My prediction: Next pope will end mandatory celibacy

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jbuck919
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My prediction: Next pope will end mandatory celibacy

Post by jbuck919 » Tue Mar 23, 2010 11:10 am

I am generally the opposite of sanguine about any substantive change in Catholic Church discipline, but the pressures from the current situation are becoming too great not to require what to traditional Catholics will seem an extreme response. Now at least one conservative churchman of stature has spoken out on the topic. Celibacy is by the church's own standards strictly a matter of church discipline rather than doctrine and can be changed at any time with the stroke of the pope's pen. There is a relatively recent precedent for a change at approximately this level, and that is Paul VI's rule that cardinals over the age of 80 could not vote for pope. You may rest assured that he was addressing an extremely serious problem when he did that, though it would not have gotten the kind of publicity the current scandal has. IMO the chief obstacle to lifting the celibacy ban is the reluctance of the church hierarchy to declare as obsolete the life state to which they and their predecessors have pledged themselves for many centuries.

(BTW, though I would have previously picked Schönborn as the likely next pope, his candidacy has been tainted by scandals within his own archdiocese, where the seminary had to be closed because abuse was uncovered.)



From The Times of London
March 12, 2010
Cardinal Schönborn says celibacy partly to blame for clerical sex abuse
Richard Owen, Rome, and Ruth Gledhill
Cardinal Christoph Schoenborn

(Osservatore Romano)

Cardinal Christoph Schönborn is seen as a future candidate for the papacy

A senior cardinal has called for priestly celibacy to be re-examined in the light of sex scandals sweeping the Roman Catholic Church. Cardinal Christoph Schönborn, conservative Archbishop of Vienna and a protégé of the Pope, shocked the Vatican by suggesting that it should carry out an “unflinching examination” of causes of the scandal.

These included “the issue of priests’ training”, he wrote in his archdiocese magazine, “the question of priest celibacy and the question of personality development. It requires a great deal of honesty, both on the part of the Church and of society as a whole”.

The Vatican said the remarks had been misinterpreted. “Priestly celibacy is a gift of the Holy Spirit,” Cardinal Claudio Hummes, prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy, said at a theological convention on priestly fidelity.

Cardinal Schönborn’s spokesman, Erich Leitenberger, issued a clarification later claiming that the cardinal was not “in any way seeking to question the Catholic Church’s celibacy rule”. Sources in Rome said he had been obliged to issue his “clarification” under pressure from the Holy See.

The cardinal, a respected conservative theologian, has a history of sparking controversy. He is an ordinary — or bishop — to Austria’s Eastern Rite Catholics, whose priests are allowed to marry, just as priests in the new Anglican Ordinariates being set up around the world for ex-Anglican clergy will be allowed to marry. Last year in Rome, Cardinal Schönborn, who has always been close to the Pope, presented a petition signed by leading Austrian lay Catholics calling for the abolition of the requirement for priestly celibacy.

Cardinal Schönborn told Vatican Radio last year that he did not agree with the petition’s conclusions, which also included a demand for women deacons, but added: “It is important for someone in Rome to know what some of our lay people are thinking about the problems of the Church.”

Despite calls by a number of theologians and lay Catholic organisations for priestly celibacy to be abolished or made optional, it has been repeatedly reaffirmed by successive Popes, including Pope Benedict XVI. However, Cardinal Hummes, from Brazil, once observed that celibacy was “not dogma”.

The celibacy rule for priests was not part of the early Christian Church but was introduced in the Middle Ages. A number of early Church fathers were married, including St Peter himself, according to St Mark’s Gospel.

In his article, Cardinal Schönborn said he could understand the frustration of many of the faithful over the paedophilia scandals. “Enough is enough. That’s what many people are saying and thinking.”

The Pope is due to issue a pastoral letter to the faithful in Ireland on the sex abuse issue after meeting Irish bishops last month. The scandal has come closer to the pontiff after it emerged that a former chorister in Regensburg — where the Pope once taught — had claimed he was abused while he was a member of the Cathedral choir, which was led for three decades by Georg Ratzinger, the Pope’s older brother. Monsignor Ratzinger this week admitted he had “slapped” choirboys but said he knew nothing of sexual abuse.

Today the Pope is to meet Robert Zollitsch, head of the German bishops’ conference, to discuss the growing crisis over clerical sex abuse in several countries including the Pope’s native Germany. Archbishop Zollitsch has described clerical abuse as “outrageous” and asked the victims for forgiveness, but has denied any link between sex abuse and celibacy.

An article in L’Osservatore Romano, the Vatican newspaper, by the historian Lucetta Scaraffia, suggested that having more women in high-level decision-making bodies would have helped to lift the “veil of masculine secrecy” over clerical sex-abuse cases.

This week the dissident theologian Father Hans Küng, who was stripped of his licence to teach Catholic theology in 1979 after he rejected the doctrine of Papal infallibility, said in The Tablet that denials of any link between abuse and celibacy were “erroneous”.

He said celibacy was not the only cause of the misconduct but described it as “the most important and structurally the most decisive” expression of the Church’s repressive attitude to sex.

Last November the Vatican said its new rules allowing the conversion of Anglicans, including married Anglican priests, did not “signify any change” in its rules for priestly celibacy.


Copyright 2010 Times Newspapers Ltd.

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Re: My prediction: Next pope will end mandatory celibacy

Post by DavidRoss » Tue Mar 23, 2010 11:46 am

Well, I guess we can safely bet that we'll never seen an end to Roman Catholic priestly celibacy in our lifetimes--or the next pope's!
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Re: My prediction: Next pope will end mandatory celibacy

Post by josé echenique » Tue Mar 23, 2010 12:08 pm

I think it is possible that the Catholic Church will review celibacy. In it´s origins the Church tried to copy the most efficient institution the World had known up to that time: the Roman Army. During military campaigns it was difficult for soldiers to leave their families, often for years, that was a major problem of discipline in the mighty Roman Army, maybe that´s why when priests were expected to go to far and often dangerous places to evangelize it was best if they didn´t have families to worry about.
Things have changed, and really, it´s more difficult these days to justify celibacy.

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Re: My prediction: Next pope will end mandatory celibacy

Post by jbuck919 » Tue Mar 23, 2010 1:42 pm

A lot depends on how successful the church is at preventing newer cases of abuse (or preventing them from coming to light, anyway). If they can establish that current psychological screening (which is now explicitly designed to eliminate psychic homosexuals among other things) is successful--by the criterion that there are no reports of abuse cases that are not years old--then they may be able to put off bringing an end to celibacy. It is a question to how easily they regain their complacency.

