I'm sorry, I am on vacation, checking in infrequently, and when I write posts on the forum I "think out loud" and wander to and fro.Â For some, that is highly annoying, and I understand that. I seem to have missed your stated intention in my hurried response so I apologize for that.Â For me, I often like to take things to another level or a different place and fork the argument off to all of its interesting subfacets.Â I thought I had already made my point clear above, when I said the Church would never bless a polygymous marriage.Â I'm sorry I didn't elaborate further on that point and instead moved over to the (far more interesting to me) subject of whether polygamy in the OT really was blessed by God.
Let me assure you that you haven't annoyed me in the slightest. And if I have in anyway annoyed you, please accept my apologies. I, too, tend to think of my feet and the issue has possibly grown a little broader than I orginially envisaged.
However, polygamy certainly wasn't blessed or stipulated by God. Polygamy is having multiple partners of both sexes - which would involve bi-sexuality. Polygyny concerns a male taking multiple wives and the OT certainly allows for such a practice in the Levitical Law. As I said, it actually stipulates it.
Without going too much further on the topic, for fear that is likely to become emotional, my question would be; why would the early Church, with its roots in the OT, be so horrified by polygyny? For the Apostles, it would have been something they would have witnessed within their Jewish society; and most certainly amongst their Jewish Christian brethren.
GiC made the point that the Romans objected to such a practice. He's quite right, though I doubt that their view was out of concern for womankind, and the Greeks would be even less inclined to care about the comfort-level of their women.Â
And to say that a polygynous male should be refused entry into the Church would go against the practices of the very early Church.
Could the position of later Church fathers (though such opinions do seem thin on the ground) be largely because of some social overlay, it being an imperialistic "dogma" rather than a spiritual one? The whole concept of insisting - if, in fact, anyone did - that a man walk away from the responsibilities of lesser wives and his children by them sounds utterly cold and immoral. And to deny that they are his responsibilities because he was a pagan when undertaking them, seems an abhorrent side-stepping around the very real misery that the decision of abandonment could bring. At the very least, continued financial support seems in order - if not as wives, but as dependants. No doubt, in the kind of societies that still practice polgyny such cast-off women would be considered "spoilt goods"; their children bastards. They would, in affect, be considered worse than lepers.Â
Please let me make it clear that I am, in no way, advocating the practice of polygyny. This is purely interesting from a historical and social point of view. As ours aren't the only societies in the world and the Church must encounter such cases in far-flung places, it seems a good exercise to mentally step outside our own social boundaries to consider issues that might offend our own inbred sensitivities. In this spirit, it is interesting to consider how modern-day bishops and priests do juggle such a hot potato.
If I have caused any offence by raising this topic, please accept my apologies. I tend to approach controversial topics in a very pragmatic fashion. I often forget that, in this respect - and probably many others, I'm an odd-ball!