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How to Refute Arguments Against Priestly Celibacy
CRISIS Magazine - e-Letter | 6/14/02 | Deal Hudson

Posted on 06/14/2002 10:21:48 AM PDT by Polycarp

5 Arguments Against Priestly Celibacy and How to Refute Them

1. Allowing priests to marry would end pedophilia.

It is completely untrue that celibate priests are more likely to be pedophiles than any other group of men, married or not. Pedophilia affects only 0.3 percent of the population of Catholic clergy, and sexual abusers in general account for less than 2 percent of Catholic priests. These figures are comparable to rates among married men, as non-Catholic scholar Philip Jenkins points out in his book Pedophiles and Priests. Other Protestant denominations have admitted to having similar problems among their own married clergy, so clearly the problem is not with celibacy.

2. A married clergy would create a larger pool of healthy priestly candidates, solving the current priest shortage.

There are actually plenty of vocations today in faithful dioceses: Denver, Northern Virginia, and Lincoln, Nebraska, have great numbers of men entering the priesthood. If other dioceses, such as Milwaukee, want to answer the question of why they have so few vocations, the answer is simple: Challenge young men to a religious life that is demanding, countercultural, sacrificial, and loyal to the Holy Father and Catholic teaching. This is the surest way to guarantee a greater number of vocations.

3. Married priests relate better to issues concerning marriage and the family.

To put it bluntly, one doesn't need to be an adulterer to counsel other adulterers. Priests understand the sacrificial nature and sanctity of marriage in a way that few others do. Who better to counsel a person in the ways of keeping the marital vow of fidelity than one who keeps the vow of celibacy?

4. It's unnatural for men to be celibate.

This idea reduces men to animals, creatures who can't live without their sexual urges being gratified. But humans are not animals. Humans make choices about the gratification of their appetites. We can control and channel our desires in a way that sets us apart from the rest of the animal world. And again, most sexual abusers are not celibate. It's sexual license that breeds sexual abuse, not celibacy!

5. Celibacy in the Latin rite is unfair. Since the Eastern rite allows married priests and the Latin rite allows married priests who have converted from Episcopalianism and Lutheranism, why can't all priests be married?

The discipline of celibacy among priests is one of the distinctive marks of the Roman Catholic tradition. Anyone who chooses to become a priest accepts the discipline. The Eastern rite, Lutheranism, and Episcopalianism, on the other hand, have a long tradition of married priests and the infrastructure and experience to handle it. However, Eastern rite priests and married priests who have converted from Lutheranism or Episcopalianism are NOT allowed to marry after their ordination or remarry after the death of their wife. In addition, the Eastern Church only chooses bishops from among their celibate, unmarried priests, clearly demonstrating that they see an inherent value in the nature of celibacy.

**********************

5 Arguments for Priestly Celibacy

1. Celibacy reaffirms marriage.

In a society that is completely saturated with sex, celibate priests are living proof that sexual urges can be controlled and channeled in a positive way. Far from denigrating the sexual act, celibacy acknowledges the goodness of sex within marriage by offering it up as a sacrifice to God. The sanctity of marriage is dishonored if it is treated merely as an outlet for sexual impulses. Rather, we as Christians are called to understand marriage as the inviolable commitment of a husband and wife to love and honor one another. A priest offers up a similar commitment of love to the Church, a bond that cannot be broken and that is treated with the same gravity and respect as in marriage.

2. Celibacy is scriptural.

Fundamentalists will tell you that celibacy has no basis in the Bible whatsoever, saying that Christians are called to "Be fruitful and multiply" (Genesis 1:28). This mandate speaks to humanity in general, however, and overlooks numerous passages in the Bible that support the celibate life. In 1 Corinthians, for example, Paul actually seems to prefer the celibate life: "Are you free from a wife? Do not seek marriage. . . . Those who marry will have worldly troubles, and I would spare you that. . . . The unmarried man is anxious about the affairs of the Lord, how to please the Lord; but the married man is anxious about worldly affairs, how to please his wife, and his interests are divided" (7:27-34). This is not to say that all men should be celibate, however; Paul explains that celibacy is a calling for some and not for others by saying, "Each has his own special gift from God, one of one kind and one of another" (7:7).

Jesus Himself speaks of celibacy in Matthew 19:11-12: "Not all can accept this word, but only those to whom it 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 God. Whoever can accept this ought to accept it." Again, the emphasis is on the special nature of celibacy, one for which not all men are suited, but one that nevertheless gives glory to "the kingdom of God."

Perhaps the best evidence for the scriptural support of celibacy is that Jesus Himself practiced it!

3. Celibacy is historical.

Most people assume that the celibate priesthood is a convention introduced by the Church fairly late in history. On the contrary, there is evidence that even the earliest Church fathers, such as St. Augustine, St. Cyril, and St. Jerome, fully supported the celibate priesthood. The Spanish Council of Elvira (between 295 and 302) and the First Council of Aries (314), a kind of general council of the West, both enacted legislation forbidding all bishops, priests, and deacons to have conjugal relations with their wives on penalty of exclusion from the clergy. Even the wording of these documents suggests that the councils were not introducing a new rule but rather maintaining a previously established tradition. In 385, Pope Siricius issued the first papal decree on the subject, saying that "clerical continence" was a tradition reaching as far back as apostolic times.

