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Saturday, April 24, 2010

Catholic Sex Scandals

With the new deluge of news articles about the sex scandals in the Catholic Church, I thought it would be important for me to put forth some resources for putting this in perspective.

First, there are not new cases being reported every day. The news articles which are being written are about cases which happened several decades previously.

Second, it is easy to point the finger at the Catholic rule of celibacy for clergy. If this were the case, then there wouldn't be any cases in other churches. However, this is not true at all. Abusers often take positions of authority, and a clergy member has a lot of respect and trust.
You can find cases of abuse in almost all denominations.

Lutheran
Presbyterian
Baptist
Methodist
Pentecostal
Episcopalian

Some question when other churches are going to institute similar policies as the Catholic Church for handling abuse. How soon policies have been adopted vary by denomination.

Most of the abuse in the Catholic cases tended to be of teenage males, which is not actually pedophilia, although most people think of the abuse as being of small children. Most pedophiles are married, not single.

In fact, Catholic priests are no more likely to be abusers than those of other denominations. What about other professions? Several studies have found the rate of abuse by teachers are much higher than that of clergy.

This article from Psychology Today reaffirms the same points that I wanted to make.


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43 comments:

Kelly said...

Please also notice that I used almost entirely non-Catholic sources.

Barbara C. said...

Gerard Nadal has an awesome post on this topic as well at his blog, Coming Home:
http://gerardnadal.com/

Daughter of Wisdom said...

And your point is?

Dr MikeyMike said...

This post was a long-time coming. Thank you for posting it!

madgebaby said...

Anywhere there are children, people who want to have sexual access to them will seek that access. The church, school, scouts and other activities; it is up to the adults to ensure the safety of the environment.

The distinguishing scandal in the Roman Catholic church is that the hierarchy covered up the abuse, did not believe survivors, and even parents chose to believe the priests and bishops instead of their own children.

Elena said...

I don't think it's "distinguishing" at all. As much as I think bishops blew it on this one, I don't find them to be entirely culpable. The common belief AT THE TIME, was that pedophiles could be treated and cured.

I also don't think it's unusual for authorities to not find victims to be believable or for parents to totally trust adults in positions of authority over their kids.

I think what distinguishes this tragedy is that the mainstream media continue to drag it out every couple of years ago so that we can all take another swing at the dead horse.

Kelly said...

I agree that that was a tragic mistake, madgebaby. However, strict policies have since been put into place to insure it will never happen again, and apology after apology has been given.

I'm not sure about distinguishing, though. I could post articles for you where non-Catholic religiously affiliated schools were found guilty of covering up abuse. For that matter, has our public school system even admitted their problem yet? All the laws passed the lift the statute of limitations exempted them.

DOW- My point is that celibacy is not to blame. I did not anywhere defend the actions of the church. Now, where is your mercy and forgiveness when repentance has been shown?

Dr MikeyMike said...

I suppose apologizing and enacting measures to prevent this from happening again isn't enough for some people, Kelly. Or just hanging scandal over the heads of others is just way too fun.

madgebaby said...

Just this Holy Week the Vatican compared the "persecution" it was experiencing over this issue to the Holocaust. That does not sound the least bit like repentance. I have heard very little in the way of actual apology. To say that "strict policies have since been put into place to insure it will never happen again, and apology after apology has been given" seems a bit sanguine.


Celibacy is not to blame for this; Celibacy can be a powerful charism. The problem is perhaps enforced celibacy as the only way to the priesthood. Generation after generation of sexually naive and even repressed teenagers went to seminary where they were probably "initiated" (as happens in single sex environments like schools, prisons, fraternities) and traumatized. This created an environment where sexual contact between adult men and boys was fetisized and where men who may or may not have been called to celibacy were not allowed an appropriate outlet for their sexuality. Those in control had the same experiences in seminary or were witnesses to them, and attempted to hide their own shame along with the perpetrators. It is a very complicated situation. I'm not sure minimizing it does any one any good at all.

Kelly said...

Just this Holy Week the Vatican compared the "persecution" it was experiencing over this issue to the Holocaust.