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Re: My prediction: Next pope will end mandatory celibacy

Post by Seán » Tue Mar 23, 2010 3:43 pm

jbuck919 wrote:A lot depends on how successful the church is at preventing newer cases of abuse (or preventing them from coming to light, anyway).
From an Irish perspective: people are no longer in awe of the clergy and the media are not afraid of them either so further revelations of their deviant behaivour will be made public.
I expect that the rules on celibacy may be retained out of concern for property rights within the institutional church.
Seán

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Re: My prediction: Next pope will end mandatory celibacy

Post by jbuck919 » Tue Mar 23, 2010 4:01 pm

Seán wrote:
jbuck919 wrote:A lot depends on how successful the church is at preventing newer cases of abuse (or preventing them from coming to light, anyway).
From an Irish perspective: people are no longer in awe of the clergy and the media are not afraid of them either so further revelations of their deviant behaivour will be made public.
I expect that the rules on celibacy may be retained out of concern for property rights within the institutional church.
I'm not sure what you mean by that. I am aware that there are different arrangements in different countries, but in the US, the bishop is the flat-out sole owner of every piece of church property in his diocese (which makes some of them extraordinarily wealthy and powerful men when you think about it); this would not change just because priests were married. Of more practical concern here is living arrangements for priests with families, but if priests could suddenly married they'd figure that out PDQ.

A real obstacle to change, however, is that bishops would lose the stranglehold over their priests' lives and living if the priests had families to think about. Also, a priest with a family would need a much larger salary than is currently paid to diocesan priests in the US. IMO a large part of the resistance is simply the hierarchy not wanting the bother.

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Re: My prediction: Next pope will end mandatory celibacy

Post by Corlyss_D » Tue Mar 23, 2010 4:16 pm

jbuck919 wrote:I am generally the opposite of sanguine about any substantive change in Catholic Church discipline, but the pressures from the current situation are becoming too great not to require what to traditional Catholics will seem an extreme response. Now at least one conservative churchman of stature has spoken out on the topic. Celibacy is by the church's own standards strictly a matter of church discipline rather than doctrine and can be changed at any time with the stroke of the pope's pen. There is a relatively recent precedent for a change at approximately this level, and that is Paul VI's rule that cardinals over the age of 80 could not vote for pope. You may rest assured that he was addressing an extremely serious problem when he did that, though it would not have gotten the kind of publicity the current scandal has. IMO the chief obstacle to lifting the celibacy ban is the reluctance of the church hierarchy to declare as obsolete the life state to which they and their predecessors have pledged themselves for many centuries.
It's such a relatively recent ban too, existing for only half the life of the church. If it does happen, which I think unlikely in this century, it will be only in response to the loss of revenue/membership. It was the battle over offspring inheriting church property that produced the whole concept in the first place. We have much better legal systems now than can make those rights much more fixed than they could be in 1000 AD.
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Re: My prediction: Next pope will end mandatory celibacy

Post by Seán » Tue Mar 23, 2010 4:31 pm

Corlyss_D wrote:
jbuck919 wrote:I am generally the opposite of sanguine about any substantive change in Catholic Church discipline, but the pressures from the current situation are becoming too great not to require what to traditional Catholics will seem an extreme response. Now at least one conservative churchman of stature has spoken out on the topic. Celibacy is by the church's own standards strictly a matter of church discipline rather than doctrine and can be changed at any time with the stroke of the pope's pen. There is a relatively recent precedent for a change at approximately this level, and that is Paul VI's rule that cardinals over the age of 80 could not vote for pope. You may rest assured that he was addressing an extremely serious problem when he did that, though it would not have gotten the kind of publicity the current scandal has. IMO the chief obstacle to lifting the celibacy ban is the reluctance of the church hierarchy to declare as obsolete the life state to which they and their predecessors have pledged themselves for many centuries.
It's such a relatively recent ban too, existing for only half the life of the church. If it does happen, which I think unlikely in this century, it will be only in response to the loss of revenue/membership. It was the battle over offspring inheriting church property that produced the whole concept in the first place. We have much better legal systems now than can make those rights much more fixed than they could be in 1000 AD.
Exactly, it has nothing to do with God and all to do with money.
Seán

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Re: My prediction: Next pope will end mandatory celibacy

Post by jbuck919 » Tue Mar 23, 2010 4:57 pm

Seán wrote:
Corlyss_D wrote:
jbuck919 wrote:I am generally the opposite of sanguine about any substantive change in Catholic Church discipline, but the pressures from the current situation are becoming too great not to require what to traditional Catholics will seem an extreme response. Now at least one conservative churchman of stature has spoken out on the topic. Celibacy is by the church's own standards strictly a matter of church discipline rather than doctrine and can be changed at any time with the stroke of the pope's pen. There is a relatively recent precedent for a change at approximately this level, and that is Paul VI's rule that cardinals over the age of 80 could not vote for pope. You may rest assured that he was addressing an extremely serious problem when he did that, though it would not have gotten the kind of publicity the current scandal has. IMO the chief obstacle to lifting the celibacy ban is the reluctance of the church hierarchy to declare as obsolete the life state to which they and their predecessors have pledged themselves for many centuries.
It's such a relatively recent ban too, existing for only half the life of the church. If it does happen, which I think unlikely in this century, it will be only in response to the loss of revenue/membership. It was the battle over offspring inheriting church property that produced the whole concept in the first place. We have much better legal systems now than can make those rights much more fixed than they could be in 1000 AD.
Exactly, it has nothing to do with God and all to do with money.
I'm sorry, but I'm missing something here. In Ireland, do priests own their churches or church property? If not, then they cannot pass them on to their children. It is not now the case that any property a priest owns in his own right (and some of them do have houses, etc.) reverts to the church on his death. They are free to will it as they see fit. I think (I hope) Corlyss was implying that ownership status is clear enough these days that inheritance would no longer be an issue.

The issue of reduced membership and revenue is not as urgent as one might think. The church whines about cafeteria Catholics but happily accepts their money, and they in turn are happy to continue to hand it over, at least in sufficient amounts to keep the church from collapsing. If the church were suddenly reduced to the line-toeing faithful, it would actually bring the membership more in line with the diminishing number of clergy and pressures to end celibacy would be reduced. It is the shrinking number of priests without a shrinking of the church that is the real pressure point. The official delusion is that the paucity of vocations is a temporary phenomenon and continued prayer and the faithfulness of the church will eventually remedy it. We're still (but only) a generation away from almost all priests in the Western world dying and not being replaced. Maintaining celibacy and strengthening screening to eliminate undesirable candidates is going to further reduce the number of vocations to a trickle. It remains to be seen if and how long the delusion will survive the reality of nearly no priests. The current trend is to spread what priests there are increasingly thin.