While later councils and popes would pass similar edicts, the definitive promulgation of the celibate, unmarried priesthood came at the Second Lateran Council in 1139 under Pope Gregory VII. Far from being a law forced upon the medieval priesthood, it was the acceptance of celibacy by priests centuries earlier that eventually led to its universal promulgation in the twelfth century.

4. Celibacy emphasizes the unique role of the priest.

The priest is a representative of Christ, an alter Christus. In this respect, the priest understands his identity by following the example of Jesus, a man who lived His life in perfect chastity and dedication to God. As Archbishop Crescenzio Sepe of Grado explains, "[A priest's] being and his acting must be like Christ's: undivided" (The Relevance of Priestly Celibacy Today, 1993). As such, the sacramental priesthood is holy, something set apart from the rest of the world. Just as Christ sacrificed His life for His bride, the Church, so too must a priest offer up his life for the good of Christ's people.

5. Celibacy allows the priest's first priority to be the Church.

The image used to describe the role of the priest is one of marriage to the Church. Just as marriage is the total gift of self to another, the priesthood requires the total gift of self to the Church. A priest's first duty is to his flock, while a husband's first duty is to his wife. Obviously, these two roles will often conflict, as St. Paul noted and as many married priests will tell you. A celibate priest is able to give his undivided attention to his parishioners without the added responsibility of caring for his own family. They are able to pick up and go whenever necessary, whether this involves moving to a new parish or responding to a late-night crisis. Celibate priests are better able to respond to these frequent changes and demands on their time and attention.


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Extended News; Free Republic
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Dear Reader,

Well, ready or not, it's finally here. Months of allegations, abuse, finger-pointing, and mudslinging have come down to this one event: the meeting of the American bishops in Dallas this weekend. The decisions that they reach will, for better or for worse, change the face of the American Church, but in the meantime we must get ready to be part of the recovery process.

After it's all over, the Church will need our support more than ever. We may not be able to help the bishops in Dallas this weekend, but we can stand with them in defending our Church against dissenters and naysayers who will continue to use this opportunity to attack the Church's discipline of celibacy in the priesthood.

To that end, CRISIS has put together a list of arguments for priestly celibacy and responses to commonly heard criticisms. We hope it helps you better prepare for the future and the role all of us must play in restoring the moral authority of our Church.

Best,

Deal Hudson

1 posted on 06/14/2002 10:21:48 AM PDT by Polycarp
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To: patent; Notwithstanding; JMJ333; Aunt Polgara; AgThorn; IM2Phat4U; toenail; MHGinTN...
Second verse, same as the first...expect more attacks on priestly celibacy, and review the pertinent explanations here.
2 posted on 06/14/2002 10:25:38 AM PDT by Polycarp
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To: Polycarp
Excellent! Bookmarked for future use. Why can't these damned "modernists" just go off and start their own religion, and leave ours alone!
3 posted on 06/14/2002 10:29:36 AM PDT by GreatOne
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To: GreatOne
I am not a modernist and do not favor a married clergy or any other such "reform". However, I do not agree with the following claim:

It is completely untrue that celibate priests are more likely to be pedophiles than any other group of men, married or not. Pedophilia affects only 0.3 percent of the population of Catholic clergy, and sexual abusers in general account for less than 2 percent of Catholic priests. These figures are comparable to rates among married men, as non-Catholic scholar Philip Jenkins points out in his book Pedophiles and Priests. Other Protestant denominations have admitted to having similar problems among their own married clergy, so clearly the problem is not with celibacy.

First of all, "celibate priests" are, by definition, not engaging in sexual activity with anybody. Second, I just do not buy into the statistical argument unless the term "pedophilia" is read to exclude "sex" with teenaged boys, in which case perhaps it is true. I don't think that ignoring the problem of active homosexuals in the priesthood is an effective way to defend priestly celibacy.

4 posted on 06/14/2002 10:38:33 AM PDT by Stingray51
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To: GreatOne
Why can't these damned "modernists" just go off and start their own religion, and leave ours alone!

Would anyone put McBrien on TV if he weren't "catholic?" If the heretics and schismatics had the courage to leave the Church, they'd be nobodies and they can't stand not to be noticed

5 posted on 06/14/2002 10:42:24 AM PDT by Catholicguy
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To: Polycarp
Dear Polycarp:
Are you celibate? If not, why do you expect clergymen to be? Fact One: Historically, most of the apostles in the opinion of Biblical scholars, including both Peter and the Paul that you cite were married--Mosaic law practically required marriage! Fact Two: Most of the Church's priests until the 12th Century were married--in fact two popes were succeeded by thei sons and all four are today regarded saints! Fact Three: Allowing marriage in the Roman church will at least mean more priests in the pulpit (something the Roman church is now struggling with).

