Author Topic: As One: Celibacy of the Clergy  (Read 3883 times)

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Offline LightHammer

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As One: Celibacy of the Clergy
« on: Fri Jul 08, 2011 - 15:24:12 »
Although celibacy has always been apart the Church's history as an esteemed state of discipleship, the issue before us is the mandate of celibacy amongst the ordained. I'd like to stress that the discipline of celibacy is not the point of contention, but rather its mandate and how its imposition plays a shcismatic role in the Catholic Church pre 1054 AD (arbitrary date yes I know).

With the parameters of the discussion laid out, I felt it would be admissible to begin by imploring what the Orthodox objection to the mandate of celibacy in the Latin rite entails.

It would also be inviting, if the discussion could promote possible scenarios in which both sides of the coin could reach a mutual concession that would allow for this issue to be resolved.  

« Last Edit: Fri Jul 08, 2011 - 16:10:45 by LightHammer »

Offline CDHealy

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Re: As One: Celibacy of the Clergy
« Reply #1 on: Fri Jul 08, 2011 - 18:11:26 »
The Orthodox Church has never mandated celibacy for nonmonastic deacons and priests, and only after several hundred years did so for bishops.

That said, whatever state one is in when one is ordained to the diaconate, that is the state in which one must remain upon further ordinations.  So priestly celibacy exists, but it is voluntary.

Episcopal celibacy is required, but this primarily arose from historical circumstances in which it developed that bishops were more often selected from among monastics.  The quinisext council then codified episcopal celibacy.

The mandate for priestly celibacy in the Roman Church did not develop until after the schism during the Gregorian reforms of the twelfth (? or thirteenth?) century.

Offline LightHammer

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Re: As One: Celibacy of the Clergy
« Reply #2 on: Fri Jul 08, 2011 - 18:44:19 »
Hey Brother,

Quote
The Orthodox Church has never mandated celibacy for nonmonastic deacons and priests, and only after several hundred years did so for bishops.

So celibacy is mandated in some degree in Orthodoxy? If you reside in a monastery and for bishops, am I reading this right?

Quote
That said, whatever state one is in when one is ordained to the diaconate, that is the state in which one must remain upon further ordinations.  So priestly celibacy exists, but it is voluntary.

Isn't that identical to what we do in the RCC? If a priest is married upon reception into the Holy Order, he can infact remain married. If he is single he must remain single.

How exactly does that contrast with the Orthodox Church?

Quote
Episcopal celibacy is required, but this primarily arose from historical circumstances in which it developed that bishops were more often selected from among monastics.  The quinisext council then codified episcopal celibacy.

So bishops are celibate because historically most bishops were chosen from among monastics who already praticed celibacy. Ok

Quote
The mandate for priestly celibacy in the Roman Church did not develop until after the schism during the Gregorian reforms of the twelfth (? or thirteenth?) century.

The history of it does go back further than that however. In 386 Pope Siricius passed an edict that forbade priests and deacons from having conjugal intercourse with their wives, which he tried to have enforced in Spain. The strictness of the of this practice echoes perpetually throughout the history of the Church from then on.

In any event, I am not sure I understand the Orthodox basis for objecting mandated celibacy. What specifically do you guys take offense to?


LightHammer


P.S.

Sorry it took me so long to get this thread going, Brother.

Offline CDHealy

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Re: As One: Celibacy of the Clergy
« Reply #3 on: Sat Jul 09, 2011 - 09:48:27 »
Monastic celibacy is a given, a traditional norm.  No one disputes that.

Orthodox do require celibacy of bishops and of clergy who are unmarried at the time of their ordination, or who are widowed after their ordination.

No man may be a bishop who is not celibate.  He may, however, have been a married priest, whose wife predeceased him.  A widower priest may be a bishop.

The Orthodox Church, however, does not mandate celibacy as a norm for all of her clergy.  That is the difference.  While Rome may *allow* married men to be priests, the actual working out of that is a very small minority with roles largely as supporting clergy.

