originally posted by: SLAYER69
As a Recovering Catholic myself, This will not end anytime soon, not until Rome gives up this whole "Celibacy" garbage. The only real reason it was
put in place was so the Church would stop losing property to families of the Priests after their passing back in the day.
Right. Could also be a reason why they want to keep it in place and make statements such as the one in a 2006 address to the Roman Curia, in which
then Pope Benedict XVI linked compulsory celibacy to “a tradition that dates back to an epoch close to that of the Apostles.”
Celibacy, however, was not a religious custom practiced by first-century Christians. In fact, the apostle Paul, who lived in the first century, warned
believers about men who would make “misleading inspired statements” and “forbid marriage.”—1 Timothy 4:1-3.
It was during the second century that the practice of celibacy began to make its way into the Western “Christian” churches. According to the book
Celibacy and Religious Traditions
, this was “consistent with the new wave of sexual restraint that arose in the Roman Empire.”
In the following centuries, church councils and so-called Church Fathers promoted clerical celibacy. They thought that sexual intercourse was defiling
and incompatible with clerical duties. Nevertheless, the Encyclopædia Britannica
points out that “as late as the 10th century many priests
and even some bishops had wives.”
Clerical celibacy was enforced during the Lateran Councils of 1123 and 1139, which were held in Rome, and it has remained the official position of the
Roman Catholic Church to the present day. With this measure, the church prevented the loss of power and income that resulted when priests who were
married willed church property to their children.
God’s view of celibacy is clearly expressed in his Word, the Bible. In it we read Jesus’ words about those who remained single, as he did, “on
account of the Kingdom of the heavens.” (Matthew 19:12) Along the same line, the apostle Paul spoke about Christians who chose to follow his example
of singleness “for the sake of the good news.”—1 Corinthians 7:37, 38; 9:23.
However, neither Jesus nor Paul were commanding ministers to be celibate. Jesus stated that singleness was a “gift” not possessed by all his
followers. When Paul wrote about “those who have never married,” he frankly admitted: “I have no command from the Lord, but I give my
opinion.”—Matthew 19:11; 1 Corinthians 7:25.
1 Corinthians 7:25 9NW Study Edition
25 Now concerning virgins,* [Or “those who have never married.”] I have no command from the Lord, but I give my opinion as one who had mercy
shown him by the Lord to be faithful.
In addition, the Bible shows that many Christian ministers in the first century, including the apostle Peter, were married men. (Matthew 8:14; Mark
1:29-31; 1 Corinthians 9:5)
These were not celibate marriages, for the Bible candidly states that a “husband [ought to] give to his wife her due” and that married couples
should “not deprive each other” of sexual intimacies. (1 Corinthians 7:3-5) Clearly, celibacy is not required by God, nor is it compulsory for
Pope PAUL VI said that the church law forbidding priests to marry is right. He called it a “brilliant jewel.” In 1970 he said: “It is happy, it
is lovely, it is Catholic. We must conserve and defend it.”
But the majority of younger Catholic priests do not agree. In one survey at that time, over 80 percent of them wanted the celibacy law changed. Many
older priests also believe that the church celibacy law is wrong.
Many Catholic priests are quick to point out that the law is not a Scriptural one. It is not taught in the Bible. The Bible describes celibacy as a
“gift,” and since this is so, priests argue, the church has no business making it obligatory.
Before 1139 C.E., when the Catholic church imposed the celibacy law, many popes themselves were married. In fact, Pope John XXIII said:
“Ecclesiastical celibacy is not a dogma. The Scriptures do not impose it. It is even easy to effect a change. I take up a pen, I sign a decree and,
the next day, priests who wish to may get married.”
Priests also point to the erroneous thinking that contributed to the church’s adoption of the celibacy law. They note that the thinking of church
leaders was dominated by the teachings of “St.” Augustine, who lived from 354 to 430. This man is called, by The Catholic Encyclopedia
“the greatest of the [Catholic] Fathers.”
Augustine had written about marriage: “I feel that nothing more turns the masculine mind from the heights than female blandishment and that contact
of bodies without which a wife may not be had.”
Catholic theologian R. J. Bunnik pointed out that such views did, and still do, influence Catholic thinking. He says that Augustine bears “no small
measure of responsibility for the insinuation into our culture of the idea, still widely current, that Christianity regards sexuality as something
particularly tainted with evil.”
But what influenced Augustine to downgrade marriage and sex? Priests such as John O’Brien say it was the fact that Augustine had lived with a girl
outside of wedlock for some eleven years. Also, Catholic law teacher John T. Noonan observes: “Having had this guilt-ridden experience of sexual
intercourse in a quasi-permanent union, Augustine believed there was nothing rational, spiritual, sacramental in the act of intercourse
itself.”—Why Priests Leave
So priests say that the celibacy law is founded on a wrong basis. Unscriptural and erroneous thinking on sex and marriage contributed toward its
It should not be surprising, then, that an unscriptural law founded on a wrong basis should bear bad fruitage. Many priests point to this fruitage
when telling what is wrong with enforced celibacy. They note that the Catholic church permits, and even condones, gross misconduct on the part of
priests, as long as the priests do not marry.
Edward Frank Henriques served as a Catholic priest for sixteen years before he married and left the priesthood. He observes:
“Is it not significant that Canon Law imposes no punishment whatever upon such extraparochial diversions as clerical fornication, adultery, sodomy,
flagrant promiscuity, or any other form of sexual aberration, nor even for continued and prolonged concubinage, but only for ‘committing’
matrimony? This is the unpardonable crime. How many times have I heard priests say—and for shame, I have said it myself—do what you will,
but don’t marry her!”
Joseph Blenkinsopp, who served prominently as a Catholic scholar, contributing to The Jerusalem Bible
and the Jerome Bible Commentary
pointed to common examples of misconduct. He said:
“I have personally known priests in parish work in a Latin American country who regularly took in girls for the weekend but would not have dreamed
of giving up the practice of their ministry. One of them, I recall, rationalized splendidly but was surprised when I asked about the effect of this on
the Indian girls in question. . . .
“It seems clear not only from recent experience but from the whole history of the Church that the ‘gift’ of celibacy is of much rarer occurrence
than official pronouncements seem to presuppose.”
This is the admission of those closest to the situation.