And, finally IMHO, it will put some pressure on the homosexuals now hiding behind their priestly robes to get out of the closet and hopefully the clergy!

6 posted on 06/14/2002 10:45:30 AM PDT by meandog
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To: Polycarp
Celibacy in the Church is a sad joke.

It doesn't exist.

What does exist, is a priesthood made up in large part of active homosexuals. And the Church has done absolutely nothing to root out these miscreants.

Don't tell me about how these priests are upholding Scripture. They aren't---they are getting their sick kicks either with other gay men, or by raping boys.

7 posted on 06/14/2002 10:55:34 AM PDT by 07055
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To: Polycarp
The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirts and things taught by demons. Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron. They forbid people to marry and order them to abstain from certain foods, which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and who know the truth. 1 Tim. 4:1-3
8 posted on 06/14/2002 10:58:44 AM PDT by classmuse500
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To: Polycarp
Even though so many lay people desperately want and believe in celibacy, many priests have not been celibate, and there is no way for us to know if a celibate lifestyle is actually followed by most priests.
9 posted on 06/14/2002 11:05:12 AM PDT by Dr. Scarpetta
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To: classmuse500
Thank you for that clear and succinct comment. The classic argument seems to be that the Bible doesn't forbid clergy from being celibate, thus it must be okay to require them to be celibate. However, the Bible clearly states that requiring celibacy is wrong.
10 posted on 06/14/2002 11:45:34 AM PDT by DallasMike
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To: meandog
Are you celibate?

I was before I was married at 24. It was not impossible for me then, nor is it impossible for priests now. Grow up. Quit living life and believing as if that thing between your legs rules your mind and your soul. It doesn't.

11 posted on 06/14/2002 11:49:24 AM PDT by Polycarp
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To: Polycarp
I am confused by the fact that the practice of celibacy is now viewed as an obligation for priests. Celibacy was only seen as a very, very good choice in the early Centuries of the Church. Celibacy was not seen as an obligation.

Shouldn't that choice still be between God and the individual priest?

Just as a particular priest might decide to follow a more strict religious regimen (extra fasting, extra praying, etc) than his fellow priests, perhaps a priest might choose to remain celibate.

Eating is not a sin. Gluttony is a sin.
Taking it easy isn't a sin. Sloth is a sin.
Having sex isn't a sin. Having sex outside of marriage is.

Marriage is not a sin, that needs to be avoided, any more than eating is a sin. Priests don't need to fast all the time, out of fear that they will become gluttonous if they eat or that their mealtimes will interfere with their work. Why must all priests avoid marriage all the time?

Servicemen and service women and doctors have lives that demand sacrifices of them. Are we going to say that they can't get married because marriage will interfere with their vocations?

12 posted on 06/14/2002 11:52:55 AM PDT by syriacus
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To: classmuse500; DallasMike
Your proof text and my proof text seem to contradict each other. So which interpretation of these scriptures do we believe?? Yours, based on the doctrines and fancies of fallible men, or mine, based on the teaching of that Church to which Christ Himself granted authority "to lose and to bind," and which He promised the Holy Spirit would lead to "all truth"?

Sorry, even given the sins of some of its shepherds, I'll go with the Church with the authority of Christ over your personal interp based only on the fallible whims of men.

13 posted on 06/14/2002 11:53:53 AM PDT by Polycarp
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To: Polycarp
Sorry, even given the sins of some of its shepherds, I'll go with the Church with the authority of Christ over your personal interp based only on the fallible whims of men.

I assume you mean the fallible whims of men like the Pope. According to Paul, church leaders must be married. See 1 Tim 3.

14 posted on 06/14/2002 11:55:57 AM PDT by AppyPappy
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To: Polycarp
FYI: Greek Orthodox priests are allow to be married
but they are not allowed to get married after they have taken their vows.

Additionally, if you are married your ability to move up in rank is limited to a certain level.

It just seems, regardless of religion, the left is trying to make god in the left's image.

15 posted on 06/14/2002 12:09:14 PM PDT by Greeklawyer
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16 posted on 06/14/2002 12:09:41 PM PDT by Mo1
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To: AppyPappy
Dear AppyPappy,

"According to Paul, church leaders must be married. See 1 Tim 3."

Well, that's the interpretation of some Christians. Other Christians (not Catholics) interpret this to mean that church leaders may not be married more than once. Yet others interpret it as a ban on being married to more than one person at a time. I even ran into a sect that explained how this verse supported optional polygamy (only church leaders must be the husband of no more than one wife - everyone else is free to load up on extras).

So, it seems that faithful, well-meaning people, all trying to follow Jesus Christ, have interpreted this verse in widely diverging ways.

I'm sure that this is what Jesus meant when He prayed that all might be one. That there would be thousands upon thousands of variations of interpretations of the Truth. And that there would be no visible guide to distinguish truth from error. Uh huh.