Actually, "the Vatican" did not make that comparison. Father Cantalamessa mentioned that during his Good Friday homily, but even then, he isn't the one that made the comparison. From the text of the homily:

I received in this week the letter of a Jewish friend and, with his permission, I share here a part of it.

He said: "I am following with indignation the violent and concentric attacks against the Church, the Pope and all the faithful by the whole world. The use of stereotypes, the passing from personal responsibility and guilt to a collective guilt remind me of the more shameful aspects of anti-Semitism. Therefore I desire to express to you personally, to the Pope and to the whole Church my solidarity as Jew of dialogue and of all those that in the Jewish world (and there are many) share these sentiments of brotherhood. Our Passover and yours undoubtedly have different elements, but we both live with Messianic hope that surely will reunite us in the love of our common Father. I wish you and all Catholics a Good Easter."

More later.

madgebaby said...

I've read the homily--I read it before. It is still reprehensible. Because it is presumably a quote from a Jewish person doesn't make it less reprehensible.

Jews were killed in the Holocaust simply for being Jews. The Roman Catholic church isn't being "persecuted" for being Roman Catholic, it is being widely critiqued for minimizing and denying the reality of the abuse.

I'm really surprised by the tone of sarcasm in some of the comments--there is nothing "fun" about addressing the topic of clergy sexual misconduct, and statistics that show the prevalence of abuse generally don't make the Roman Catholic church any less culpable.

Unfortunately it is very common for parents to refuse to protect their children when they tell that they are abused--that in itself is a form of abuse. It's funny how when we see a movie like "Precious" we are shocked at the mother's behavior but commenters like Elena can with a breezy stroke of the key minimize such behavior when it involves a Roman Catholic priest.

This horse is far, far from dead unfortunately.

Kelly said...

I've read the homily--I read it before. It is still reprehensible. Because it is presumably a quote from a Jewish person doesn't make it less reprehensible.

No, it strikes me as a "my best friend is black/gay/Jewish" comment. It was in poor taste, and I have no idea why he put it in there.

But my point is that Father Cantalamessa is not the Vatican. He's the house preacher, but his homilies are not public statements by the Vatican.

statistics that show the prevalence of abuse generally don't make the Roman Catholic church any less culpable.

I didn't say that the Catholic church was less culpable. I have not in any way tried to defend the past actions, which are generally pretty indefensible. I can understand then-Cardinal Ratzinger agreeing to let a man with one accusation of abuse travel to his diocese to undergo treatment. I cannot understand how Cardinal Law decided moving a serial abuser from parish to parish was acceptable, and I don't know why he ended up with a cushy job in Rome after resigning. I'm not sure why you think I'm "minimizing" the problem.

What it comes down to, is how much is enough? Will the Catholic Church ever apologize enough? Put enough rules into place? Close down enough parishes and schools to pay retribution?

You mention the seminary culture. The seminaries have been visited by the Vatican. New entrance procedures have been put in place. The candidates undergo extensive psychological counseling. The situation in the seminaries is now completely different from the 1950's-1960's when most abusers were attending them.

Daughter of Wisdom said...

Kelly wrote:

"You mention the seminary culture. The seminaries have been visited by the Vatican. New entrance procedures have been put in place. The candidates undergo extensive psychological counseling. The situation in the seminaries is now completely different from the 1950's-1960's when most abusers were attending them."
----------------------------------

So, are you saying that abusers are no longer attending seminary? From what I have read the present sex abuse scandal broke because of ONGOING male prostitution ring within the Vatican itself! Once that was found out, all these other cases of abuse came out of the woodwork.

Looks like a cover-up. Smells like a cover-up.

As for the church trying to treat pedophiles by including them in the clergy....

You know, celibacy is not a cure for pedophilia. It actually makes it worse! Why did the people in the church hierachy think they can 'cure' these priests of their pedophile tendencies? Are they God that they can change people's behaviors? When people are sexually repressed, it is only a matter of time before that nature takes over in an uncontrollable way. These men should not have been accepted or kept in the priesthood in the first place.