Local traditions varied, and I'm sure various historical texts can be brought forward to suggest or perhaps even clearly indicate that priestly celibacy was the local tradition of a particular place for a period of time.  But since the Quinisext Council in 692, the present practice of the Orthodox Church was codified by Council, and later ratified by further Council.

The Gregorian reforms were a unilateral change of Ecumenical Tradition.  This is the objection of the Orthodox.

Offline LightHammer

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Re: As One: Celibacy of the Clergy
« Reply #4 on: Sat Jul 09, 2011 - 11:27:33 »
Quote
Local traditions varied, and I'm sure various historical texts can be brought forward to suggest or perhaps even clearly indicate that priestly celibacy was the local tradition of a particular place for a period of time.  But since the Quinisext Council in 692, the present practice of the Orthodox Church was codified by Council, and later ratified by further Council.

The Gregorian reforms were a unilateral change of Ecumenical Tradition.  This is the objection of the Orthodox.

The 11th century is a bit of a headache for me, honestly. I rather wish that the Popes of this century didn't feel the craving to, IMHO, over-empahsize the primacy of the Chair of St. Peter. It seemed like the Church was getting along just fine up until that point.

The expression of authority during the Gregorian reform hearkens back to the contrasting definition of Primacy. Although I don't think the edict that loosed the laity from the authoirty of Bishops who allowed married priests actually stuck, it all comes down to the primacy issue.

I'm not seeing the major differences in the practice of the discipline of celibacy between the East and the West. In modern times I don't see this as a major factor of division that would prevent a reunion. Definitely not on the doctinal scale of the filioque.

Would you concure?

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Re: As One: Celibacy of the Clergy
« Reply #4 on: Sat Jul 09, 2011 - 11:27:33 »



Offline CDHealy

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Re: As One: Celibacy of the Clergy
« Reply #5 on: Sat Jul 09, 2011 - 11:35:47 »
Clerical celibacy is not a deal-breaker for Orthodox.  It is part of the whole.  The Orthodox are primarily against papal universal jurisdiction, papal infallibility, filioque.

Offline LightHammer

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Re: As One: Celibacy of the Clergy
« Reply #6 on: Sat Jul 09, 2011 - 12:59:09 »
Clerical celibacy is not a deal-breaker for Orthodox.  It is part of the whole.  The Orthodox are primarily against papal universal jurisdiction, papal infallibility, filioque.

Well I don't know how they would sort out the whole filioque mess, but I guess we should move on to papal universal jurisdiction.

Offline Joel, the Son of Pethuel

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Re: As One: Celibacy of the Clergy
« Reply #7 on: Sat Jul 09, 2011 - 13:13:04 »
Hey Brother,

Quote
The Orthodox Church has never mandated celibacy for nonmonastic deacons and priests, and only after several hundred years did so for bishops.

So celibacy is mandated in some degree in Orthodoxy? If you reside in a monastery and for bishops, am I reading this right?

Quote
That said, whatever state one is in when one is ordained to the diaconate, that is the state in which one must remain upon further ordinations.  So priestly celibacy exists, but it is voluntary.

Isn't that identical to what we do in the RCC? If a priest is married upon reception into the Holy Order, he can infact remain married. If he is single he must remain single.

How exactly does that contrast with the Orthodox Church?

Quote
Episcopal celibacy is required, but this primarily arose from historical circumstances in which it developed that bishops were more often selected from among monastics.  The quinisext council then codified episcopal celibacy.

So bishops are celibate because historically most bishops were chosen from among monastics who already praticed celibacy. Ok

Quote
The mandate for priestly celibacy in the Roman Church did not develop until after the schism during the Gregorian reforms of the twelfth (? or thirteenth?) century.

The history of it does go back further than that however. In 386 Pope Siricius passed an edict that forbade priests and deacons from having conjugal intercourse with their wives, which he tried to have enforced in Spain. The strictness of the of this practice echoes perpetually throughout the history of the Church from then on.

In any event, I am not sure I understand the Orthodox basis for objecting mandated celibacy. What specifically do you guys take offense to?


