Jump to content
Complete France Forum

Celibacy ?


Gardian

Recommended Posts

I'm sure that we've all been much troubled by the scandals in the RC Church in recent years. I'm not seeking to open a debate over the wrongs that have occurred - they need no debate really and what I'd like to explore is really a completely different subject.

Just interested in views on the continued 'hard line' of the Church on celibacy.

It was nearly a thousand years ago that Rome took the stance. Where we live, the priest has 7 or 8 communes to look after: the poor man is run ragged! He married our son and DIL and attended the wedding reception. After enjoying the evening ([B]), he did confide to one guest that celibacy was something that he would like to see done away with.  The difficulty of recruiting young priests everywhere (not just in France, but the UK too) would suggest that 'opening up' the ministry to men who were already married or able to marry would be more than helpful.  Furthermore, women priests .................... !!!???

In many ways this is a dumb debate - it won't happen for decades, if ever.  Just interested in views though.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Personally (as an atheist) I've never really understood why there is a need or requirement for priests to be celibate in the first place. And, as so many of them clearly aren't, and are as a result breaking their own self-imposed rules, surely the whole thing is a bit of a farce anyway. I'm also surprised that priests have, through the ages, been supposed or expected to give advice (if it's sought) on marital problems and family issues, of which they have no experience whatsoever.

I'm not sure I understand your sentence about women priests. However, in the 21st century when women are legally entitled to equality in most fields of life (I say "most", but the church seems to be the last bastion of sexual discrimination) I can't see the objection to women priests.

I've never really hears anyone spell out the rationale for clerics of any persuasion having to be celibate males. Perhaps it would be useful if someone could explain the original (or current) logic behind this.

Whilst the origins of this letter (as you can see, I've taken my link from Snopes) are indeed suspect, and it's been doing the rounds for years, the (in)famous "Leviticus letter" I think shows just how many Biblical dictates have become outmoded and outdated, and my opinion FWIW is that celibacy in the priesthood is another of those.

[url]http://www.snopes.com/politics/religion/drlaura.asp[/url]

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think the catholics get the celibacy thing from Paul in 1 Chorinthians chapter 7, especially this bit:

Now to the unmarried and the widows I say: It is good for them to stay unmarried, as I do. But if they cannot control themselves, they should marry, for it is better to marry than to burn with passion.

He also talked a lot about being married to the church, and the catholics have taken it to the extreme by saying no priests can marry just because Paul didn't. Seems they neglected to read the rest though.

Wouldn't be the first thing they got wrong compared to the bible so it's no real surprise.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The bible is full of contradictions, still I have heard said that the pope is in a direct line to Peter and in Matthew 8:14, it says Peter was married. With all those contradictions, maybe it'll say elsewhere he wasn't, but of anything in that book, Peter being married sounds right.

I actually find it hard to comprehend why all these men who were disciples and Jesus himself had not been married off, surely that was what happened then?

When I was in Rome, I saw lots of nuns from what I would call third world countries and thought, given the choice between marriage and constant child birth and running around after a husband, then becoming a nun may seem like a pretty decent way of life. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Celibacy was introduced in about the 12th century to protect church property - so that the children of priests couldn't acquire property which was rightly that of the church. If priests did not take wives, then they would not have legitimate children. The stuff about priests needing to devote their lives to their parishioners was a bit of post-hoc rationalisation.

Celibacy, of course, means not marrying. It does not forbid sexual relations - that is the sin of adultery or of fornication.

If it is to remain credible in any way, the RCC has got to abandon its obsession with sex. Few things make it look more ridiculous than the sight of elderly bachelors in skirts telling other people what they can or cannot do with the contents of their underwear.

Most of the RCC's ruling on sex comes from a rather strange source - from Aristotle not the bible. Aristotle's Natural Law was interpreted by Thomas Aquinas as equivalent to God's Law. Aristotle, supposedly using empirical methods, stated that the primary purpose of sex was reproduction. That may be true of most animals but it is certainly not true of humans.