We know that no church is perfect, but by hiring men who are married and who have good track records of maintaining a meaningful, faithful married relationship with their wives, will go a long way in reducing the number of the homosexual pedophiles in the ranks of the clergy. Not fool-proof, but a good system.

Elena said...

To say that "strict policies have since been put into place to insure it will never happen again, and apology after apology has been given" seems a bit sanguine.

Well, I think where there is a will, there's a way - so I would never dream of saying it will never happen again because it probably will sometime, somewhere. I don't think Kelly ever said that it will never happen again either. So we can put that strawman down and give it a rest.


I am sure this varies from diocese to diocese however, in the Diocese of Cleveland they have taken it VERY seriously! Any adult who does any work with minor children whatsoever has to take VIRTUS training and keep it up to date. My husband teaches PSR (Sunday School) and had to have a background check and finger prints taken.

Priests have done time.

You can check out the policy, procedure, audits and results here.

Kelly said...

DOW wrote: So, are you saying that abusers are no longer attending seminary? From what I have read the present sex abuse scandal broke because of ONGOING male prostitution ring within the Vatican itself! Once that was found out, all these other cases of abuse came out of the woodwork. . .As for the church trying to treat pedophiles by including them in the clergy....

Dow, I'm not sure how to write this without offending you, but I think you are out of touch with reality. I don't even know where to start.

A-If a person is attending seminary, they aren't a priest yet. So all of these cases of abuse were from priests who were no longer attending seminary.

Are there currently people would would like to abuse children or adolescent boys in seminary? Who knows. But you do need a background test and a battery of psychological exams to enter the seminary.

B-Male prostitution ring at the Vatican--<a href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/8552804.stm>DID NOT INVOLVE PRIESTS!</a> These were lay men. For all I know, they were married. I couldn't find that info in any news stories.

C-You seem to have this crazy idea that men applied to seminary checked the "pedophile" box on their application, and every was jolly good. The church didn't KNOW these men wanted to abuse adolescent boys!!! I mean, what do I even say to that? They weren't trying to cure anyone.

Are you confused about what Elena wrote? Back in the 1970's and 1980's, men accused of sexual crimes were thought by PSYCHOLOGISTS to be able to be cured by therapy. You know, like alcoholism or drug abuse. They went through a program, were declared cured, and off they go. The church wasn't accepting these men into seminary in order to cure them. But sometimes priests who had been found guilty were put into treatment, declared cured, and then reassigned. In my opinion, that excuse is only valid the first time.

madgebaby said...

It is interesting that there is a very common tone in all the apologies made by the Pope about the abuse--it is all sort of a top down scolding of the perpetrators with no real responsibility-taking for the cover up and denial. Sort of a "they need to account for THEIR sins" mantra repeated over and over.

I guess I'm tired of the Pope apologizing for the actions of others also. What would be helpful is a transparent model of accountability that takes into account the best evidence based practice for treating offenders and victims alike. Sexual misconduct prevention training, psychological testing for aspirants to the priesthood, background checks for lay and ordained workers are all good first steps.

Daughter of Wisdom said...

Excuses, excuses, excuses....

So, if the male prostitution ring in the Vatican was done by laymen that makes it okay?

And you are willing to guarantee us that no more pedophile priests graduated from seminary after the 1970's and 1980's?

You know when you take young men with high sex drives, who have never been with a woman, and place them in seminaries, cut off from all romantic female contact, you have the perfect recipe for future sexual deviancy. Many are sure going to break their vows of celibacy sooner or later -whether with male or female or children or a combination of both or all three!

This is what happens when we substitute our own idea of righteousness for the righteousness of God. The church has substituted their own version of righteousness and moral living for the righteousness of God - and is now reaping the consequence of that.

Ah, the wisdom of God in allowing men to pursue romantic interests, then only allowing those men who have been FAITHFUL in their romances/marriages to be pastors/bishops.

Peace.

Kelly said...

Sexual misconduct prevention training, psychological testing for aspirants to the priesthood, background checks for lay and ordained workers are all good first steps.

Thank you, Madge, I appreciate that.

So, if the male prostitution ring in the Vatican was done by laymen that makes it okay?