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Re: My prediction: Next pope will end mandatory celibacy

Post by Corlyss_D » Tue Mar 23, 2010 5:07 pm

jbuck919 wrote: In Ireland, do priests own their churches or church property? If not, then they cannot pass them on to their children.
Well, not now, but it was a near-run thing whether the Irish version of Christianity, which, if I recall, did not embrace celebacy, became the leading brand as opposed to the Roman version that we all know and love now. The Irish version dominated the western provinces of Europe and was aiming to cross the Alps before it lost out to the Roman. The struggles between the two were very active around the same time.

I think (I hope) Corlyss was implying that ownership status is clear enough these days that inheritance would no longer be an issue.
Yes, that's what I meant. Today the property wars are between the break-aways and the mother churches. I'm not sure civil law is a useful or appropriate venue for those.
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Re: My prediction: Next pope will end mandatory celibacy

Post by RebLem » Tue Mar 23, 2010 5:48 pm

I think its much more likely that the Church will deal with its personnel crisis by accellerating the process that's been going on for 40 years--decreasing the number of tasks that only a priest can do. I predict that eventually, only the pastor of a parish will have to be a priest. Already, deacons, and even women (horrors) can give Communion. I predict that soon, deacons will be allowed to hear confessions, say Mass, and administer the sacraments of Marriage and Extreme Unction, and that their administering the sacrament of Baptism will become the norm.
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Re: My prediction: Next pope will end mandatory celibacy

Post by jbuck919 » Tue Mar 23, 2010 6:21 pm

RebLem wrote:I think its much more likely that the Church will deal with its personnel crisis by accellerating the process that's been going on for 40 years--decreasing the number of tasks that only a priest can do. I predict that eventually, only the pastor of a parish will have to be a priest. Already, deacons, and even women (horrors) cam give Communion. I predict that soon, deacons will be allowed to hear confessions, say Mass, and administer the sacrament of Marriage and Extreme Unction, and that their administering the sacrament of Baptism will become the norm.
You are right that the current trend of using priests only for what priests can do will continue. Where I live now, virtually every other function has been taken over by non-priests. However, there is a strict limit to how far this can go that is not a matter of church discipline but is inextricably tied to doctrine. Only priests can perform the act of consecration (i.e., say Mass) and hear confessions and the pope cannot change that with a stroke of the pen. Pretty soon that's all priests will be doing, assuming then that they can find people who are happy doing little else but "turning wafers into Jesus" as it is sometimes irreverently put.

On the other hand, I would not equate this with only pastors being priests. Many parishes already have no priest pastor (they have a parish administrator who is a lay person or sometimes a religious sister). What priests there are in such cases ride a circuit every Sunday saying Mass in several different places. It is conceivable and in fact may already have happened in some places that some parishes would not have Mass at all. That, and not non-priests taking over, is what must happen when no priest is available.

Deacons are a false lead in all this. They only perform the functions they do because they are currently the only ones canonically licensed to do so. Doctrinally, any baptized person can perform a baptism, and any two baptized persons can marry each other validly by the exchange of vows in front of witnesses. The church teaches that these sacraments should be performed under canonically recognized auspices to be licit in addition to being valid but the pope can change what is licit at will, and the requirements may be dispensed with without permission in extreme circumstances (such as that the auspices of the church are not available to begin with). In principle, deacons are window dressing and provide nothing that could not be provided for otherwise. Only priests (and bishops, who are also priests) are "magic."

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Re: My prediction: Next pope will end mandatory celibacy

Post by piston » Tue Mar 23, 2010 6:56 pm

I haven't done research and I'm not so much interested in when the celibacy thing started as to the reason why. Does anybody know what is the root of this Catholic practice? Of all Catholic values it has got to be the most curious one. Vow of poverty? Sure, it makes sense to associate spirituality with the very opposite of material acquisition. Indeed, the Jesuits were (somewhat) appreciated among Native Americans because, in contrast to Protestant ministers, they were not constantly looking for their own material interests. :wink: But vow of celibacy? What's the original rationale for it?
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Re: My prediction: Next pope will end mandatory celibacy

Post by Brendan » Tue Mar 23, 2010 8:52 pm

Well, everything old is new again. The Church is now urged to accept every heresy and every worldly, anti-Christian ideal into its fold and its life. As Kostenberger and Kruger will say in their forthcoming, much-anticipated (by me, anyway) work, Orthodoxy is the truly unthinkable heresy today.

The Jovinianist Controversy (Jovinianius died circa 400) was around at about the same time as the establishemnt of orthodoxy and the doctrinal controversies (Council of Constantinople was 381), monasticism and the offices of the clergy (see David G. Hunter's Marriage, Celibacy, and Heresy in Ancient Christianity: The Jovinianist Controversy, Oxford 2009).

Doctrine, asceticism, monasticism, clergy and congregation all developed together, often deeply influenced if not defined by the same people (St Basil, St Gregory Nazianzen, St Gregory of Nyssa, St Athaniasius) who all knew each other. Women were the driving force behind Christian asceticism and monasticism. St Macrina, sister of St Basil the Great and St Gregory of Nyssa, who knew St Gregory Nazianzen, was the first Bride of Christ - her betrothed died en route to their wedding, and the young Macrina declared that she would not marry another man as she was already married. She also delared that she was to be thought of as married to Christ. The community of virgin women she established provided the model for St Basil in establishing Christian monasticism forevermore.

The transformation of Macrina’s immediate family into an ascetic community proceeded in successive stages, which can be viewed as the gradual dissolution of the traditional family structure and its reconstitution on a spiritual basis: personal poverty; the manumission of slaves and their treatment as equals; the widening of the inner circle to include those slaves; and finally, the reception of members without any relationship to the original household into the newly created ascetic community . . .
Elm, Susanna – ‘Virgins of God’ – The Making of Asceticism in Late Antiquity [Oxford Classical Monographs, 1994, 2004, p. 100]

The veneration of St Thecla (see Stephen J. Davis' The Cult of St Thecla: A Tradition of Women's Piety in Late Antiquity, Oxford, 2008) provided an early model of female sanctity and virginity. As companion to St Paul mentioned in scripture, Thecla provided the early model as much if not more than even the Blessed Virgin (whose perpetual viginity was first expressed tangentially in the Protoevangelium of James, a 2nd C work, and expressly in Origen's Commentary on Matthew c. 248).