Two and a half millenia later, we know very much more about reproductive biology and human behaviour to make many of Aquinas's musings ridiculous. However, the Old Men in Skirts ignore rational scientific explanations of human behaviour in favour of medieval confusion.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I can't wait for the 'second coming' although I doubt Jesus would get very far. I mean he is due to pick up a fortune, all those million if not billions of Euros worth of art treasures etc the Vatican has been storing for him. All the royalties from his and his dad's book and of course the sermons given in churches across the world, he would make Bill Gates look a pauper in comparison. They would, of course, just hang on to their money and deny it was him.

I wonder if Jesus was celibate, I can't quite see it myself.

I am not a great fan of the Vatican nor of the Catholic religion, I think it has far too much blood on its hands and I don't like the way it appeals for money to help the underprivileged and starving of the world when it sits on so much wealth. Surely if they followed Gods and Jesus words they would sell it all to raise money to help these people.

Likewise, and going back to the original question, I see no purpose in celibacy nor in the banning of women priests, cardinals etc. I also can't understand why no women have made a direct attack on the church via the law courts as many countries have strict laws against sexual discrimination.

The Vatican is full of old men who live in the past. I would like to see a young pope, forty years of age maximum, somebody who is more in touch with a modern world and the needs of those that form its congregation. Mind you being Jewish I think it is about time they had much younger chief rabbinate as well for the same reason. In fact when you look at all the religions the upper echelons are full of old men most of whom takes the word senility in to a whole new dimension.

Wouldn't it be fun if part of The Davinci Code was right and that really the pope should be a female.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I agree Bugsy. Why make up daft rules where none are needed ? I can't see any value in celibacy.

It's not just Christianity either; Islam has some very strange rules governing sexual behaviour.

Maybe the whole thing is just an invention by men who want a power structure in place in which they can progress.

The current argument about same-sex marriage is an example of religion straying into areas where it doesn't belong. I can't see why we in Britain can't adopt something like the French system where everyone marries in the civil system and those who wish to could have a religious ceremony.

Hoddy

Link to comment
Share on other sites

[quote user="Hoddy"]

... I can't see why we in Britain can't adopt something like the French system where everyone marries in the civil system and those who wish to could have a religious ceremony. Hoddy[/quote]

But that is EXACTLY what happens in Britain. Everyone does marry in the civil system. The legal role of a minister of religion is to register the marriage - hence he or she is a registrar as well as a minister.

The only difference between the British and French systems is that if a couple want a religious wedding it can take place at the same time as the civil wedding instead of following it. Nobody is obliged to hold their wedding in a church.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

So everyone who wants a religious ceremony has to have two ceremonies? Seems a bit wasteful, actually - the second ceremony takes up good drinking time!

A point which many people forget is that at a wedding, the people who do the marrying - the celebrants - are the couple themselves. The registrar, priest, minister, imam or whatever are really official witnesses. I dare say that this is also the role of the maire in France - a kind of notary.

It is also not usually known that the fashion for church weddings in Britain is little more than a couple of centuries old. Only the wealthy and prominent had religious weddings. Ordinary people simply declared themselves to each other and then considered themselves married. That is all that really happens in any wedding ceremony today anyway, except that bride's parents are bankrupted!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It can work quite well Clarkkent. I've been to quite a few weddings, mostly Sikh, where the couple have already been married legally for a couple of weeks. The business at the register office is just a simple legal thing - hardly a ceremony. The 'real' wedding can be something else entirely if that is what the couple choose.

Hoddy
Link to comment
Share on other sites

We had a great wedding last year. Held the entire event at home. Had a big canopy in the back yard with tables and chairs under, a guy came and cooked tacos on the grill for everyone. We got married on the patio. Was the best wedding I ever went to. From ceremony to reception without having to drive anywhere. Was a bit annoyed at the officiant who married us as I specifically requested no religious stuff in the wedding. At the end she put her plug in for her business (fair enough) and invited everyone to her church on Sunday (not fair enough).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I suppose celibacy allows a priest to concentrate on his job rather than his family. If his family turned out to be scoundrels I could sully the reputation of the church.