No, it means that it wasn't the fault of celibacy. I really don't understand why you think that if men who desire boys have s*x with a woman then they won't desire to have s*x with boys. What evidence do you have of that?

Ah, the wisdom of God in allowing men to pursue romantic interests, then only allowing those men who have been FAITHFUL in their romances/marriages to be pastors/bishops.

If this were the case, then other churches would have lower rate of sexual abuse than the Catholic Church. That is not the case. Abuse rates are pretty much equal across denominational lines. I've given you evidence of this already.

In addition, I also gave information which shows that most sex offenders, clergy or not, are already married.

This is what happens when we substitute our own idea of righteousness for the righteousness of God.

I think this could apply to yourself, because you clearly have your mind made up, and facts or the Bible aren't going to stand in your way.

There are many verses in the New Testament which point favorably to remaining unmarried:

Matt 19:12 For there are some eunuchs, which were so born from their mother's womb: and there are some eunuchs, which were made eunuchs of men: and there be eunuchs, which have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven's sake. He that is able to receive it, let him receive it.

Matt 19:29 And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name's sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life.

1 Cor 7:1Now concerning the things whereof ye wrote unto me: It is good for a man not to touch a woman.

And you might notice that Paul then goes on to say that everyone should marry, to avoid fornication.


But the line after that is:

1 Cor 7:6 But I speak this by permission, and not of commandment.

7:7 For I would that all men were even as I myself.

He is giving permission for men to marry for verses 2 though 5. It is not a commandment, because it is better to be as he is, himself. Further down, he writes:

1 Cor 7:27 Art thou bound unto a wife? seek not to be loosed. Art thou loosed from a wife? seek not a wife.

7:32 But I would have you without carefulness. He that is unmarried careth for the things that belong to the Lord, how he may please the Lord:

7:33 But he that is married careth for the things that are of the world, how he may please his wife.

One of the advantages for a celibate priest, is that he can devote himself full time to prayer and ministry, without caring for things of the world, and pleasing his wife.

1 Cor 7:38 So then he that giveth her in marriage doeth well; but he that giveth her not in marriage doeth better.

Elena said...

What would be helpful is a transparent model of accountability that takes into account the best evidence based practice for treating offenders and victims alike. Sexual misconduct prevention training, psychological testing for aspirants to the priesthood, background checks for lay and ordained workers are all good first steps.

Um... you know if one of my sons breaks someone's window, or drives a car into someone else's or performs some other serious transgression I don't think my husband and I would think twice about adding our apologies. I have always been taught that is part of what makes good leadership.

Secondly, if you read the links I provided i think you'll see that accountability and transparency are very much a big part of the church's plan to correct the problem.

So in essence I guess we agree!

Elena said...

I blogged on a lot of this here

I also suggest this book:
Goodbye, Good Men: How Liberals Brought Corruption Into the Catholic Church for further reading on how the whole mess started in the US.

Incidentally, I would also point out that there are married priests in the Catholic Church in other rites - I think Maronite and Melkite. Also there are some priest converts from Anglicanism who were also allowed to become Catholic priests and keep their wives.

Lastly, we have a deaconate in the church where men can be married and be deacons and many of them work along side the priest and perform many of the same duties except for consecrating the Euchrarist and hearing confession. Our deacon was very helpful to me at the time of my mother's passing and visited her every day in the last weeks of her life. I say this to illustrate that it most is possible to serve as a minister in the Catholic church and be married, and it is also possible to serve the celibate life. Both are relevant and good.

Barbara C. said...

I would also like to note that those in the deaconite program also have to undergo psychiatric evaluation.

And Elena is correct about the strict policies to prevent future abuses. Any volunteer who might deal with children has to have a background check and under go special training.

Daughter of Wisdom said...

Kelly wrote:

"There are many verses in the New Testament which point favorably to remaining unmarried."
---------------------------------

None of the verses you quoted spoke 'favorably' of being unmarried.

Matt 19:12 For there are some eunuchs, which were so born from their mother's womb: and there are some eunuchs, which were made eunuchs of men: and there be eunuchs, which have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven's sake. He that is able to receive it, let him receive it.