Origen was the Church's first and possibly most influential theologian (who was later accused of castrating himself to avoid the temptations of the flesh - a common practice not exclusive to Christianity that carried the death sentence in ancient Rome). Another of his notions that was later condemned, that of universal salvation or apocatastasis (see Morenna Ludlow's Universal Salvation: Eschatology in the Thought of Gregory of Nyssa and Karl Rahner and Ridde-Gallwitz's Basil of Caesarea, Gregory of Nyssa and the Transformation of Divine Simplicity, Oxford, 2009), is closely related, as is the notion of divine simplicity - and therefore the Cappadocian formula of "one ousia, three hypostases" that became orthodox Trinitarianism, even if rarely mentioned by the Cappadocian Father themselves - worked out thoroughly by St Gregory of Nyssa, who wrote The Life of Macrina as well as On Virginity. St Gregory of Nyssa thought himself less pure - as did his celibate friends and brothers - because of his marriage. On Virginity really is an alien work to us today - even an ascetic enthusiast such as myself.

Basically, those who lived a prayerful life thought they deserved to be "first cab off the rank" and ultimately a higher place in the afterlife than those who lived a worldly life. The notion that sacred celibacy was a later invention (c. 1000 and the time of The Great Schism) is pure, demonstrable balderdash - as any passing reading of Patristics shows. That East and West differed in their attitude to mandatory clerical celibacy (rather than its desirability) was yet another cause for institutional Schism beyond the filioque (see, for instance, the polemical works of St Nicetas Stethatos, biographer of St Symeon the New Theologian) and should be seen in that context. The Church of Rome insisted on mandatory celibacy from their established traditions and practice, dating back to St John Cassian (a follower of Evagrius Ponticus, who learned from St Basil and St Gregory), St Benedict and St Gregory the Great.

Also attendant to the debate on virginity is that of the role of the body in the religious life and the afterlife (see Adam Cooper's The Body in St Maximus the Confessor: Holy Flesh Wholly Deified, Oxford, 2005). The tapestry of the whole Church is made of interwoven threads. We may have forgotten that virginity, universal salvation, divine simplicity, the Trinity, theosis, the imitation of Christ, asceticism, the clergy and the laity were all woven together in the life and doctrine of the Church, but that doesn’t mean they weren't, as can be revealed with some study.

It should be noted that St Gregory of Nyssa's marriage did not prevent him becoming bishop of Nyssa nor a saint and Father of the Church. Nevertheless, his attitude expressed in On Virginity is full-on by today's standards. What is clear is that the doctrine of the Trinity, of theosis, the establishment of monastic life and rule, asceticism and apophatic theology, the attitude to viginity and more were all developed into Orthodoxy by the same people during the same debates. It wasn't that last word by any means, and those involved looked to tradition to establish the truth of their ideas, but it was a critical period in all aspects of the life of the Church. Perhaps it should also be noted that St Basil and St Gregory Nazianzen's opposition to the Emporer Valens (an Arian heretic) may have contributed to the result of the Battle of Adrianople and the victory of the Goths - and ultimately the Fall of Rome in the West (see McGucken's biography of St Gregory Nazianzus).

A busy and critical period indeed. All of this was happening while Rome fell apart. When Hannibal invaded Italy during the Second Punic, what was the reaction of the populace of Rome? The public and popular execution of Vestal Virgins found not to be truly virginal and a massive outbreak of public piety and asceticism. They thought that the gods were punishing Rome for their lack of piety and virtue.

The PC activists would like us to think this issue is simply a minor, largely dated and irrelevant loose thread - but a sharp tug could unravel the whole glorious tapestry. That is, of course, what the PC activists want, but they won’t say it publically. Virginity and celibacy - the opposite socially and spiritually to the sleaze of the gay lifestyle and popular pornography - are now an aberation if not mental illness, and about the only "true" sexual perversion in modern permissive culture.

In Australia, the main motivation for Anglicans joing the Catholic Church en masse is to escape liberalism such as a gay priesthood in Anglican and Episcopalian ecclesia, ala John Shelby Spong in the USA. Marriage and family places the worldly life and priorities above those of the Church, God, the religious life and pastoral care. Once introduced, feminism and all it's baggage - and all the rest of the rancid, vapid and vile PC filth - won’t be far behind and the Church of Christ would disappear forever.

Once again - exactly what the PC activists want. The Church should be a refuge, a sanctuary from the world, not its most radically vile incarnation imaginable. The object should be to create the most Catholic, religious clergy possible, not the most worldly and PC.

Protestantism, which has no monastic history ever and precious little ascetic or spiritual life at all, has always been confused on the issue and cannot recognise the interwoven nature of Catholic thought and doctrine. They accept the doctrines of Incarnation and Trinity defined by St Basil, St Gregory etc but not the totality of thought and experience that went into it. Some today dispute or dismiss the Trinity itself as that word does not appear in literal scripture, unaware of its provenance.

Every ancient heresy is new and shiny again, particularly to the uneducated.

Ascetic communities pre-date Christianity (see Philo) and were not exclusive to it (see C.S. Lewis' The Discarded Image and Elm, cited above). Buddhist monks and priests abstain from sex for the same reasons as Catholics - the spiritual life of prayer and transcendance trumps that of the biological and worldly - or certainly should in any priest worth the title, in any religion. The rationale for celibacy is the attainment of union with God as the Infinite Other through the life of prayer, not marriage with another who is merely bodily Other (no gay marriage in the religious life, folks. Same-sex union - by definition - in no way reflects and imitates the union with the infinately mysterious Other) for a life of sex and family.

The distraction of libido during prayer (the demon of lust) really annoys the ascetically inclined. There you are praying to God, in union with the Inifinite Sacred Mystery beyond all thought and sensory experience - and an image of Elle MacPherson in a bikini pops into your head from your groin, unbidden and unwanted. From sacred ecstasy to bodily sleaze and self-loathing in an instant. But the basic concepts of prayer and meditation are alien to modern, PC culture utterly opposed to Christian (or indeed any religious thought or experience beyond a "tolerance" of any religion that isn’t Christianity) thought and life.