Your wedding sounds interesting Richard. Did the officiant have to have some sort of licence to do this ?

Hoddy
Link to comment
Share on other sites

[quote user="Hoddy"]I suppose celibacy allows a priest to concentrate on his job rather than his family. If his family turned out to be scoundrels I could sully the reputation of the church.

Your wedding sounds interesting Richard. Did the officiant have to have some sort of licence to do this ?

Hoddy[/quote]

I think many priests have already sullied the reputation of the church without any extra help from a family lol.

Yes to the second question, the officiant was fully licenced.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Interesting views.

Mrs G (who is the Catholic, rather than me) has a cousin who was an RC priest. His mother was very proud over his 'calling'.

At some point in time, he went 'off-piste' and a son appeared on the scene! He left the priesthood, but within the family nobody would talk about it. We never knew whether there was a wife or whether this was a casual fling.

I met him and his son (who by then was 30 or so and married himself) at his mother's funeral and nothing was mentioned about the past. He was such a nice man, I just wish that I had had the nerve to ask him about it, but I just didn't know him well enough.

Just as a general comment from someone who isn't a Christian, but who has had dealings with many RC priests over the years, I have found every one of them to be extremely open, down-to-earth and realistic. Its a great pity that the 'senior management' doesn't have the qualities and willingness to embrace change of many of the troops.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Mr Ceour de Lion II said:

I was disgusted when I went to the Vatican. Supposedly the

representation of Christianity, and all you could see everywhere was

paganism.

Where was the paganism? I missed that and would certainly have been more interested in that than christianity.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

[quote user="idun"]Mr Ceour de Lion II said:
I was disgusted when I went to the Vatican. Supposedly the representation of Christianity, and all you could see everywhere was paganism.

Where was the paganism? I missed that and would certainly have been more interested in that than christianity.
 
[/quote]

I went also, put on my best suite and stood outside with all the others hoping to catch a word when he walked past. He did walk past but totally ignored me and stoped a little further down to talk to a tramp. I went the next day and he did the same thing, walked past me a stopped at the same tramp further down. On the way out of the square I followed the tramp and asked if he would like to swap cloths on the basis that perhaps I was a bit over dressed. Went back the next and it worked, the pope stopped, lent across and whispered in my ear "I have told you to p*ss off twice now, your making the place look untidy".

Link to comment
Share on other sites

[quote user="idun"]Mr Ceour de Lion II said:

I was disgusted when I went to the Vatican. Supposedly the

representation of Christianity, and all you could see everywhere was

paganism.

Where was the paganism? I missed that and would certainly have been more interested in that than christianity.

 

[/quote]

Let's see. It's been a few years since I've been there (about 13 to be precise). Pretty much everywhere you turn you will see paganism in the Vatican and St Peters. All the statues of Roman and Greek gods for a start. Within St Peters, you are also surrounded by many pagan inspired things. The trinity is a pagan concept, and there is plenty of reference to the trinity inside that and every other catholic church. Christianity is a monotheist religion. Or at least started out as one until the Council of Nicea in the 400's AD. The big obelisk in the center of St Peter's square is in essence a pagan symbol, and suggests sun worship. Even the cross originates well before Christianity was created.

Most of the references to paganism are very much blended in with Christianity, this was the most popular way of bringing in converts by blending foreign religions in with Christianity. It's probably how Mary has become such an important figure in the Catholic church. If you compare the Christianity of the years after Christ's death to 300 years after, and again to today, you will find it is very much different to the original.

Maybe I'm wrong, that's just how I saw it. I felt it was so far from what was written in the Bible.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
×
×
  • Create New...