Is saying that only eunuchs can be celibate.


1 Cor 7:1Now concerning the things whereof ye wrote unto me: It is good for a man not to touch a woman.

You forgot verse 2 where Paul said, "nevertheless to AVOID fornication let every man have his own wife,and let every woman have her own husband." In other words, in order to avoid sexual immorality (fornication), men and women ought to get married.

1 Cor 7:6 But I speak this by permission, and not of commandment.
7:7 For I would that all men were even as I myself.


Paul was not referring to singleness or celibacy here. He was saying that all men should exercise self-control over their sexual desires the same way he was, but if you read on to verse 9, he says, "But if they cannot contain [control themselves], let them marry, for it is better to marry than to burn [with lust]." Words in square brackets added for clarity.

The reason why Paul counselled those who were divorced(loosed) not to seek a wife in verse 27, was because of the 'present distress' the church was under (vs. 26). However, he said also, "but and if thou marry, thou hast not sinned"(vs. 28).

I agree the celibate priest can devote himself to ministry fully without having to care for a wife and family, but I think only the truly celibate should be celibate - and not ask men with normal or hypernormal sex drives to repress those feelings for the sake of the ministry. Paul by the way was not celibate. He practiced abstinence and self-control while he was away from his wife. Paul was married.

1 Cor 7:38 So then he that giveth her in marriage doeth well; but he that giveth her not in marriage doeth better.

Paul was here referring to unmarried men in the church who had girlfriends. Basically he was saying that they should maintain those relationships, but if they got married it was no sin. See verses 36 and 37.

Peace.

Kelly said...

Is saying that only eunuchs can be celibate.

So you think that in the early Church, men were castrating themselves in order to "eunuch's for the Kingdom?"

I think 1 Cor 7 makes it clear that Paul considers practicing self control while maintaining an unmarried state to be best, but he does say that it is not commanded, and people may marry if they struggle with self-control. That is not the same as saying that we must marry.

Some are called to celibacy, and some are not. Requiring celibacy for the priesthood is something that could change, and as Elena has already written, there are exceptions to that rule even today.

The reason why Paul counselled those who were divorced(loosed) not to seek a wife in verse 27, was because of the 'present distress' the church was under (vs. 26). However, he said also, "but and if thou marry, thou hast not sinned"(vs. 28).

Divorced are commanded to remain unmarried in verse 10. Verse 27 concerns those who have never been married. See the virgins introduced in verse 25. But divorce is a bit beyond the scope of the conversation.

I think only the truly celibate should be celibate

Celibate means "unmarried." I am not sure what you consider the meaning of celibate to be, but it would help me out if you would define it.

Paul was married.

So now you consider Clement canonical? If Paul was married, that's fine, but generally Paul is considered unmarried by both Catholic and Protestant.

Daughter of Wisdom said...

Kelly wrote:

"So you think that in the early Church, men were castrating themselves in order to "eunuch's for the Kingdom?"
-----------------------------------

A eunuch is someone with a low sex drive, either naturally, spiritually, or through castration. Remember Jesus says, that some are eunuchs "so born from their mother's womb" (Matthew 19:12). So these people who are born eunuchs are not castrated people, but people born with low sex drive/libido. A spiritual eunuch is someone who loses the sex drive after they become saved. They did not take a vow of celibacy, but they found themselves not desiring sex for a while (this happened to me when I first got saved). Or like Anna the prophetess who got more fulfillment in spiritual matters and the things of God, over sex, and thus DECIDED WITHIN HERSELF never to get married again (Luke 2:37).

If you notice in Matthew 19:12, Jesus did not say that God made anyone into a eunuch, but that "and there be eunuchs WHICH HAVE MADE THEMSELVES EUNUCHS for the kingdom of heaven's sake." This also means some people have taken drastic steps to decrease their sex drive for the sake of the kingdom, such as people with uncontrollable sexual appetites undergoing castration to control their sexual cravings. Jesus says it is better to enter into life "maimed" than have all your body parts intact and end up in hell (Mark 9:43).