Well, we Catholics have our own understanding of doctrine, faith, Scripture, and authority. The Catholic interpretation differs from yours. It is a logically reasonable interpretation, and actually fits better with other Scriptures (at least in our view) than does yours. Paul certainly endorses celibacy elsewhere. Jesus states that there will be some that embrace this state for the sake of the Kingdom. A logically coherent reading of these verses would seem to contradict your assertion.

By what authority do you assert that your interpretation (which fits other Scripture less-well) is the correct one?

The peace of Christ be with you,

sitetest

17 posted on 06/14/2002 12:26:43 PM PDT by sitetest
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To: Polycarp
Funny thing but the best Catholics leaders and most faithful to their religion and its teachings are married members of the laity NOT the supposedly celibate cardinals
18 posted on 06/14/2002 12:31:31 PM PDT by uncbob
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To: Polycarp
I was before I was married at 24. It was not impossible for me then, nor is it impossible for priests now. Grow up. Quit living life and believing as if that thing between your legs rules your mind and your soul. It doesn't.

Dear Polycarp:
Wake up. Why do you think the Church is having so hard a time recruiting in its seminaries or why so many hetrosexual priests are leaving the pulpit? Clinging to such an antiquated (and unScripturely sound) ideal as celibacy is only leaving the Roman Church with empty altars--and vacant pews because of it>

19 posted on 06/14/2002 12:35:44 PM PDT by meandog
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To: uncbob; polycarp
Funny thing, but in those dioceses in which the bishop has maintained fidelity to the teachings of the Church, there is no shortage of vocations, and no problems with pederasty. Why in the name of all that's Holy do people refuse to recognise that fact? Does it perhaps not fit some people's evil agenda?
20 posted on 06/14/2002 12:46:20 PM PDT by ArrogantBustard
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To: Polycarp
Your proof text and my proof text seem to contradict each other. So which interpretation of these scriptures do we believe?? Yours, based on the doctrines and fancies of fallible men, or mine, based on the teaching of that Church to which Christ Himself granted authority "to lose and to bind," and which He promised the Holy Spirit would lead to "all truth"?

Actually, the texts don't conflict with one another at all. The proofs you cite show that celibacy is an option -- even a good thing -- for those who can handle it. However, it is a far leap of logic to deduce that celibacy must be enforced for clergy.

Further, how would you explain the passages which describe marriage for church leaders? How would you explain Peter and the other Popes and clergy who married until the idea of enforced celibacy was dreamed up? Was Peter violating God's will for church leaders?

Your position is inconsistent with scripture and fails on the face of its logic.

21 posted on 06/14/2002 1:13:46 PM PDT by DallasMike
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To: meandog
Two points:
1. Claiming that one does not need to be an adulterer to understand adultery is not the same as needing to be married to understand marriage. Too many married pastors have discovered how humbling, and instructive it is to be married. And how much they need to adjust their understanding of God's Word after they get married. Many a Youth Pastor has been brought up short once he has gotten married.(I know you didn't make this point - it was made above)

2. Again not your point - but, if there are so many men available for the priesthood, why is it that the bishops refuse to release me from civilian parishes to enter the military chaplaincy? There are approx 1100 chaplains in the Army (active duty). Statistically, 1/3rd should be priests. Yet, less than 100 are now on active duty, and most of those are over the age of 55. When I was a chaplain, we had one priest that was over 70, from Poland, and could barely speak English. He was a wonderful, godly man, but he did not belong in the Army!

Re: interpretation of Scripture, and particularly 1 Tim 3 ( Titus 1:6,7 also). There can only be one meaning - God did not write the Scriptures for each group to take its own interpretation. And frankly, I believe the Roman Catholic Church is wrong on the issue of marriage of priests. Paul says to Titus "if any man is above reproach (that leaves out the pedophiles), the husband of one wife, having children who believe, not accused of dissipation or rebellion ( I wonder how many that would exclude)." 1 Tim says the same thing. These are the only places in the New Testament where Paul lays out the qualifications for an elder/presbyter/overseer. This is pretty clear. Paul knew that the priesthood would be demanding, and that men needed to lead a credible life before the people to be heard and followed. In all of the discussion about celibacy, these seem to be the least mentioned passages, and yet the most definitive.

Grace and peace to all

22 posted on 06/14/2002 1:14:08 PM PDT by LiteKeeper
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To: sitetest
I didn't interpret it at all. Here is what it says:

Now the overseer must be above reproach, the husband of but one wife,

Note it says "must be the husband of one wife". Note it does not equivocate. It says "must be" the husband of one wife. That means married and only once. It doesn't say "if married, must be the husband of one wife". It doesn't allow for much spin.

23 posted on 06/14/2002 1:26:46 PM PDT by AppyPappy
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To: meandog
Wake up. Please read Goodbye! Good Men so you can have a clear understanding of the situation, if you are really interested. But I bet you won't bother to read it.
24 posted on 06/14/2002 1:46:25 PM PDT by american colleen
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To: DallasMike
Perhaps the scriptural passage means that those who cannot handle celibacy may get married, but are not called to the priesthood?
25 posted on 06/14/2002 1:52:49 PM PDT by jrherreid
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To: DallasMike
There is a good book on celibacy (or, more correctly, continence) in the early church written by Fr. Christian Cochini, called Apostolic Origins of Priestly Celibacy. There are solid reasons why celibacy is a requirement of the priesthood, much like marriage is a requirement of parenthood.
26 posted on 06/14/2002 1:57:31 PM PDT by jrherreid
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To: AppyPappy
According to Paul, church leaders must be married. See 1 Tim 3

I don't think Paul intended to disqualify Jesus from church leadership. Do you?