The flock should be able to call on its shephard without having to wonder if he's getting busy with a lady or his kids have a sniffle - or if she is pregnant. Pastoral care trumps familial obligation, let alone romance, in a priest - and always should. Anyone who doesn’t have that attitude shouldn’t apply for the position. It is one of total selfless giving in holy communion to the faith in the Church (his true Bride) and to the sinners that are the flock - and his true children. Anything less should be damned and anathematized for all time.

The issue is far too complex and deeply ingrained in the Catholic Church to be altered with impunity in the next few decades, unless the Church decides to not be Catholic or Christian - or even religious or spiritual - anymore and bows to the worldly idol of Leftist PC.



PS. I have every volume cited in this post on my shelves save that of Kostenberger and Kruger (The Heresy of Orthodoxy: How Contemporary Culture's Fascination with Diversity Has Reshaped Our Understanding of Early Christianty), which I have on pre-order with Amazon as it is yet to be published.

EDIT: spelling, typos and quote
Last edited by Brendan on Wed Mar 24, 2010 2:19 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: My prediction: Next pope will end mandatory celibacy

Post by jbuck919 » Tue Mar 23, 2010 8:59 pm

piston wrote:I haven't done research and I'm not so much interested in when the celibacy thing started as to the reason why. Does anybody know what is the root of this Catholic practice? Of all Catholic values it has got to be the most curious one. Vow of poverty? Sure, it makes sense to associate spirituality with the very opposite of material acquisition. Indeed, the Jesuits were (somewhat) appreciated among Native Americans because, in contrast to Protestant ministers, they were not constantly looking for their own material interests. :wink: But vow of celibacy? What's the original rationale for it?
Wikipedia has a lot of information in the article "Clerical Celibacy."

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Re: My prediction: Next pope will end mandatory celibacy

Post by Ralph » Tue Mar 23, 2010 9:04 pm

Clerical celibacy is wholly irrelevant to the issue of sexual abuse of children. Priests do not molest children because they are barred from normal sexual relations. They commit these acts because they are sick.

Many priests have heterosexual relationships with adults (and homosexual relationships with peers). Whatever the attitude of the Church to that, such behavior does not violate civil law (occasionally, adultery which is rarely prosecuted).

The Jewish religion encourages rabbis to have families but in the ultra-Orthodox community sexual abuse of children is a dirty secret now just beginning to be seriously aired thanks to some courageous Orthodox rabbis and political leaders.

I couldn't care less about the Church's dogma about celibacy for clerics but changing that stricture would have zero impact on child sexual abuse.
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Re: My prediction: Next pope will end mandatory celibacy

Post by Corlyss_D » Wed Mar 24, 2010 5:18 am

piston wrote: What's the original rationale for it?
Priests' offspring wanted the lands of the churches where their fathers officiated. It's that simple. It is only amusing, and not dispositive, that priests were also listing their wives under "domestic animals" owned by the parish church.
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Re: My prediction: Next pope will end mandatory celibacy

Post by jbuck919 » Wed Mar 24, 2010 7:49 am

Ralph wrote:Clerical celibacy is wholly irrelevant to the issue of sexual abuse of children. Priests do not molest children because they are barred from normal sexual relations. They commit these acts because they are sick.

Many priests have heterosexual relationships with adults (and homosexual relationships with peers). Whatever the attitude of the Church to that, such behavior does not violate civil law (occasionally, adultery which is rarely prosecuted).

The Jewish religion encourages rabbis to have families but in the ultra-Orthodox community sexual abuse of children is a dirty secret now just beginning to be seriously aired thanks to some courageous Orthodox rabbis and political leaders.

I couldn't care less about the Church's dogma about celibacy for clerics but changing that stricture would have zero impact on child sexual abuse.
It is also true, though it is a virtually unstudied aspect of our society, that there are celibate persons who are not priests or religious and are also not abusers. It is unfashionable to talk about it, but not all those people around you who are not in relationships for long periods of time are sneaking off at night in search of one night stands or prostitutes. Sometimes we call them loners.

It may be that the proportion of adult males within the priesthood who abuse (estimated at 4%) is the same as outside it, but God forbid if that is so. That's six figures of male abusers in New York City alone. Something about the priesthood as it has existed in the 20th century is attractive to people who might be tempted to abuse. If the church can effectively screen out the bad apples without changing the priestly lifestyle for all of them, then, one assumes, that is what it will do. My prediction is that the monumental scale of this problem is going to require an expiation on the order of ending celibacy and continuing psychological screening whether or not the latter would prove sufficient. I'm not a wild-eyed futurist. I can't do better than say I sense this one coming.

Here is a good summary of the issue. I didn't print it because the bullets and so forth reproduced as words.

http://www.religioustolerance.org/clergy_sex8.htm

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Re: My prediction: Next pope will end mandatory celibacy

Post by Brendan » Wed Mar 24, 2010 2:23 pm

Corlyss_D wrote:
piston wrote: What's the original rationale for it?
Priests' offspring wanted the lands of the churches where their fathers officiated. It's that simple. It is only amusing, and not dispositive, that priests were also listing their wives under "domestic animals" owned by the parish church.
What utter nonsense. Aside from reading treatises such as Gregory of Nyssa's On Virginity, try Susan Holman's The Hungry are Dying - Beggars and Bishops in Roman Cappadocia to understand the motives (charity, believe it or not!) behind the establishment of monasteries, sacred virginity and clerical rule by St Macrina, St Basil etc. The "poverty sermons" combined with the practical, if monastic, work of the Cappadocian Fathers remain shining examples of Christian thought and action in totality remarkable for any era.

But anti-Catholicism is all the fashion today, however based on lies, distortion and selective reading it is. Orthodoxy is now the unthinkable heresy.

For some, more wealthy, monks the act of entering a monastery was a true act of renunciation leading to a new and harsher way of life. For others, the monastery was a natural part of the society to which they belonged, and they moved with a natural ease from building site to monastery to farm at harvest time to the open road, as they sought to earn a living.
Binns, John – Ascetics and Ambassadors of Christ – The Monasteries of Palestine 314-631 [Oxford, 1994 p. 95]

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Re: My prediction: Next pope will end mandatory celibacy

Post by piston » Wed Mar 24, 2010 2:39 pm

I cannot be cynical about Catholic religious orders if only because of the tremendous impact one of them had on my self-development as a young teenager two thousand miles away from home. I do know that some of these religious men were totally dedicated, didn't look back with regret at their decision to join the order, and forged ahead with a very spirited attitude in life. And a young teenage boy can be perceptive of human nature: out of a community of perhaps twenty religious fathers and brothers, I would not have been comfortable alone with only a couple of them, perhaps four.... The unfortunate dimension of this institutional crisis, a.k.a. the Catholic sex scandals, remains, as always, "blanketing" the whole as a result of the few.

