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Author Topic: Mandatory Clerical Celibacy  (Read 7838 times) Average Rating: 0
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Brendan03
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« on: May 20, 2004, 01:00:52 PM »

Just creating a thread to make this discussion move here so we can stick to convert issues in the convert forum.

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« Reply #1 on: May 20, 2004, 01:08:52 PM »

" can understand what you are saying, to a point, but it is still not a good argument against celibacy. You can go to a phycologist or a therapist, or your married friends, for marital advice! Why do you need a priest to tell you how to deal with your marriage and your kids? Perhaps his idea of how to raise a kid or to deal with an argument is totally different than yours."

No, there are spiritual issues that arise in connection with being a husband and a parent and it is best for the spiritual advice relating to this to come from a married priest.  I strongly disagree with you here, Ben.

"I think Orthodoxy puts too much emphasis on priests having to be married."

We have some non-monastic celibate priests in parishes as well.  The norm is for parish priests to be married, both here and *thoughout* the Orthodox world for more than a millenium.  It works, pastorally.

"can not downplay celibacy, and its central role in the life of the Church"

Who is down playing it?  We have our monks, we have our bishops, we have our parish priests who are celibate.  We accept that as a part of the life of the church, but we also expect that most of our parish priests will be married, just like most of their parishioners are.  Celibacy certainly has a role in the Church, but so does marriage, and being married is not incompatible with being a priest.  By outlawing married men from being ordained to the priesthood, it is Catholicism that has devalued marriage.  Orthodoxy has both celibates and non-celibates, whereas Roman Catholicism is limited to celibates, and that seems to me to be far more imbalanced and distorted.

"1) Allowing convert married clergy to become RC priests, while cradle RCs can't is a double standard that is completely illogical - it's not just a "different custom/tradition" or for pastoral reasons."

It is true.  This can also be said for the Eastern Catholics who, at least in some cases, ordain married men (although more rare in North America and Western Europe because Western Catholicism is concerned that this creates an issue in their own churches relating to the prevailing Latin discipline).




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« Reply #2 on: May 20, 2004, 01:09:52 PM »

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It is I think inaccurate to say the Orthodox Church is "run" by celibate men. Granted the officers of the Church might be almost exclusively monastic -- but the head of the Church is Christ and the Church itself is the Parishioners.


Christ is the head of the Church, but here on earth Christ has given us bishops to run the Church. Bishops are in charge of the Church, for practical and spiritual reasons. Even Protestants understand the necessity of a bishop, and many pentecostal Churches have bishops these days.

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Individually Parishes are administartively run by the Parishioners.

Of course, but if the Bishop wished he could disolve the parish council, and run the parish directly, I have personally seen this happen.

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The Parishioners very much have a say in administrative matters.


Of course, and this is the way it should be!


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Unlike Catholicism, Orthodox Parishioners are not subject to the administrative edicts of the local Bishop.


I believe you are incorrect here. From what Orthodox laymen and priests have told me....what the bishops says.... goes. You seem to want to downplay the role of the bishop in the Church. I agree that there are differences between the Catholic Bishop and the Orthodox Bishop, and their administrative roles, but you seem to stress this too much.

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and very much unlike the RCC there is no shortage of Orthodox priests.

Ummm..there is a shortage of Orthodox priests in some areas, its not as bad as it is in the RCC, though. Also remember the RCC has a much larger flock to tend to than the Orthodox Church does.

Quote
Again this goes back to my point about the inheerant weakness of an entirely celibate priesthood -- autocratically ruling over the Parishioners in matters that are not just liturgical -- but also administrative.

Don't celibate bishops run the diocese? Don't they run the parishes? Every Orthodox priest I have met with has stressed total obediance to the bishop.
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« Reply #3 on: May 20, 2004, 01:17:25 PM »

And I wonder, what about those Priests called to live a celibate life, but are not called to be a monastic. Where do they go Spartacus? You said those who want to live a celibate life enter a monastery, but not all are called to live in monastic community. You must realize that there are celibate parish priests in Orthodoxy.
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« Reply #4 on: May 20, 2004, 01:23:56 PM »

"From what Orthodox laymen and priests have told me....what the bishops says.... goes."  