Daughter of Wisdom said...

Kelly wrote:

"Celibate means "unmarried." I am not sure what you consider the meaning of celibate to be, but it would help me out if you would define it."
----------------------------------

Kelly, a celibate is someone who swears off marriage, and by extension sex. An unmarried person is not necessarily a celibate unless they have vowed never to get married or never to have sex.

Here is a good wiki article on celibacy.

Peace.

madgebaby said...

I see no transparency, no real accountability. I really don't think we agree on this Elena.

And were I a parent of a kid who did a one time stupid thing an apology and restitution would suffice. He breaks a window, I pay to have it fixed. If I had a child who though my own poor parenting wrecked havoc on a whole community in some way that could not be fixed, I'm not sure an apology would mean much. How can someone apologize for raping and beating children? What would that sound like? Sorry, we didn't know it was so bad? Seriously.

madgebaby said...

As I said on the other post, all the preventative measures like background checks and classes are basic standard of practice for the majority of churches, schools, youth activities. They do nothing to deal with the abuse, and background checks would only catch a small percentage of abusers since juvenile records are not included and only about 10% of offenders get caught.

Elena said...

I'm sure we don't agree. I suppose lynching might be on your agenda?

madgebaby said...

Wow. I don't get the jump from asking for accountability to lynching. That seems a bit hyperbolic to say the least.

The defensiveness doesn't help defend the Roman Catholic church, nor does the persecution complex.

Elena said...

Then perhaps you should stop attacking and persecuting. Maybe that will give you a different result... just sayin.

madgebaby said...

In what way do you feel that asking for accountability and responsibility from those entrusted to the spiritual development of children is attacking or persecuting? You might want to do a bit of research on what real persecution looks like. This is online conversation.

The tone of this conversation has taken a decided turn toward name calling, and that's unfortunate, Elena.

Elena said...

In what way do you feel that asking for accountability and responsibility from those entrusted to the spiritual development of children is attacking or persecuting?

It's not.

On the other hand constantly criticizing the links and comments Kelly, Barbara C, myself and others present to you as not good enough and inadequate and then inferring that we are somehow ridiculing the victims and supporting the cover up is ludicrous and insulting.



You might want to do a bit of research on what real persecution looks like. This is online conversation.

Persecution takes many shapes and forms and happens in various degrees. Calling this a form of persecution is spot on. But don't feel bad madgebaby - persecuting Catholics and the Catholic church seems to be commonly accepted and politically correct in the common culture.

The tone of this conversation has taken a decided turn toward name calling, and that's unfortunate, Elena.

I haven't called you any names. I am referring to your words and rhetoric.

madgebaby said...

I guess I could say that your are being defensive and you could get increasingly defensive about being called defensive all day, but that really isn't illuminating this topic.

I'd suggest that if you're not up to real dialogue on controversial topics you ought to keep making fun of Candy and her website. I think she's silly too, that's what brought me here. But I was hoping that this would be a real and earnest conversation, and it just isn't.

Kelly said...

I am not going to have time to reply to everyone I want to reply to right now, but I'm going to chip away at a few.

First, I would like to say that I think Madge has been nothing but polite, and she is doing exactly what I hoped someone would do when I put up the first article--come by and ask all the same questions that we see over and over again in all the news articles. This way we can respond to them, and I'll have these threads to refer to when it comes up again in the future.

Madge has said positive things about celibacy, and acknowledged that the church has apologized and taken actions, which is more than she started out acknowledging. I really can't ask more than that.

I don't remember you commenting on this blog previously, Madge. Did you come over from Sweeping the Cobwebs?

madgebaby said...

I did come from Sweeping the Cobwebs. I have followed Candy for a while and I was glad to find your website. I'm not sure that my attraction to Candy and her ilk is entirely healthy, and I'm neither fundamentalist protestant nor Roman Catholic but I'm definitely not on her list of the saved (if only because if I all those carbs I'd weigh 400 lbs ;)

Thanks for the feedback; my intention was not to attack anyone personally and did not think even after reading my posts again I had done so. I think it takes some courage to enter into this conversation in the first place.