Anecdotally: We young boarding school boys wanted to know everything about the other sex, including what it was exactly they displayed between their legs.... So we obviously got caught with some "dirty" literature in hand. When it happened to me, the young clergyman who supervised the whole dorm (from his office and bedroom located within that dorm) took me aside and explained that the reason why such a portrayal of women was not healthy to our young minds was because when, in the future, we would meet and go out with women, that is how we would think of them, perceive them -- merely as our genital counterparts. Never forgot this! I think it was very good advise.
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Re: My prediction: Next pope will end mandatory celibacy

Post by jbuck919 » Wed Mar 24, 2010 2:42 pm

Brendan wrote:
Corlyss_D wrote:
piston wrote: What's the original rationale for it?
Priests' offspring wanted the lands of the churches where their fathers officiated. It's that simple. It is only amusing, and not dispositive, that priests were also listing their wives under "domestic animals" owned by the parish church.
What utter nonsense. Aside from reading treatises such as Gregory of Nyssa's On Virginity, try Susan Holman's The Hungry are Dying - Beggars and Bishops in Roman Cappadocia to understand the motives (charity, believe it or not!) behind the establishment of monasteries, sacred virginity and clerical rule by St Macrina, St Basil etc. The "poverty sermons" combined with the practical, if monastic, work of the Cappadocian Fathers remain shining examples of Christian thought and action in totality remarkable for any era.

But anti-Catholicism is all the fashion today, however based on lies, distortion and selective reading it is. Orthodoxy is now the unthinkable heresy.

For some, more wealthy, monks the act of entering a monastery was a true act of renunciation leading to a new and harsher way of life. For others, the monastery was a natural part of the society to which they belonged, and they moved with a natural ease from building site to monastery to farm at harvest time to the open road, as they sought to earn a living.
Binns, John – Ascetics and Ambassadors of Christ – The Monasteries of Palestine 314-631 [Oxford, 1994 p. 95]
Monastic asceticism and the celibacy of the secular clergy (those not affiliated with a religious order but serving the faithful under the direction of a bishop) are two separate though somewhat intertwined issues. Nobody has ever seriously suggested that monks and non-monastic religious (such as the Jesuits) be allowed to marry--chastity, and that is the correct word for it, is an essential feature of their way of life.

I do think that Corlyss is wrong when she says "It's that simple." There may be motivations, acknowledged or not, of sub-celestial origin for establishing and maintaining celibacy of the secular clergy, and these may include control of church property, but the historical origins of the practice are manifold and complicated, and doubtless include some of the notions that Brendan mentions. This is why I referred Jacques to the Wikipedia article. I cannot vouch for its thoroughness, but it goes into considerations other than the one Corlyss mentioned.

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Re: My prediction: Next pope will end mandatory celibacy

Post by RebLem » Wed Mar 24, 2010 2:49 pm

I am not a scholar on these matters, so I stand ready to be corrected by someone like Brendan who, whatever differences I may have with him, is to be recognized as a serious scholar in these matters. But I was always told that the church, sometime in the Middle Ages, instituted clerical celibacy in the Roman Rite because they feared an hereditary priesthood. The Church thus became one of the few avenues for upward mobility for boys from poor families. In a world in which the Church was one of the major loci of wealth, a clergy far separated from the needs of the people was to be feared. And so, the Church saw to it that most priests came from the common people by making celibacy mandatory. It was never a Church governed by the people, nor was it always for the people. But it has always been, at least, a Church of the people.

Except, of course, in France, where the monarchy was granted extensive authority over the Church, and in Italy, where the Church was such a great focus of wealth that it often was an instrument of the rich and powerful. Catholic apologists have often said, with considerable justice, that liberty, as a practical matter, has been far more often endangered by State interference in the Church that it has by Church interference in the State. The fact that the Church was a major threat to the Italian state after unification (they had seized the Papal States and united them with the rest of Italy) has made this historical fact less obvious to the people of the 20th and 21st centuries, who have had to live with the political consequences of the Church's intransigence in these mattters, one of which was the rise of Fascism, but in the long line of history, it is generally true that State interference in the Church has had more deleterious effects than Church interference with the State.
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Re: My prediction: Next pope will end mandatory celibacy

Post by Brendan » Wed Mar 24, 2010 3:01 pm

St Anthony of the Desert did not go into the desert, alone, and renounce the worldly life for any reasons of inheritance or wealth, but to wage spiritual warfare. St Augustine famously did not give up his mistress for the fully Christian (chaste) life for a long time. St Basil, the founder of monasticism by tradition (his sister Macrina actually takes the prize. See Elm cited above), had no children by choice. Nor did St Gregory of Nazianzen or St Gregory of Nyssa, who even when married wrote On Virginty. Their lands became monasteriers for feeding the hungry (literally and spiritually), the manumission of slaves etc etc. The list of saints and bishops goes on and on. Try to find an early Christian saint who wasn't chaste, male or female - there are a few (I've mentioned at least 2) but not many.

The problem of libido, nocturnal emissions and unwanted visions of lust was pervasive through early Christian literature since at least Origen (he who was accused fo castrating himself. Presumably he didn't do it for any potential heirs), who seemed to be dealing with long-standing issues of ascetic and Christian practice. The Conferences of St John Cassian are probably the most famous example.

Stuff that was "taken as read" by the West became formailzed when contact with the (now quite different) East was re-established - and the Great Schism began.

That the Catholic Church is, in fact, a religious not a secular institution shocks many brought up on the anti-Catholic mythology prevalent today. The RCC has it's issues, and I munch no wafers on a weekend, but I do read history and am fascinated by how different the real Chruch is from the false accusations and distortions. Jovinianus (died c. 400) really was condemned as a heretic for saying that married and celibate people had an equal place in heaven. Monasteries run by celibates really made a difference in the life of the poor - of body and of spirit.