Yes, this is *generally* true.  In North America, there is often little interference from the Bishop with what is happening in the parishes unless there are specific concerns, but if the Bishop chooses to intervene he of course can and this is generally to be respected (unless, of course, he is off the reservation, so to speak, but that is a rare thing).  That's where things went awry in Ben Lomond, the protestant converts there forgot that the Bishop was in charge, regardless of whether they liked what he was ordering them to do.

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« Reply #5 on: May 20, 2004, 03:35:07 PM »

Yes we have one in our Parish who helps out with the Ukrainian Liturgy...he has the most beautiful voice....

But the effect of total celibacy within a priesthood eventually leads to what the RCC is experiencing today.

Let's see I think the last story I read was legal settlements are expected to cost the RCC somehwere between $500 million and $1 billion over the next few years here in the States. I know in my state my former RC diocese is now in contempt of court and there is strong suspicion that they knowing moved a priest --now a convicted sex offender -- from one assignment in a Catholic school to another assignment where he worked with children....not to mention Cardinal Law....

What is worse than the crime, as horrible as it is, is how the RCC has worked over the years more to protect their priestly reputation then the children who are in the Church's care. :'(

The RCC also admittedly has a very high percentage of priests who are homosexual...and this too gives the RCC a priesthood that is even more out of touch with its parishioners....

I am not opposed to celibacy or celibate homosexuals...in fact I think a homosexual inclination should require one to be celbate....my whole point is that I do not think required Celibacy of the entire RC priesthood is a good thing. It is I think a huge factor in the current crissis in the RCC that the RC Bishops are deficient in addressing. Itis causing more harm that good.

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« Reply #6 on: May 20, 2004, 03:53:13 PM »

I believe that celibacy is a private issue between a Man and his God. Period. It should not be a requirement for any office in the Church.

True - a very small number can live a celibate life, but if you read the Philokolia, you run up against many writings relating to the problems that the monks had resisting sexual temptations. And I believe that THIS IS why the role of WOMEN in the church was minimized. The monks and Bishops just dealt with the temptation by making it one big "GOOD OL BOYS" club.

However --- A Bishop's life MUST be the Church. They travel constantly and are called to deal with issues 24 hours a day. So I think it would be difficult for a fairly young man
(i.e. < 60) to be a Bishop due to issues realting to his wife and children.

So, I offer no solution.

Glad I could help.   Grin
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« Reply #7 on: May 20, 2004, 04:19:51 PM »



>"But the effect of total celibacy within a priesthood eventually leads to what the RCC is experiencing today."<

Perhaps, but I think it has much more to do with the liberal reforms of the post Vat II era and the totaly liberalization of morality in the west.

>"Let's see I think the last story I read was legal settlements are expected to cost the RCC somehwere between $500 million and $1 billion over the next few years here in the States. I know in my state my former RC diocese is now in contempt of court and there is strong suspicion that they knowing moved a priest --now a convicted sex offender -- from one assignment in a Catholic school to another assignment where he worked with children....not to mention Cardinal Law...."<

Very sad, doesn't shock me though, or make we not want to be Catholic, for I understand that the Church will always be full of sinful humans who constantly fail and miss the mark.

>"The RCC also admittedly has a very high percentage of priests who are homosexual...and this too gives the RCC a priesthood that is even more out of touch with its parishioners...."<

I do agree that many Catholic priests are celibate homosexuals. Why? I'm not sure, I think that these young men are those who didn't want to be a part of the anti-God homosexual lifestyle, and wanted to stay true to God amd Church teaching, so they became priests.