LightHammer


P.S.

Sorry it took me so long to get this thread going, Brother.

You ask if celibacy is "mandated" to some degree. I think that that is the wrong way to look at it. Marriage and monasticism are viewed as being essentially the same thing: they are two forms of marriage. In Orthodoxy, the only "single" people are those who have never married or been tonsured as monks/nuns. If a person chooses to become a monk, then that person, like the one who chose "sacramental" marriage, is choosing to live a life of chastity and fidelity to someone else. In the case of marriage, the person is choosing fidelity to one's spouse and family. In monasticism, the person is choosing fidelity to Christ and his monastic community. The goal of each is to lead the person on a path of self-denial and the pursuit of Christ within a community.

In both of those, what is "mandated" is chastity. The married man and the monk alike are both "married" to someone. The only difference is how that married life is manifested.

So it's not that "celibacy is mandated". People choose which type of marriage they want, and are to remain chaste in that marriage.

If that makes any sense...

There was indeed a time when many of our bishops were married. At that time the Church world-wide was under intense persecution. For someone to be a Christian during those days mean that it was all or nothing. It didn't matter if you were married or celibate; you pursued Christ with the same intensity (or very nearly the same). Once persecutions stopped, the average Christian didn't pursue the spiritual life with the same intensity as before. For that reason many people fled the world and went to the desert and became monks. That way they could pursue Christ the way they were able to while persecution was still rampant. It was for that reason that the bishops began to be chosen from among the monastics - as a whole (by no means has it been a universal truth), the monastics made better bishops than married men.

Offline LightHammer

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Re: As One: Celibacy of the Clergy
« Reply #8 on: Sat Jul 09, 2011 - 13:19:41 »
Hey Brother,

Quote
The Orthodox Church has never mandated celibacy for nonmonastic deacons and priests, and only after several hundred years did so for bishops.

So celibacy is mandated in some degree in Orthodoxy? If you reside in a monastery and for bishops, am I reading this right?

Quote
That said, whatever state one is in when one is ordained to the diaconate, that is the state in which one must remain upon further ordinations.  So priestly celibacy exists, but it is voluntary.

Isn't that identical to what we do in the RCC? If a priest is married upon reception into the Holy Order, he can infact remain married. If he is single he must remain single.

How exactly does that contrast with the Orthodox Church?

Quote
Episcopal celibacy is required, but this primarily arose from historical circumstances in which it developed that bishops were more often selected from among monastics.  The quinisext council then codified episcopal celibacy.

So bishops are celibate because historically most bishops were chosen from among monastics who already praticed celibacy. Ok

Quote
The mandate for priestly celibacy in the Roman Church did not develop until after the schism during the Gregorian reforms of the twelfth (? or thirteenth?) century.

The history of it does go back further than that however. In 386 Pope Siricius passed an edict that forbade priests and deacons from having conjugal intercourse with their wives, which he tried to have enforced in Spain. The strictness of the of this practice echoes perpetually throughout the history of the Church from then on.

In any event, I am not sure I understand the Orthodox basis for objecting mandated celibacy. What specifically do you guys take offense to?


LightHammer


P.S.

Sorry it took me so long to get this thread going, Brother.

You ask if celibacy is "mandated" to some degree. I think that that is the wrong way to look at it. Marriage and monasticism are viewed as being essentially the same thing: they are two forms of marriage. In Orthodoxy, the only "single" people are those who have never married or been tonsured as monks/nuns. If a person chooses to become a monk, then that person, like the one who chose "sacramental" marriage, is choosing to live a life of chastity and fidelity to someone else. In the case of marriage, the person is choosing fidelity to one's spouse and family. In monasticism, the person is choosing fidelity to Christ and his monastic community. The goal of each is to lead the person on a path of self-denial and the pursuit of Christ within a community.

In both of those, what is "mandated" is chastity. The married man and the monk alike are both "married" to someone. The only difference is how that married life is manifested.

So it's not that "celibacy is mandated". People choose which type of marriage they want, and are to remain chaste in that marriage.

