On a recent broadcast


#1

When asked about priestly and episcopal celibacy in the history of the church, Karl said that, although there were instances of married clergy very early on, upon ordination or elevation they agreed to live celibately. I believe the word he actually used was in “continence”; i.e. having agreed not to have conjugal relations with their spouses.

My question has to do with the verification of this. Where can I find some substantiation for this claim; i.e. that they remian “continent” after they became priests and/or bishops?

Thanks,
Mike %between%


#2

Can anyone tell me how to get this question answered? It’s significant because it speaks directly to Catholic truth claims at least on the level of claims made by individual apologists.


#3

i have no idea, i’ve never heard that before…
but, there are lots of things i haven’t heard… lol

but, on the surface, it makes no sense to me…

:slight_smile:


#4

[quote=Steadfast]When asked about priestly and episcopal celibacy in the history of the church, Karl said that, although there were instances of married clergy very early on, upon ordination or elevation they agreed to live celibately. I believe the word he actually used was in “continence”; i.e. having agreed not to have conjugal relations with their spouses.

My question has to do with the verification of this. Where can I find some substantiation for this claim; i.e. that they remian “continent” after they became priests and/or bishops?

Thanks,
Mike
[/quote]

This is well documented in Christian Cochini’s book, *The Apostolic Origins of Priestly Celibacy, *available from Ignatius Press.

Also, look here.


#5

[quote=johnshelby]i have no idea, i’ve never heard that before…
but, there are lots of things i haven’t heard… lol

but, on the surface, it makes no sense to me…

:slight_smile:
[/quote]

Stay tuned. It makes excellent sense.

Even in our own day, my mentor, an Episcopal Priest who became a Bishop, used to refrain from his conjugal privileges on those nights before he celebrated the Eucharist, which was two or three times a week.


#6

[quote=mercygate]Stay tuned. It makes excellent sense.

Even in our own day, my mentor, an Episcopal Priest who became a Bishop, used to refrain from his conjugal privileges on those nights before he celebrated the Eucharist, which was two or three times a week.
[/quote]

i understand the reasons for a celibate priesthood… i understand
why a widower who becomes a priest would remain celibate…

but, when a married man, is made a priest… i can’t understand
why they would be required to remain celibate… it would be
like saying that the sacrement of marriage brings these gifts
to both the husband and wife, unless he becomes a priest,
then the gifts are no longer appropriate or holy… that just
doesn’t seem… right…

i read the link provided, and i see that the statement was
true, during some turbulent times in the church, this was
the rule… but… it still doesn’t make sense to me… lol

your example, i believe, was doing so on his own, as a type
of mortification before the mass, to prepare himself for the
sacrafice… right?? there was no 'rule’
against he and his wife being together… and refraining from
anything on those days, is not being celibate… just as
fasting during lent isn’t like giving up eating…

:slight_smile:


#7

[quote=johnshelby]i understand the reasons for a celibate priesthood… i understand
why a widower who becomes a priest would remain celibate…

but, when a married man, is made a priest… i can’t understand
why they would be required to remain celibate… it would be
like saying that the sacrement of marriage brings these gifts
to both the husband and wife, unless he becomes a priest,
then the gifts are no longer appropriate or holy… that just
doesn’t seem… right…

i read the link provided, and i see that the statement was
true, during some turbulent times in the church, this was
the rule… but… it still doesn’t make sense to me… lol

your example, i believe, was doing so on his own, as a type
of mortification before the mass, to prepare himself for the
sacrafice… right?? there was no 'rule’
against he and his wife being together… and refraining from
anything on those days, is not being celibate… just as
fasting during lent isn’t like giving up eating…

:slight_smile:
[/quote]

Today, when a married Convert is ordained to the priesthood in the Latin Church, he does not have to forego his conjugal privileges. :slight_smile:


#8

[quote=Steadfast]When asked about priestly and episcopal celibacy in the history of the church, Karl said that, although there were instances of married clergy very early on, upon ordination or elevation they agreed to live celibately. I believe the word he actually used was in “continence”; i.e. having agreed not to have conjugal relations with their spouses.

My question has to do with the verification of this. Where can I find some substantiation for this claim; i.e. that they remian “continent” after they became priests and/or bishops?

Thanks,
Mike
[/quote]

The council of Nicea declares that no priest shall live with any woman except for if it is his mother or sister. This was to avoid suspicion. It was canon4 I think.


#9

[quote=mercygate]Today, when a married Convert is ordained to the priesthood in the Latin Church, he does not have to forego his conjugal privileges. :slight_smile:
[/quote]

and that makes perfect sense to me… :slight_smile:

:slight_smile:


#10

[quote=johnshelby]your example, i believe, was doing so on his own, as a type of mortification before the mass, to prepare himself for the sacrafice… right?? there was no 'rule’
against he and his wife being together… and refraining from
anything on those days
[/quote]

I have heard that in the Eastern Catholic Churches, married priests must abstain from marital relations the evening before the sacrifice of the Mass. That is one reason that daily Mass is not common in those rites.


#11

[quote=JimG]I have heard that in the Eastern Catholic Churches, married priests must abstain from marital relations the evening before the sacrifice of the Mass. That is one reason that daily Mass is not common in those rites.
[/quote]

That is true. It is the same with the Eastern Orthodox.


#12

[quote=johnshelby]i understand the reasons for a celibate priesthood… i understand
why a widower who becomes a priest would remain celibate…

but, when a married man, is made a priest… i can’t understand
why they would be required to remain celibate… :slight_smile:
[/quote]

possible because that was the discipline for temple priests so it held over with the Christians who came from the Jewish tradition. I believe it is still the tradition in some Orthodox Churches. It doesn’t sound right to our modern sensibilities, accustomed as we are to the sex on demand theory of marriage and sexuality, but we must see things from the perspective of the culture of the time, not our own.