Brown notes, as Hands and Veyne did before him, that prior to Christian influence, members of a household merited aid only by nature of their ties to membership in the city or state; one’s needy economic state did not itself constitute a moral or social right to receive aid. The masses, those without honor or citizenship, depended on their relationship to the “patrons” of the city. The “notable was only obliged to his fellow citizens”; he had no intrinsic obligation to the homeless person, those who were thus unable to contribute to civic order. The very poor of the city were probably “held above the survival line by a network of institutions that still called them ‘citizens’ and not ‘the poor.’” Family and civic patronage thus ruled all structural order and were inseparable from religious duties. As Christian discussion of philanthropy changed the focus of “good deeds” from the city to the bodies of the poor, it redefined the criteria for receiving welfare. Physical need now mattered for its own sake and not solely in terms of civic order. Noncitizens might now be eligible for receiving philanthropy.
Holman, Susan R. – The Hungry are Dying—Beggars and Bishops in Roman Cappadocia [Oxford Studies in Historical Theology, 2001, p. 18]

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Re: My prediction: Next pope will end mandatory celibacy

Post by Jean » Wed Mar 24, 2010 8:08 pm

Being celebate does not turn anyone into a child abuser or a rapist. It's ludicrous outdated thinking and has its origins is fromwith people trying to find a reason why anyone would do those things.

I do think that eventually the Catholic church will allow priests to marry. However, I don't think there is a payer that nuns will be allowed to marry.
Like most religions, women are subjugated by the Catholic church.
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Re: My prediction: Next pope will end mandatory celibacy

Post by jbuck919 » Wed Mar 24, 2010 8:30 pm

Jean wrote: I do think that eventually the Catholic church will allow priests to marry. However, I don't think there is a payer that nuns will be allowed to marry.
Like most religions, women are subjugated by the Catholic church.
Well, again, vowed religious are necessarily celibate. Unlike parish priests, their way of life is inconceivable without chastity. I am not aware of a single congregation of women religious that has asked for marriage. In this respect they are the equal of male religious orders which take similar vows. The reason many of them and other Catholic women as well do not feel they have equal status overall is that they cannot become priests. That is another issue.

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Re: My prediction: Next pope will end mandatory celibacy

Post by absinthe » Thu Mar 25, 2010 4:25 am

This is an interesting speculation.

I've often wondered why the Pope always wears swim-trunks in the bath. I thought it was because he hates looking down on the unemployed.

One learns.....

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Re: My prediction: Next pope will end mandatory celibacy

Post by living_stradivarius » Thu Mar 25, 2010 7:25 am

Ralph wrote:I couldn't care less about the Church's dogma about celibacy for clerics but changing that stricture would have zero impact on child sexual abuse.
Maybe not directly, but changing rules about celibacy may encourage more men to join.

More men joining = less room for child abusers and more transparency about sexual relations.
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Re: My prediction: Next pope will end mandatory celibacy

Post by Cyril Ignatius » Thu Mar 25, 2010 11:17 am

jbuck, you may also want to to consider that the Prophecies of Malachi are said by many to have a demonstrated track record of laying out what would happen in the Catholic Church and the world up to the end times. He accurately forecast John Paul the Great, and Benedict the Good Shepard. But strangely, the Pope following Benedict seems to be the last one - and the one that watches Evil make it's highest worldly triumph, before the coming of the Lord and His Justice.





]I am generally the opposite of sanguine about any substantive change in Catholic Church discipline, but the pressures from the current situation are becoming too great not to require what to traditional Catholics will seem an extreme response. Now at least one conservative churchman of stature has spoken out on the topic. Celibacy is by the church's own standards strictly a matter of church discipline rather than doctrine and can be changed at any time with the stroke of the pope's pen. There is a relatively recent precedent for a change at approximately this level, and that is Paul VI's rule that cardinals over the age of 80 could not vote for pope. You may rest assured that he was addressing an extremely serious problem when he did that, though it would not have gotten the kind of publicity the current scandal has. IMO the chief obstacle to lifting the celibacy ban is the reluctance of the church hierarchy to declare as obsolete the life state to which they and their predecessors have pledged themselves for many centuries.

(BTW, though I would have previously picked Schönborn as the likely next pope, his candidacy has been tainted by scandals within his own archdiocese, where the seminary had to be closed because abuse was uncovered.) [/color]


From The Times of London
March 12, 2010
Cardinal Schönborn says celibacy partly to blame for clerical sex abuse
Richard Owen, Rome, and Ruth Gledhill
Cardinal Christoph Schoenborn

(Osservatore Romano)

Cardinal Christoph Schönborn is seen as a future candidate for the papacy

A senior cardinal has called for priestly celibacy to be re-examined in the light of sex scandals sweeping the Roman Catholic Church. Cardinal Christoph Schönborn, conservative Archbishop of Vienna and a protégé of the Pope, shocked the Vatican by suggesting that it should carry out an “unflinching examination” of causes of the scandal.

These included “the issue of priests’ training”, he wrote in his archdiocese magazine, “the question of priest celibacy and the question of personality development. It requires a great deal of honesty, both on the part of the Church and of society as a whole”.

The Vatican said the remarks had been misinterpreted. “Priestly celibacy is a gift of the Holy Spirit,” Cardinal Claudio Hummes, prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy, said at a theological convention on priestly fidelity.

Cardinal Schönborn’s spokesman, Erich Leitenberger, issued a clarification later claiming that the cardinal was not “in any way seeking to question the Catholic Church’s celibacy rule”. Sources in Rome said he had been obliged to issue his “clarification” under pressure from the Holy See.

The cardinal, a respected conservative theologian, has a history of sparking controversy. He is an ordinary — or bishop — to Austria’s Eastern Rite Catholics, whose priests are allowed to marry, just as priests in the new Anglican Ordinariates being set up around the world for ex-Anglican clergy will be allowed to marry. Last year in Rome, Cardinal Schönborn, who has always been close to the Pope, presented a petition signed by leading Austrian lay Catholics calling for the abolition of the requirement for priestly celibacy.

Cardinal Schönborn told Vatican Radio last year that he did not agree with the petition’s conclusions, which also included a demand for women deacons, but added: “It is important for someone in Rome to know what some of our lay people are thinking about the problems of the Church.”

Despite calls by a number of theologians and lay Catholic organisations for priestly celibacy to be abolished or made optional, it has been repeatedly reaffirmed by successive Popes, including Pope Benedict XVI. However, Cardinal Hummes, from Brazil, once observed that celibacy was “not dogma”.

The celibacy rule for priests was not part of the early Christian Church but was introduced in the Middle Ages. A number of early Church fathers were married, including St Peter himself, according to St Mark’s Gospel.