If that makes any sense...

There was indeed a time when many of our bishops were married. At that time the Church world-wide was under intense persecution. For someone to be a Christian during those days mean that it was all or nothing. It didn't matter if you were married or celibate; you pursued Christ with the same intensity (or very nearly the same). Once persecutions stopped, the average Christian didn't pursue the spiritual life with the same intensity as before. For that reason many people fled the world and went to the desert and became monks. That way they could pursue Christ the way they were able to while persecution was still rampant. It was for that reason that the bishops began to be chosen from among the monastics - as a whole (by no means has it been a universal truth), the monastics made better bishops than married men.


Hey Joel,

I don't think we've ever debated before. I'm a Roman Catholic by the way. Look forward to seeing you around. Enjoy our community.

God Bless You

Offline DaveW

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Re: As One: Celibacy of the Clergy
« Reply #9 on: Tue May 15, 2012 - 10:54:36 »
I have a question for both the orthodox and the catholic brothers: 

What criterea is used to evaluate/ensure that a person who is entering a monastic life (including priesthood in the RCC) truly has the charismatic gift of celebacy?

Offline LightHammer

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Re: As One: Celibacy of the Clergy
« Reply #10 on: Sun May 20, 2012 - 19:55:44 »
I have a question for both the orthodox and the catholic brothers: 

What criterea is used to evaluate/ensure that a person who is entering a monastic life (including priesthood in the RCC) truly has the charismatic gift of celebacy?

I can not speak for my Eastern Orthodox family but in the rites of the Catholic Church becoming ordained period takes several years. Usually it takes about 4-5 years of academic study, spiritual training and discernment before the ordination occurs. Seminarians live under the disciplined guidance of an immediate senior priest who evaluates them while also having to report to the bishop of the diocese or archdiocese that allowed them to enter into the seminary in the first place.

The hope is that those who are not fit for the ministry are weeded out during such time. If you want more detailed specifics I can offer those as well.

Offline CDHealy

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Re: As One: Celibacy of the Clergy
« Reply #11 on: Sat May 26, 2012 - 09:55:55 »
I do not personally know of any formal or procedural measurements for Orthodox ordination candidates.  However, part of the process does involve the investigation of the life of the ordinand.  Under consideration would be whether or not the man would be able to live a celibate life.  Ordinations are not infrequently delayed while the man sorts this out.

Offline DaveW

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Re: As One: Celibacy of the Clergy
« Reply #12 on: Sat May 26, 2012 - 22:43:40 »
"The hope is that those who are not fit for the ministry are weeded out during such time,"

How does that equate to spiritual discernment on whether the person has a spiritual gift or not?  The best friend of my son in law just got his first parish a few months ago. I asked him about it a couple of years ago and he was convinced he had it. But he could not answer how the vow of celibacy worked in light of Paul's admonition to Timothy and Titus that congregational leaders were to be the "husband of one wife."  The term "elder" included all ordained congregational leaders including pastors (what you call priests).

Offline LightHammer

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Re: As One: Celibacy of the Clergy
« Reply #13 on: Sun May 27, 2012 - 09:49:44 »
"The hope is that those who are not fit for the ministry are weeded out during such time,"

How does that equate to spiritual discernment on whether the person has a spiritual gift or not?  The best friend of my son in law just got his first parish a few months ago. I asked him about it a couple of years ago and he was convinced he had it. But he could not answer how the vow of celibacy worked in light of Paul's admonition to Timothy and Titus that congregational leaders were to be the "husband of one wife."  The term "elder" included all ordained congregational leaders including pastors (what you call priests).

What I call priest is what is presbyter in the Bible. Hard to miss the etymology.

I feel like you are trying to turn this into a debate about celibacy.

I honestly don't see how you don't understand. The seminarian spends up to half a decade im training under the guidance of an bishop and priest. In that five years the seminarian and his seniors are meant to come to the realization as to whether or not he has the charism for celibacy.