27 posted on 06/14/2002 1:59:37 PM PDT by Campion
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To: AppyPappy; LiteKeeper
Now, now -- no need to waste your time... Facts and logic will only confuse the True Believers (in the commandments of men). For example, don't bring this passage up, either:

I Timothy 4:1-3 "Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth.

28 posted on 06/14/2002 2:01:54 PM PDT by Sloth
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To: meandog
Wake up.

My recollection is that you identify yourself as an "Episcopalian". If by that you mean ECUSA, you are a member of a group which endorses abortion, including partial-birth abortion; which says it has no "core doctrine" prohibiting the ordination of openly practicing homosexuals' and which tolerates an apostate non-Christian who claims to be a "bishop," namely one John Shelby Spong.

Why don't you clean up your own septic tank before complaining about ours?

29 posted on 06/14/2002 2:05:03 PM PDT by Campion
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To: uncbob
Yep, and Peter betrayed Christ, yet Christ still made Peter the Rock and gave him all authority to lose and to bind in heaven as well as on earth and gave him the keys and breathed on him and said, "receive the Holy Spirit. Whose sins you hold bound will be held bound in heaven. Whose sins you lose will be losed in heaven." The laity even then may have been better disciples than some of the apostles. Still Christ named apostles and gave them authority. Today is no different.
30 posted on 06/14/2002 2:06:19 PM PDT by Polycarp
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To: AppyPappy
the husband of but one wife

That means "not the husband of more than one wife". If it excludes celibate men from church leadership, then you're claiming it excludes Jesus. You're also excluding John the Apostle, because there's no evidence that he ever married. There's a dispute about whether Paul was married, but it's clear that, if he was, he lived continently, because in 1 Corinthians he counsels his readers to be unmarried, saying "I wish you to be as I am".

31 posted on 06/14/2002 2:09:00 PM PDT by Campion
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To: meandog
Why do you think the Church is having so hard a time recruiting in its seminaries

Because some Catholic individuals have decided to be protestant, picking and choosing which doctrines on sexual morality to which to adhere, in this case homosexuality, thus discouraging good orthodox heterosexual Catholic candidates who can and would be celibate from entering the priesthood.

This has nothing, NOTHING to do with priestly celibacy.

If it did, protestants would have no problems with pederasty, because their ministers can marry.

Yet protestants have just as big a problem, if not greater, than the RCC, but it is not on the agenda of the NWO to destroy protestantism. Why? Because Satan knows the right address. Protestantism is not Satan's adversary. Roman Catholicism is. Therefore the media is relatively silent on the equal number of these cases among protestant ministers.

32 posted on 06/14/2002 2:13:11 PM PDT by Polycarp
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To: Sloth
You're free to bring up that passage all you like. But maybe you'd like to show us whom you think we "forbid to marry," because I've yet to meet anyone who was forced to become a priest.

Oh, and the Greek word translated "meats" in the KJV simply means food. And all of the evidence indicates that Paul was talking about Gnostic groups of his own time, who really did forbid all of their members to marry, and who preached a number of odd doctrines concerning food, including salvation by eating cucumbers.

As for "commandments of men," I read the Bible myself. I come up with conclusions which differ from yours. If I were to submit myself to believing in your interpretation of what the Bible says, that would be following the commandments of men.

33 posted on 06/14/2002 2:13:59 PM PDT by Campion
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To: GreatOne
Excellent! Bookmarked for future use. Why can't these damned "modernists" just go off and start their own religion, and leave ours alone!

We did, a few centuries ago...

34 posted on 06/14/2002 2:19:07 PM PDT by RobRoy
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To: Campion
Funny that I quote a passage with absolutely NO comment on its content, and yet you somehow identify "my interpretation" and defend against it.
35 posted on 06/14/2002 2:19:46 PM PDT by Sloth
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To: GreatOne
Why can't these damned "modernists" just go off and start their own religion, and leave ours alone!

You mean the modernists who thought that everyone should be able to read the Word of God in their native tongue? The modernists who thought it was ok for the common man to read His Word? The modernists who believe the world is round and that the earth is not the physical center of the universe?

You mean those modernists?

36 posted on 06/14/2002 2:22:36 PM PDT by RobRoy
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To: Polycarp
Peter, and many of the rest of the original 12 apostles were married. God created marriage. Priests can marry if they wish. Nothing prohibits them from doing so.
37 posted on 06/14/2002 2:25:56 PM PDT by Mark17
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To: Polycarp
Protestantism is not Satan's adversary. Roman Catholicism is.