In his article, Cardinal Schönborn said he could understand the frustration of many of the faithful over the paedophilia scandals. “Enough is enough. That’s what many people are saying and thinking.”

The Pope is due to issue a pastoral letter to the faithful in Ireland on the sex abuse issue after meeting Irish bishops last month. The scandal has come closer to the pontiff after it emerged that a former chorister in Regensburg — where the Pope once taught — had claimed he was abused while he was a member of the Cathedral choir, which was led for three decades by Georg Ratzinger, the Pope’s older brother. Monsignor Ratzinger this week admitted he had “slapped” choirboys but said he knew nothing of sexual abuse.

Today the Pope is to meet Robert Zollitsch, head of the German bishops’ conference, to discuss the growing crisis over clerical sex abuse in several countries including the Pope’s native Germany. Archbishop Zollitsch has described clerical abuse as “outrageous” and asked the victims for forgiveness, but has denied any link between sex abuse and celibacy.

An article in L’Osservatore Romano, the Vatican newspaper, by the historian Lucetta Scaraffia, suggested that having more women in high-level decision-making bodies would have helped to lift the “veil of masculine secrecy” over clerical sex-abuse cases.

This week the dissident theologian Father Hans Küng, who was stripped of his licence to teach Catholic theology in 1979 after he rejected the doctrine of Papal infallibility, said in The Tablet that denials of any link between abuse and celibacy were “erroneous”.

He said celibacy was not the only cause of the misconduct but described it as “the most important and structurally the most decisive” expression of the Church’s repressive attitude to sex.

Last November the Vatican said its new rules allowing the conversion of Anglicans, including married Anglican priests, did not “signify any change” in its rules for priestly celibacy.


Copyright 2010 Times Newspapers Ltd.[/quote]
Cyril Ignatius

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Re: My prediction: Next pope will end mandatory celibacy

Post by Brendan » Thu Mar 25, 2010 1:15 pm

Do celibacy rules cause similar problems for Buddhists? How come we've had a bunch of child abuse scandals from Protestant institutions here in Oz if it's just an issue of marriage/celibacy?

As Ralph said, celibacy has nothing to do with the sickness of paedophilia. Predators go where the prey is.

Schönborn may well have just talked himself out of any future papacy. Europe is no longer the heart of Catholicism - South America, Africa and Asia are where the flock is, not fading, decadent old Europe and it's pathetic, uncommitted liberalism.

The holy look of virginity is precious indeed in the judgment of all who make purity the test of beauty; but it belongs to those alone whose struggles to gain this object of a noble love are favoured and helped by the grace of God. Its praise is heard at once in the very name which goes with it; “Uncorrupted” is the word commonly said of it, and this shows the kind of purity that is in it; thus we can measure by its equivalent term the height of this gift, seeing that among the many results of virtuous endeavour this alone has been honoured with the title of the thing that is uncorrupted. And if we must extol with laudations this gift from the great God, the words of His Apostle are sufficient in its praise; they are few, but they throw into the background all extravagant laudations; he only styles as “holy and without blemish” her who has this grace for her ornament. Now if the achievement of this saintly virtue consists in making one “without blemish and holy,” and these epithets are adopted in their first and fullest force to glorify the incorruptible Deity, what greater praise of virginity can there be than thus to be shown in a manner deifying those who share in her pure mysteries, so that they become partakers of His glory Who is in actual truth the only Holy and Blameless One; their purity and their incorruptibility being the means of bringing them into relationship with Him?
St Gregory of Nyssa - On Virginity, Chapter 1

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Re: My prediction: Next pope will end mandatory celibacy

Post by dulcinea » Thu Mar 25, 2010 11:26 pm

This week the dissident theologian Father Hans Küng, who was stripped of his licence to teach Catholic theology in 1979 after he rejected the doctrine of Papal infallibility, said in The Tablet that denials of any link between abuse and celibacy were “erroneous”.

He said celibacy was not the only cause of the misconduct but described it as “the most important and structurally the most decisive” expression of the Church’s repressive attitude to sex.[/quote]


Who takes seriously Saint King-Kung and his pretensions of denying infallibility to the Holy Father and the Church and attributing it entirely to himself and himself alone? And how dissident can a theologian be and still have the right to be regarded as a true theologian instead of as an apostate and a renegade?
And, regarding the Prophecies of St Malachi, there is good reason to believe that they are phony.
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Re: My prediction: Next pope will end mandatory celibacy

Post by jbuck919 » Fri Mar 26, 2010 6:06 am

I was listening to WGBH in the car yesterday, and the gal who has the late a.m. talk show had a couple of local experts on the subject as guests (as expert as anyone seems to get--Boston being notoriously a focus for this problem). She asked them point blank how it was possible for so many priests to behave exactly the same as if in concert if there were no conspiracy or secret society among them (she didn't use those words, but that was the idea). Her guests were in agreement that there was a deep-seated if ill-defined clerical culture that had pervaded the church for centuries that permitted this to happen. A vague answer that leaves much to the imagination and begs the question? Of course. But if that is true, think for a minute about what it might take to change that culture to the point where this was no longer a continuing problem at this level. Of course, if it turns out that four percent of rabbis and protestant ministers are doing this also, then they do have to look at something more universal about the ministerial calling for the root of the problem.

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Re: My prediction: Next pope will end mandatory celibacy

Post by Jean » Fri Mar 26, 2010 2:48 pm

It seems to me that it is not the culture of the religion that produces this ( which I think is really absurd actually) but that people who do this are more inclined to choose professions which will lkely create opportunities and circumstances for getting away with it.
Laws alone can not secure freedom of expression; in order that every man present his views without penalty there must be spirit of tolerance in the entire population. - Albert Einstein

I haven't got the slightest idea how to change people, but still I keep a long list of prospective candidates just in case I should ever figure it out - David Sedaris (Naked)

Brendan

Re: My prediction: Next pope will end mandatory celibacy

Post by Brendan » Fri Mar 26, 2010 4:45 pm

The cover-up always exacerbates the initial sin/crime, and involves others and the over-arching institution in the sin and creates ongoing obviously sinful behaviour for all. Public punishment/penance for the perpetrator immediately upon discovery and establishment of guilt (first in Church Court before civil?) is the only way for an institution such as the Church to regain credibility for a long history of secretive operations.

Why anyone, let alone the priesthood, would besmirch themselves and the Holy Church of Christ by covering up for such sins, is a puzzle beyond my ken. I cannot imagine St Basil the Great being impressed.

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