Friday, April 29, 2005

Interesting Quote About Priest Scandal

I try to keep this blog free from "personal" things like Religion or politics, but I stumbled across this quote in some reading I was doing a couple of years ago. With all the focus now on the new pope, I thought it would be good to share it. This, by the way, should be one of the first things this new pope should resolve. You don't just slap a cardinal on the wrist and then invite him to speak at a funeral mass and expect people to take you seriously... Anyway, here's the quote:

"The bishops have forbidden marriage and burdened the godly estate of priests with perpetual celibacy... With this, they have given the occasion for all kinds of horrible, enormous, innumerable sins of unchastity. They are still stuck in these things."

Some people could read that and think that it's from a 21st Century American speaking of the pedophile priests we seem to have more of than other countries. However, that quote is from:

Article 11 of Martin Luther's The Schmalkald Articles from 1538!

Like Forrest Gump said "That's all I have to say about that."

2 comments:

Greg Simmons said...

Wow...I didn't realize the problem had been commented on for so long. Maybe Peter was right in being the first Pope to have a wife. Any clues where this no wife thing came from anyway?

Chris Whisonant said...

I'm not completely in agreement with Luther's assertion that the "horrible...sins of unchastity" all stem from the requirement of chastity because we sometimes hear of married protestant pastors who commit such heinous acts. However, it does hurt their ability to be able to fight off certain temptations.

At the article on NewAdvent.org (the online Catholic dictionary):

http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/03481a.htm

The candidate for priest is told:

"You will be required to continue in the service of God, and with His assistance to observe chastity and to be bound for ever in the ministrations of the Altar, to serve who is to reign."

By accepting that, he will vowe his chastity. If you read on, it is sacrilege for him to later enter a marriage. Their basis for this are some scriptures from Paul about hoping that people could remain unmarried like himself (though it's debatable as to whether Paul was married previously - for him to be such a wonderful Jew and probably on the Sanhedrin he was most likely married once). Their earliest substantial reference to this practice historically is from St. Epiphanius from around the middle-late 4th Century. Not exactly what one could call proof of practice in the early church. Although Tertullian (middle 2nd Century) did comment that there were many observing this practice.

Regarding Peter's marriage and the later celibate Popes, I'm not sure how they can force celibacy when their first Pope was married. It's a catch-22... But since they require priests to be celibate and then I would assume that all Bishops were also previously priests, their lifelong vow would have to be maintained.