#13

[quote=puzzleannie]possible because that was the discipline for temple priests so it held over with the Christians who came from the Jewish tradition. I believe it is still the tradition in some Orthodox Churches. It doesn’t sound right to our modern sensibilities, accustomed as we are to the sex on demand theory of marriage and sexuality, but we must see things from the perspective of the culture of the time, not our own.
[/quote]

were temple priests celibate?? John the Baptist’s father was
a temple priest wasn’t he?

but, you are right… it was a different time, with different needs
and problems… and ways of dealing with them…

:slight_smile:


#14

[quote=johnshelby]were temple priests celibate?? John the Baptist’s father was
a temple priest wasn’t he?

but, you are right… it was a different time, with different needs
and problems… and ways of dealing with them…

:slight_smile:
[/quote]

They were not perpetually celibate. They did not come together with their wives during their term of service.


#15

This first post in this thread may refer to my comments on the December 6 edition of “Catholic Answers Live.”

Yes, the custom was that a couple would have to agree to live continently if the husband were to be ordained. If either party disagreed, then he could not be ordained.

Ordination was considered to be the higher sacrament, and so certain elements of matrimony were set aside, so to speak.

On the air I referred to Christian Cochini’s book, which gives ample documentation.

As for modern times, I know of at least one convert priest who indeed, with his wife, has vowed to live continently after ordination. (He had been a Protestant minister and was ordained under the Pastoral Provision.)

Frankly, I think the old custom ought to be followed today. This goes for permanent deacons too. Until Paul VI’s reform, if a married man were ordained a deacon (usually on the way to priestly ordination), he and his wife had to agree to a life of continence.

At the very least, a return to the old custom would limit candidates for the diaconate to the very serious, which I think would be good. To my mind, we have too many deacons–or, at least, too many who are badly trained and too many who seem disinclined to learn.


#16

[quote=mercygate]They were not perpetually celibate. They did not come together with their wives during their term of service.
[/quote]

Jewish men could not have sex with their wives during war (think Bathsheba and David). That is because they were supposed to be consecrated to God while on the campaign. If that is the case, just consider how much more dignified the priestly role is to that of the soldier. I think it makes perfect sense.


#17

[quote=Karl Keating]This first post in this thread may refer to my comments on the December 6 edition of “Catholic Answers Live.”

Yes, the custom was that a couple would have to agree to live continently if the husband were to be ordained. If either party disagreed, then he could not be ordained.

Ordination was considered to be the higher sacrament, and so certain elements of matrimony were set aside, so to speak.

On the air I referred to Christian Cochini’s book, which gives ample documentation.

As for modern times, I know of at least one convert priest who indeed, with his wife, has vowed to live continently after ordination. (He had been a Protestant minister and was ordained under the Pastoral Provision.)

Frankly, I think the old custom ought to be followed today. This goes for permanent deacons too. Until Paul VI’s reform, if a married man were ordained a deacon (usually on the way to priestly ordination), he and his wife had to agree to a life of continence.

At the very least, a return to the old custom would limit candidates for the diaconate to the very serious, which I think would be good. To my mind, we have too many deacons–or, at least, too many who are badly trained and too many who seem disinclined to learn.
[/quote]

Karl,
I believe you are very sincere about your thoughts of the Diaconate, but I do hope you are wrong. I don’t know much about the diaconate where you are, but our deacons are wonderful Godly men here at my parish. Unfortunately the 2 deacons we have at my parish are very suddenly in poor health. I would hope that a requirement like that wouldn’t deter some of the men of my parish from responding to a call from our Lord.


#18

[quote=johnshelby]were temple priests celibate?? John the Baptist’s father was
a temple priest wasn’t he?
:slight_smile:
[/quote]

they were required to abstain from sex with their wives just before (and during) their term of service in the temple. That is continence, not celibacy. Celibacy is being unmarried. Continence is refraining from sex.


#19

in this diocese (Brownsville) as in my former diocese (Youngstown) diaconate training programs were suspended by incoming bishops for grave problems with the training, the course content, the texts, the teachers and the discernment and selection process of the candidates. After more than 10 years, our bishop has just announced the diaconate formation program is being revived and established on an orthodox basis. Very good news. Most parishes here simply could not function fully without their deacons.


#20

[quote=Karl Keating]Until Paul VI’s reform, if a married man were ordained a deacon (usually on the way to priestly ordination), he and his wife had to agree to a life of continence.

At the very least, a return to the old custom would limit candidates for the diaconate to the very serious, which I think would be good. To my mind, we have too many deacons–or, at least, too many who are badly trained and too many who seem disinclined to learn.
[/quote]

In our archdiocese of 100plus parishes we have two count-em two permanent deacons. Perhaps our restraint has preseved us from the abuses from the horrific hangover of the excesses of the 60’s and 70’s.But more would be good. And those ill-taught, unteachable lay leadership problems still remain. - And perhaps the {arch}Bishops require more prayer and support from the laity so that they can discipline with wisdom and courage.
I believe also that, especially now, the church needs to fully teach and model the fulness of true conjugal love. I thnkyour solution would not solve the problems of illtaught, disobedient, too numerous, and unteachable deacons… and it would cause other difficlties. Using life continence as a blunt instrument to determine serious intent undermines holy orders, marrriage, and the teaching of the church on human sexuality.


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