute to the whole Church.

Undoubtedly prior to actually choosing a state in life which does presuppose attraction to a particular state, one would be wise to seriously consider what The Church does proclaim, prior to following the attraction. But if there is no attraction to a particular state in any way, then God would not call one to that state. There is also a presupposition that one has the health etc. to fulfill the duties of that state…and I think good health is a requirement of all seminaries and noviciates. If God has not granted one this necessary health, then it is presupposed I understand that one is not called to that state.

It all boils down it seems to me to which is the more value, God’s Will for a person or a state in life per se. Undoubtedly in objectively considering the various states per se, some are superior to others…and yet nothing can be superior to God’s Will.

Peace…Barb


#16

[quote=rwoehmke]This past Sunday’s Epistle reading would certainly imply that CV was a higher state or calling. Luke10:38-42 where Jesus visits Mary and Martha sheds some light on this question too. Mary has chosen the better part according to Jesus even as Martha busies herself with household tasks in order to serve him. Never the less it would seem that Jesus loved both women. Yet at the last supper when Jesus washed the feet of the apostles as spoken of in John’s Gospel, he told them it was to remind them that they were to be servants to their fellow Christians. So a higher calling has great implications for the level of sacrifice expected. I can’t think of how one might find a higher calling than that of the twelve. We are also taught in Scripture that as Christians we are expected to not “Lord It” over our fellow human beings as the pagans do. See Mark10:38-44.
[/quote]

The debate did rage on in The Church for a while as to which was superior: the purely contemplative life or the contemplative AND active life lived together as one…it was decided I believe that the latter was the superior. This I think is fine for a purely objective discussion of particular states in life; however it remains so that nothing is superior to God’s Will…in other words, if I am called to a lesser state in an objective discussion, it does remain a fact that nothing at all is superior to God’s Will and to follow it faithfully and lovingly. I may be in a ‘lesser state’ but in unity with God’s Will my sanctification and hence contribution to the all is best achieved for me in my ‘lesser state’ objectively speaking.
There may be a temptation to be somewhat downcast because God has called me to the ‘lesser state’ - this I think is to confound worldly ways which deals in ‘lesser’ ‘more’ ‘least’ ‘bigger’ etc. etc. with the wisdom of The Lord which was obedient in all things to God’s Will and we are asked to do likewise. To state that a particular state in life is superior to God’s Will for a particular person to me is ridiculous.

Peace…Barb
Hi ComradeAndrei…

(and I’m not even in the Seminary yet)

…seems God is calling you to the priesthood from the above words…I rejoice for you in God’s Will for you. May He grant you Peace and joy, fulfillment and faithfulness in your call.


#17

…seems God is calling you to the priesthood from the above words…I rejoice for you in God’s Will for you. May He grant you Peace and joy, fulfillment and faithfulness in your call.

Thank you kindly. May God be with you also! :thumbsup:


#18

I may be in a ‘lesser state’ but in unity with God’s Will my sanctification and hence contribution to the all is best achieved for me in my ‘lesser state’ objectively speaking.
There may be a temptation to be somewhat downcast because God has called me to the ‘lesser state’ - this I think is to confound worldly ways which deals in ‘lesser’ ‘more’ ‘least’ ‘bigger’ etc. etc. with the wisdom of The Lord which was obedient in all things to God’s Will and we are asked to do likewise. To state that a particular state in life is superior to God’s Will for a particular person to me is ridiculous.

By trying to equalise the states we do damage to the Church. Consecrated Life was established by Christ Himself. This is a special gift to the Church. He also says who can take it take it. (that would mean that all healthy people would at least consider it) St. Paul advises not be married. The complete contemplative state is higher than contemplative\active. Because they give up more.

Is it ridiculous to say that a person has given up the great gift of having a loving family of children and spouse and the same person to submit his even greater faculty of Free Will to a religious superior of their state of life? Are you saying a dogma of the Faith is ridiculous? :confused:

Every act of a CV is two acts. An act of religion and an act of what ever virtue is practised. Cf. St. Thomas Aquinis


#19

By trying to equalise the states we do damage to the Church. Consecrated Life was established by Christ Himself. This is a special gift to the Church. He also says who can take it take it. (that would mean that all healthy people would at least consider it) St. Paul advises not be married. The complete contemplative state is higher than contemplative\active. Because they give up more.

Hi Jasny…what I meant was that God’s Will in all things is by far superior to anything in a subjective sense. In other words if say I have not the health for religious life and an indication hence that God is not calling me to the life, then God’s Will IN THIS INSTANCE is superior. Objectively, God may be calling me to an inferior lifestyle, but by the very fact of Him calling me to that state it becomes the superior state for me by virtue of God’s Will…hence a subjective consideration.

Is it ridiculous to say that a person has given up the great gift of having a loving family of children and spouse and the same person to submit his even greater faculty of Free Will to a religious superior of their state of life? Are you saying a dogma of the Faith is ridiculous? :confused:

The married state can be every bit as demanding as the religious state, if not at times moreso with more sacrifices daily asked. By the same token indeed, the religious state can be more demanding daily and with more sacrifices asked. At times and perhaps often, the call to religious life or the priesthood is not accompanied by sadness at loosing marriage and needing to surrender free will to a superior…at other times, this may well be. But to generalize the whole situation as in every instance I dont think quite reflects the actuality.
I live a celibate life and in obedience…I never found this a difficult choice to make, since I had no attraction to the married state etc. Giving up my own free will was a joy rather than a sacrifice.

I certainly hope that I am not contradicting a dogma of Faith! What I am saying is that where we humans are concerned and the various states of life, God’s Will is an overriding factor. In other words, If I choose religious life because it is superior and only for that reason, I may well make a mess of things, if God is not calling me to religious life. The superior act on my part hence would be to follow what IS God’s Will for my life. Nothing can be termed as superior to God’s Will.

Every act of a CV is two acts. An act of religion and an act of what ever virtue is practised. Cf. St. Thomas Aquinis

Can you further explain what you have drawn from St. Thomas for me please…I genuinely cannot understand what you are implying and do not ask qualification only to challenge:) . Also, and please excuse my ignorance, what do the initials CV stand for so I can ensure we are on common ground?:slight_smile: i.e. what constitutes an ‘act of religion’ … I think I insight ‘whatever virtue is practised’. Perhaps you can give me a link to the quote from St. Thomas?

Peace…Barb:)


#20

[quote=ComradeAndrei]Thank you kindly. May God be with you also! :thumbsup:
[/quote]

I like your signature…raised a real smile!
Rather, I thank you and the Grace of God dwelling in you, may it follow and enlighten and strengthen you throughout your journey…we need good priests!:slight_smile:

Blessings- Barb:thumbsup:


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