BTW, child sexual abuse has nothing to do with any appropriate adult expression of sexuality including celibacy. Being married sure doesn't stop people from engaging in all sorts of sexual sin, and I know plenty of people who use healthy celibacy to enhance their life and ministry. I think that was your original point, and it is entirely correct. Most convicted abusers self identify as heterosexual.

madgebaby said...

and are involved with adult women when they abuse children. I didn't finish that sentence :)

Kelly said...

This also means some people have taken drastic steps to decrease their sex drive for the sake of the kingdom, such as people with uncontrollable sexual appetites undergoing castration to control their sexual cravings. Jesus says it is better to enter into life "maimed" than have all your body parts intact and end up in hell (Mark 9:43).

I think voluntarily undergoing castration in the 1st century was probably a life risking undertaking.

Self-control is a gift of the Holy Spirit. We are warned against drunkenness, which is lack of self-control in drink. We are warned against gluttany, which is lack of self-control with food.

From the earliest Christians, people understood the verses which I quoted to mean that some have a special call to remain unmarried, and practice self-control in this area. St. Anthony wandered out into the desert.

This special call is not forced on anyone in the priesthood. If man feels called to service in the church, but not to remain celibate, then there are plenty of other avenues for service. The seminary process is long, so there is plenty of opportunity for discern the call.

Moonshadow said...

I appreciate madgebaby's thoughtful, well-written comments very much. BCP. ;-)

----------------------------

Hillary wrote:

Paul was married.

and linked to a chapter of Eusebius' Church History at the venerable Christian Classics Ethereal Library.

I'm willing to give some regard to the Fathers' opinion, but Clement is in the minority among them. The scholarly footnotes on Eusebius support the general assumption that Paul was a widower:

"1 Cor. ix. 5; but this by no means proves that Paul was married, and 1 Cor. vii. 8 seems to imply the opposite, though the words might be used if he were a widower. [ ... ] Clement is the only Father who reports that Paul was married; many of them expressly deny it; e.g. Tertullian, Hilary, Epiphanius, Jerome, &c. The authority of these later Fathers is of course of little account. But Clement’s conclusion is based solely upon exegetical grounds, and therefore is no argument for the truth of the report."

Besides, how could Paul have been the heartthrob of Thecla (of popular legend) if he was "taken."

madgebaby said...

Thanks Moonshadow! This has been an interesting conversation.

I'll leave the celibacy conversation for others, but thanks for posting the Thecla link--what a great story that is! I haven't read that in a while.

Daughter of Wisdom said...

Well, now that you guys have beaten(?) my proverbial bu*t, LOL! It is time to move on to more interesting matters.

Teresa, that story about Paul and Thecla. Is it really true or it is just legend? Was she the one he was referring to in Phillipians 4:3?

"And I ask you, my true partner, to help these two women, for they worked hard with me in telling others the Good News. They worked along with Clement and the rest of my co-workers, whose names are written in the Book of Life" (Phillipians 4:3, NLT).

Especially since it was the practice in the early church for women of the faith to teach other women (Titus 2:3-5).

madgebaby said...

I love the part when Paul won't baptize her--I forget why--and she throws herself in a body of water, baptizing herself in effect. Theologically it doesn't make a lot of sense, since one can't really baptize oneself, but it is a great legend.

Daughter of Wisdom said...

I mean, if anyone should know if Paul had a woman it would be Clement. Clement is also mentioned in Phillipians 4:3.

"And I ask you, my true partner, to help these two women, for they worked hard with me in telling others the Good News. They worked along with Clement and the rest of my co-workers, whose names are written in the Book of Life" (Phillipians 4:3, NLT

Daughter of Wisdom said...

Madgebaby wrote:

"I love the part when Paul won't baptize her--I forget why--and she throws herself in a body of water, baptizing herself in effect. Theologically it doesn't make a lot of sense, since one can't really baptize oneself, but it is a great legend."
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Madge, I am beginning to like this 'legend' a lot. It might sound crazy, but people of God have been known to do crazy things, and even more crazy things. LOL! We are well-known for our antics as well,you know. LOL!