Offline DaveW

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Re: As One: Celibacy of the Clergy
« Reply #14 on: Sun May 27, 2012 - 11:07:05 »
Not wanting to sidetrack this with the whole celibacy issue.  I do see it as a legitimate gifting from God, but not one that can be chosen any more than a gift of prophecy or healing can be chosen. I do not see it as legitimate for congregational leadership. <nuff said>

But that aside, since it is a "charism" as you put it, does it not require someone with the charism of discernment or word of knowledge to accurately identify it?

Is it also not true that ONLY the Roman or Latin Rite catholic priests are required to be celibate?  There are other Rites within the RCC that have priests that are not celibate?

Offline LightHammer

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Re: As One: Celibacy of the Clergy
« Reply #15 on: Sun May 27, 2012 - 11:53:48 »
Not wanting to sidetrack this with the whole celibacy issue.  I do see it as a legitimate gifting from God, but not one that can be chosen any more than a gift of prophecy or healing can be chosen. I do not see it as legitimate for congregational leadership. <nuff said>

But that aside, since it is a "charism" as you put it, does it not require someone with the charism of discernment or word of knowledge to accurately identify it?

Is it also not true that ONLY the Roman or Latin Rite catholic priests are required to be celibate?  There are other Rites within the RCC that have priests that are not celibate?

1.  Yes it does require someone with the ability to discern to identify the gift. That is why the initiation process takes several years. When done accurately it is next to impossible for someone not worthy of the cloth to be ordained. When not done properly any man can be ordained.

2. Not there are not other rites in the Roman Catholic Church because the Roman Catholic Church is only used to identify the Latin Rite. How about you type in Ethiopian Catholic Church, Coptic Catholic Church or Byzantine Catholic Church and what you get.

3. No the Latin Rite is not the only rite that requires celibacy.
   
A. The Latin Rite doesn't really require that you have to be celibate to be a priest in the strictest sense.      The discipline of the priesthood states that celibacy is required for the episcopate and the monastic life but married men can be ordained into the lower orders of priest and deacons if there's an exception. Once ordained you must stay as you are. If you're single you stay single. If you're married you stay married and do not marry again if you become a widower.

B. Those are the ink on the paper so to speak. In practice the Latin Rite has historically tried to refrain from married men but it is not unheard of. I have priest here in my hometown that's married.

The other rites of the Church follow the exact same standard (even the Orthodox from my understanding). The only difference is in the practice. The Latin Rite has historically been more strict in ordaining only single men while the eastern rites have been less strict.

Offline epiphanius

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Re: As One: Celibacy of the Clergy
« Reply #16 on: Mon Jul 16, 2012 - 13:17:57 »
Is it also not true that ONLY the Roman or Latin Rite catholic priests are required to be celibate?  There are other Rites within the RCC that have priests that are not celibate?


3. No the Latin Rite is not the only rite that requires celibacy.
   
A. The Latin Rite doesn't really require that you have to be celibate to be a priest in the strictest sense.  The discipline of the priesthood states that celibacy is required for the episcopate and the monastic life but married men can be ordained into the lower orders of priest and deacons if there's an exception.  Once ordained you must stay as you are. If you're single you stay single. If you're married you stay married and do not marry again if you become a widower.

The other rites of the Church follow the exact same standard (even the Orthodox from my understanding). The only difference is in the practice. The Latin Rite has historically been more strict in ordaining only single men while the eastern rites have been less strict.


LH,

What you're saying is true for the most part, but the fact remains that clerical celibacy is what they call "normative" for the Latin Church, while it is not for the Eastern Catholic Churches.

What may cause some confusion in this area is the fact that when Eastern Catholics began migrating west in the 19th Century, Rome allowed (by way of concession) the local Roman Catholic bishops to impose restrictions on Eastern Catholic clergy with regard to celibacy.  The result of this was that married clergy for Eastern Catholics in countries like the United States became the exception, rather than the rule.  This situation began changing after Vatican II, but even today, a higher number of Eastern Catholic celibate priests are serving in the US than in their Eastern homelands.