What an odd thing to say. Christianity is satans only adversary. I am a Christian. At my best I am satans adversary.

38 posted on 06/14/2002 2:29:03 PM PDT by RobRoy
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To: Polycarp
Protestantism is not Satan's adversary. Roman Catholicism is.

What an odd thing to say. Christianity is satans only adversary. I am a Christian. At my best I am satans adversary.

39 posted on 06/14/2002 2:30:23 PM PDT by RobRoy
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To: AppyPappy
Dear AppyPappy,

Yes, you are interpreting, and against the most natural meaning of the verse.

It doesn't say, "It says 'must be' the husband of one wife."

Now, you're not only misinterpreting, you're misquoting. You got it right just a sentence or two earlier, "the husband of but one wife".

This is a little archaic. It would be easier to understand if translated, "the husband of only one wife."

I own a rental condo in a building where the rule is that each unit must have only two cars. The word "must" doesn't apply to having two cars ("must have two cars"), it applies to having ONLY two cars, no more, that's the limit. I know a lot of folks in the building that only have one car. No one has cited them for breaking the condo rules.

But your interpretation, though it seems strained to me, isn't altogether outrageous. It is your interpretation.

It happens to be an interpretation that the overwhelming number of professed Christians worldwide reject. Catholics reject it. Holy Orthodoxy rejects it. The Anglicans, the Lutherans, the Methodists, most Baptists, etc., etc. reject this interpretation. But, I will grant, for the sake of argument, that it is a rationally defensible interpretation. It is clearly not an interpretation required by the text. The very fact that a relatively small number of professed Christians agrees with you is testament to that.

So, the question remains, by what authority do you assert that your interpretation is superior to the interpretation given to this verse by, say, 80% or 90% of the rest of the Christians in the world?

Just curious.

In charity,

sitetest

40 posted on 06/14/2002 2:34:22 PM PDT by sitetest
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To: Polycarp; sola gracia; George Frm Br00klyn Park; JenB; Thinkin' Gal; Jerry_M; LibertyBelt...
I must admit that I find the demand of the Catholic Church for celibacy to be rather puzzling. The author's main point seems to be summed up in this statement: "A priest's first duty is to his flock, while a husband's first duty is to his wife." Apparently, he doesn't think a married man can be devoted to his flock. Technically, a priest's or pastor's first duty is to God, not his flock. In fact, that is the first duty of any Christian, clergy or layperson, married or single.

Despite his slant toward celibacy, the Apostle Paul recognized marriage as being perfectly in line with the Christian lifestyle. He writes, "Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her" (Ephesians 5:25). Earthly marriage between a man and a woman has always been looked upon as being representative of Christ's relationship with the church. To say that marriage has absolutely no place in the priesthood is to read something into Scripture that just isn't there.

Nowhere in Scripture will you find that the clergy are commanded to be celibate. That is strictly an invention of the Catholic Church. Members of the clergy are expected to be sexually pure, and I believe that a healthy sexual relationship within the confines of marriage definitely figures into that.

If a man believes that God has called him to a celibate lifestyle, more power to him. But if he believes he is called to a life of wedded companionship in his service for the Lord, it seems unfair that his usefulness as a priest would be so casually dismissed. Those who have been covered by the blood of the Lamb are all priests (1 Peter 2:9) and saints (1 Corinthians 1:2) in the eyes of God, and I believe that a healthy marriage, even among the clergy, is pleasing in God's sight. To say that marriage has no place in the priesthood of the Catholic Church is to say that God was foolish for instituting marriage in the first place.

So, once again, it appears that the Church has to decide which is more important, Catholic tradition or Holy Scripture. Firstly, there is no command for anyone to avoid marriage and live a celibate lifestyle. Secondly, a healthy marriage relationship among the clergy is actually encouraged (1 Timothy 3). Why is that so difficult for some to accept?

41 posted on 06/14/2002 3:26:40 PM PDT by sheltonmac
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To: Polycarp
Yours, based on the doctrines and fancies of fallible men, or mine, based on the teaching of that Church to which Christ Himself granted authority "to lose and to bind," and which He promised the Holy Spirit would lead to "all truth"?

It seems like you are refering to the infallibility of the pope. You will use the 'argument' found in Matt. 16:18 to establish the office of the Pope. 'Peter' (in Greek 'petros' meaning pebble) and rock (in Greek 'petra' meaning solid rock) are confused by the RCC, I believe. In v. 17, Jesus describes how Peter's confession of faith in v. 16 was revealed to him miraculously by His Father in heaven. "On this rock..." does not imply that Peter holds the office of Pope, but it simply means that on this pebble of faith (Peter), Christ will build his church. It is not by tradition, human office, or human rules that Christ will build His church, but on faith. The RCC throughout its history uses tradition and rules to govern their worshipers, but truly, Christ governs His believers in the true Church by faith, brought about by the miraculous work of the Spirit.

