Skip to comments.Celibact and Priesthood by Lea
Posted on 10/11/2011 1:36:11 PM PDT by count-your-change
Henry Charles Lea was a remarkable historian. Largely self taught and meticulous in his work, he produced a detailed and lavishly footnoted history of the medieval period.
Anyone who speaks to the subject of priestly celibacy today should first become familiar with this two volume work, History of Sacerdotal Celibacy in the Christian Church, published in 1907, third ed., revised, and reprinted by BiblioLife.
To that end I'll post, in several parts, some excerpts from this work beginning with Vol.2 and unless otherwise noted all quotes are from this volume that begins with chapter 24, The Fifteenth Century.
Lea begins this second volume setting the tone for the rest by writing,
"Neither the assaults of heretics nor the constant efforts at partial reform attempted by individual prelates had thus far proved of any avail. As time wore on, the Church sank deeper into the mire of corruption, and its efforts to extricate itself grew feebler and more hopeless."
celibacY not T. Pardon the “fat fingers”.
Sorry, you haven’t quite made your point here. In fact, I’m not at all sure what it is. Would you care to clarify?
“Anyone who speaks to the subject of priestly celibacy today should first become familiar with this two volume work, History of Sacerdotal Celibacy in the Christian Church, published in 1907, third ed., revised, and reprinted by BiblioLife”
Seems clear enough.
Yep, that Church of England/Episcopal Church worked out real well, didn’t it?
Evidently not for some as they talk about unification but that was less an attempt at reformation than debate about power over religion.
bump for later read
It’s hard to find a more contentious and bigoted historian than Henry Charles Lea. Except perhaps his British counterpart-bigot, G. G. Coulton.
That he “used original sources” is meaningless. Anyone can do that. The Devil cites Scripture. It’s how he and all other historians use original sources that matters. Lea could spin things with the best of ‘em.
No one reads Lea anymore.
So he wrote a biography about the paranoid, schizophrenic, ant-semitic, alcoholic monk who couldn't control his libido, Martin Luther?
But if you a reason to call him “bigoted” please share. Remember Peter Damian used the term “Gomorrah” to refer to what he found among the priests.
Since, as with almost all Protestants, you probably know little about history, you might want to read this before you post anything that cites Lea as an authority:
This is from a classic, unfortunately there is only the beginning of the article: http://archive.catholic.com/thisrock/1996/9605clas.asp
You can read more of it here at the beginning of chapter 7: http://books.google.com/books?id=uWkbfkIQqpQC&pg=PT61&lpg=PT61&dq=How+history+is+miswritten:+a+test+applied+to+the+work+of+H.C.+Lea+at+the+instance+of+Dr.+Coulton&source=bl&ots=-4QB4m_dZQ&sig=k25rf_GGmJuZL10pAaPN3RO0KWo&hl=en&ei=N9OUTp6kHaSCsAKekOXvAQ&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=2&ved=0CCYQ6AEwAQ#v=onepage&q=How%20history%20is%20miswritten%3A%20a%20test%20applied%20to%20the%20work%20of%20H.C.%20Lea%20at%20the%20instance%20of%20Dr.%20Coulton&f=false
Unlike most people I have actually read the works of Lea. I know about his sources, methods, and his anachronism which was so pronounced that it was tantamount to bigotry.
If his mother had not left the Catholic Church in 1822 who knows what might have happened. Maybe he would not have swallowed so much bilge water about the Church being such a threat to liberty that he would not have read that threat BACK INTO MEDIEVAL HISTORY. And to think, his grandfather published the first Catholic Bible in the USA!
I always wondered why he had a nervous breakdown in 1847.
He’s a typical WASP historian who thinks celibacy is unnatural. I have no problem with honest portrayal of sins, by celibates and non-celibates. I do have a real problem with those who start from the assumption that celibacy is unnatural
Cuz it’s not. Only those who understand that celibacy is possible, that continence is possible, will truly experience the real joy of marital sexuality. Because even in marriage one has to be continent sometimes.
And only those who truly honor and value sexual expression can be healthy celibates. Each needs the other.
Lea entered his research with a chip on his shoulder the size of Mount Rushmore. Then he gathered anecdotal evidence from the original sources to support his pre-judgments.
Yeah, he’s inaccurate. Any sociologist will tell you that anecdotal evidence is not sufficient.
Eggggzackly. No one who knows much about medieval history reads Lea anymore. But our FRiend here apparently does.
Even secular historians dismiss him. Edward Peters, who held the Lea chair at Penn (if memory serves me correctly), wrote his books on medieval juridical issues as a corrective to Lea.
That’s wrong. You are doing, from a Catholic side, what Protestants do to us. Dismissing Luther as an alcoholic and sex-pervert was once done in Catholic propaganda. It’s unfair. Benedict XVI (who has read widely in Luther’s writings) made that point at Erfurt on his recent trip to Germany and has made it many times in the past. Luther was a solidly religious reformer. He was rightly concerned about abuses. He made the fatal error, when confronted on the merits of his theological arguments about penannce, confession, and indulgences by Cardinal Cajetan, of defying the Church and labeling Cajetan unbiblical simply because Cajetan was not persuaded by Luther’s arguments.
Luther may have lacked healthy discretion in that case. He should have counted to ten and rethought his positions. He removed himself from the Catholic faith. He also had plenty of personal flaws and sins, like you and I do.
But he was not driven by alcoholism or libido or mental illness any of that crap. You do the Catholic faith a disservice by cheap argumentation. Yes, I know it was routinely taught to Catholics 50 years ago. But the days of Helmut Grisar are long past.
You would do well to read Jared Wicks, _Man Yearning for Grace_ about the young Luther. Wicks does a good job of pinpointing the places where Luther began to argue himself out of the Church. But he is also fair to Luther as a person. Luther was an honest, decent, sincere man but hotheaded and lacking discernment in some ways.
If he is, where? and I suppose then that anything not directly experienced by the sociologist is merely “anecdotal” and “not sufficient”?
And your comment really have no bearing on what I quoted. Lea is not likely to be appreciated by Catholics as even the Catholic Encyclopedia says of him,
” The anti-clerical animus which prompts a certain type of mind to rake these scandals together, and to revel in and exaggerate their prurient details, is at least as marked as the tendency on the part of the Church's apologists to ignore these uncomfortable pages of history altogether.”
In short, he's being called a “muck raker” but the scandals are and were real. If few have read Lea I encourage them to do so and Peter Damian and the news of today letting them make their own judgment.