42 posted on 06/14/2002 3:33:14 PM PDT by classmuse500
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Comment #43 Removed by Moderator

Comment #44 Removed by Moderator

To: daiuy
Celibacy (from latin caelibatus)the state of not being married

And, in some perverted way, I think this is how gay priests justify what they do. Heck, its not like they are doing something *really* bad like getting married. They are just having some fun with boys. Its no big deal---in fact, it doesn't even qualify as "sex" under Clinton standards.

45 posted on 06/14/2002 4:45:45 PM PDT by 07055
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To: Polycarp;classmuse500; DallasMike;syriacus;meandog;Dr. Scarpetta;07055;Stingray51;GreatOne...
"... So which interpretation of these scriptures do we believe?? Yours, based on the doctrines and fancies of fallible men, or mine, based on the teaching of that Church to which Christ Himself granted authority..."

Do you mean the organization that has a "Holy Father" who lives on earth somewhere in Italy in spite of Jesus' plain command to give no mere man the lofty title that belongs only to God?

St. Paul calls himself a Father to those whose conversion he had been an instrument of (1 Co. 4:15; Phil. 10); but he pretends to no dominion over them, and uses that title to denote, not authority, but affection: therefore he calls them not his *obliged*, but his *beloved*, sons, 1 Co. 4:14.

Mat 23:1 Then spake Jesus to the multitude, and to his disciples,

Mat 23:8 But be not ye called Rabbi: for one is your Master, [even] Christ; and all ye are brethren.

Mat 23:9 And call no [man] your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven.

Jesus warned his disciples against the elite class of "professional interpreters" of Scripture and tradition who loved pretentious titles and positions of influence.

Scripture indicates that church officers were chosen by the whole congregation, and that final governing authority in NT churches rests with the whole church.

The reasoning behind that is that [1] accountability to the congregation provides a safeguard against temptations to sin. [2] some degree of control by the entire congregation provides a safeguard against the leadership falling into doctrinal error. [3] government works best with the consent of those governed.

In addition to those, there is another reason for restricting the authority of church officers [4] the doctrine of the clarity of Scripture and the doctrine of the priesthood of all believers (the regenerate).

The NT affirms that all regenerate Christians have access to God's throne in prayer and all share as members in a "royal priesthood".

[1 Pet.2:9; cf. Heb. 10:19-25; 12:22-24] show that all Christians have some ability to interpret Scripture and some responsibility to seek God's wisdom in applying it to situations. All have access directly to God in order to seek to know his will.

The NT allows for no special class of Christians who have greater access to God than others. Therefore it is right to include all believers in some of the crucial decision-making processes of the church. "In an abundance of counselors there is safety." [Prov.11:14]

When one studies the history of New Testament "church government", one can readily see that the bottom-up, checks and balances, Republican form of limited government that America's Framers gave us, is based straight out of the New Testament CHURCH GOVERNMENT example. [Acts 6:3; 1:15, 22, 23, 25; 2Cor.8:19, etc.] And Paul, Barnabus and Titus are shown as installing the elders that were chosen by the congregations [Acts 6:3-6; 14:23 and Titus 1:5].

Paul says to the whole church congregation: "Pick out from among you seven men of good repute, full of the Spirit and of wisdom whom we may appoint to this duty." (of servant aka deacon)

The apostles had the unique authority to found and govern the early church, and they could speak and write the words of God. Many of their written words became the NT Scripture. In order to qualify as an apostle someone had to had seen Christ with his own eyes after he rose from the dead and had to have been specifically installed/appointed by Christ as an apostle.

In place of living apostles present in the church to teach and govern it, we have instead the writings of the apostles in the books of the NT. Those New Testament Scriptures fulfill for the church today the absolute authoritative teaching and governing functions which were fulfilled by the apostles themselves during the early years of the church. Because of that, there is no need for any direct "succession" or "physical descent" from the apostles. In fact it was not the Jerusalem apostles who ordained Paul and Barnabas, but people in the church at Antioch who laid hands on them and sent them out. [Acts 13:3] Ordaining is ultimately from the Lord, himself [Acts 20:28; 1Cor.12:28; Eph.4:11].

(Some of my comments about church government above were partially derived or paraphrased from Wayne Grudem's book on Systematic Theology Copyright 1994)

Here is more from Matthew Henry's Commentary (on-line) linked from the Blue Letter Bible website [snips]:

"Matt. 8–10. It is repeated twice; Be not called Rabbi, neither be ye called Master or Guide: not that it is unlawful to give civil respect to those that are over us in the Lord, nay, it is an instance of the honour and esteem which it is our duty to show them; but, 1. Christ’s ministers must not affect the name of Rabbi or Master, by way of distinction from other people; it is not agreeable to the simplicity of the gospel, for them to covet or accept the honour which they have that are in kings’ palaces. 2. They must not assume the authority and dominion implied in those names; they must not be magisterial, nor domineer over their brethren, or over God’s heritage, as if they had dominion over the faith of Christians: what they received of the Lord, all must receive from them; but in other things they must not make their opinions and wills a rule and standard to all other people, to be admitted with an implicit obedience. The reasons for this prohibition are,

(1.) One is your Master, even Christ, v. 8, and again, v. 10. Note,

[1.] Christ is our Master, our Teacher, our Guide. Mr. George Herbert, when he named the name of Christ, usually added, My Master.
[2.] Christ only is our Master, ministers are but ushers in the school. Christ only is the Master, the great Prophet, whom we must hear, and be ruled and overruled by; whose word must be an oracle and a law to us; Verily I say unto you, must be enough to us.

And if he only be our Master, then for his ministers to set up for dictators, and to pretend to a supremacy and an infallibility, is a daring usurpation of that honour of Christ which he will not give to another.

(2.) All ye are brethren. Ministers are brethren not only to one another, but to the people; and therefore it ill becomes them to be masters, when there are none for them to master it over but their brethren; yea, and we are all younger brethren, otherwise the eldest might claim an excellency of dignity and power, Gen. 49:3. But, to preclude that, Christ himself is the first-born among many brethren, Rom. 8:29. Ye are brethren, as ye are all disciples of the same Master. School-fellows are brethren, and, as such, should help one another in getting their lesson; but it will by no means be allowed that one of the scholars step into the master’s seat, and give law to the school. If we are all brethren, we must not be many masters. Jam. 3:1.

Secondly, They are forbidden to ascribe such titles to others (v. 9); "Call no man your father upon the earth; constitute no man the father of your religion, that is, the founder, author, director, and governor, of it.’’

The fathers of our flesh must be called fathers, and as such we must give them reverence; but God only must be allowed as the Father of our spirits, Heb. 12:9.

Our religion must not be derived from, or made to depend upon, any man. We are born again to the spiritual and divine life, not of corruptible seed, but by the word of God; not of the will of the flesh, or the will of man, but of God. Now the will of man, not being the rise of our religion, must not be the rule of it. We must not jurare in verba magistri—swear to the dictates of any creature, not the wisest or best, nor pin our faith on any man’s. St. Paul calls himself a Father to those whose conversion he had been an instrument of (1 Co. 4:15; Phil. 10); but he pretends to no dominion over them, and uses that title to denote, not authority, but affection: therefore he calls them not his obliged, but his beloved, sons, 1 Co. 4:14.

The reason given is, One is your Father, who is in heaven. God is our Father, and is All in all in our religion. He is the Fountain of it, and its Founder; the Life of it, and its Lord; from whom alone, as the Original, our spiritual life is derived, and on whom it depends.

He is the Father of all lights (Jam. 1:17), that one Father, from whom are all things, and we in him, Eph. 4:6.

Christ having taught us to say, Our Father, who art in heaven; let us call no man Father upon earth; no man, because man is a worm, and the son of man is a worm, hewn out of the same rock with us; especially not upon earth, for man upon earth is a sinful worm; there is not a just man upon earth, that doeth good, and sinneth not, and therefore no one is fit to be called Father.~~~~

46 posted on 06/14/2002 4:52:49 PM PDT by Matchett-PI
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To: Matchett-PI
Dear Matchett-PI,

I appreciate very much your sharing with me your exhaustive comments and interpretations regarding Scripture, church government, and other topics.

Though some of your interpretations appear plausible, I disagree with pretty much all of them. Pardon me if I don't take the time to dispute each point.

Frankly, I just don't find your interpretations anywhere near as compelling as Catholic teaching. However, should you be able to cite the source of your authority to infallibly interpret Scripture, and should I see that you have that infallible authority, I shall give your interpretations greater weight in the future.

Fraternally in the faith in Christ we share,

47 posted on 06/14/2002 5:21:08 PM PDT by sitetest
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To: Campion
Sorry folks, but I have to think some of you are goofy as H-ll !!!

God told His people to be fruitful and multiply, now if this celibacy was practiced universally in a short time there would be no people.

I was baptized and confirmed Catholic, AS A CHILD, with no real choice (as are most people of most religions, I suspect.) As an adult, I question the process and validity. Surely God doesn't punish little children souls for sins they didn't understand, yet how will he value faith based on rote and ignorance ?

48 posted on 06/14/2002 5:37:26 PM PDT by hoosierham
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To: sheltonmac
The RC position of demanding that "priests" decline God's gift of marriage has nothing to do with Scripture, that's the bottom line.

Well, now, I need to qualify that. It is described in Scripture.

That would be 1 Timothy 4:1-3.

Dan
What Is Biblical Christianity?

49 posted on 06/14/2002 6:06:29 PM PDT by BibChr
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To: Campion, sitetest
It says "Must be ... the husband of one wife". You are adding words into the Scripture in order to match your beliefs. If church leaders were required to be celibate single men, why would it say "must be...the husband of one wife"? It doesn't say "should be". It doesn't say "Optionally.". "Must be"

The Catholic Church allowed married priests at one time. They based that on Scripture. Now you reject that Scripture. If the Church begins ordaining married men, will you drop your opposition to married priests? I think you need to consider this since a new Pope is just around the corner.

50 posted on 06/14/2002 6:33:34 PM PDT by AppyPappy
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