>"I am not opposed to celibacy or celibate homosexuals...in fact I think a homosexual inclination should require one to be celbate...."<

This is correct and the teaching of the Church, to my knowledge.

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« Reply #8 on: May 20, 2004, 08:48:55 PM »

I believe that celibacy is a private issue between a Man and his God. Period. It should not be a requirement for any office in the Church.

True - a very small number can live a celibate life, but if you read the Philokolia, you run up against many writings relating to the problems that the monks had resisting sexual temptations. And I believe that THIS IS why the role of WOMEN in the church was minimized. The monks and Bishops just dealt with the temptation by making it one big "GOOD OL BOYS" club.

However --- A Bishop's life MUST be the Church. They travel constantly and are called to deal with issues 24 hours a day. So I think it would be difficult for a fairly young man
(i.e. < 60) to be a Bishop due to issues realting to his wife and children.

So, I offer no solution.

Glad I could help.   Grin


I agree with this, except the part about women's part in the Church having been minimized. I don't believe that is the case.

Anyway, I am not a big proponent of mandatory celibacy for anyone in the Church.

I realize this is a disciplinary issue, and I accept the Church's wisdom and authority.

Just the same, I think it is pretty clear that mandatory celibacy was not the way things were among the Apostles and very early Fathers.

Celibacy for those who are called to it.

Holy Matrimony for those who are condemned to it . . . er, ah, blessed with it.  Wink
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« Reply #9 on: May 20, 2004, 10:37:40 PM »

I would agree, Linus, that the Apostles did not have mandatory celibacy considering Peter's mother-in-law getting healed and all.

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« Reply #10 on: May 21, 2004, 09:05:14 AM »

Dear Spartacus:

Since, somehow, you are still interested in the "welfare and well-being" of the Catholic Church in the U.S., please refer to the "state of the Church" in 2003.

Is the current number of Catholic priests, as it relates to clerical celibacy, and religious and lay volunteers insufficient to minister to the needs of the faithful?

The Catholic Church in the U.S., 2003:

____________________________________________

63.4 million Catholics (23% of the U.S. population)

19,081 parishes (44 new parishes in 2002)

43,634 priests / 5,499 brothers / 73,316 sisters

585 Catholic hospitals treated 83.9 million patients in 2002

7,142 elementary schools and 1,374 high schools, with over 2.6 million students enrolled

230 Catholic colleges and universities with a total of 720,000 students
____________________________________________

For a detailed look, please cf:

http://www.usccb.org/comm/cip.htm

Then, let's discuss if and/or how the Catholic Church is failing or is falling short compared to the Orthodox Church(es) in the U.S.

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« Reply #11 on: May 21, 2004, 11:08:59 AM »

"Faithful?"

What do you mean by that? Do you honestly believe there are 63,000,000 "faithful" Roman Catholic Parishioners in the US....attending Mass weekly, regularly going to confession, regularly giving as much money as possible to the Church?

Why is there such a fascination and focus with numbers in the RCC in the US? Persoanly I was sickened every time in a homilee Parish budgets, contirbutions, and other earthly things were the topic -- what does that have to do with worship? How does that help us forcus on Christ before receiving the Eucharist?

Many of us who have left the Roman Catholic Church have done so because we came to view it not so much as THE Church, but rather we have come to view it more as a social and political organization --- Given the US Bishop's hesitancy to discipline apostate RC politicians despite very strong Vatican guidence to do so would certainly re-inforce that view -- so in that regard size means nothing except perhaps to re-inforce this view of the RCC in the United state as being a hypocritical Chruch that is more of a social/political organization. If Christians are expected to point to numbers as an indication of righteousness -- then we would all still be pagans.

Mandatory celibacy is not based in scripture or Apostolic tradition...if it were Orthodox would abide by it and so would have the Roman Catholic Chruch from the very beginning -- rather than in the 12 th Century......I state this as a former apologist for the RCC

Also ---how many of those priests are working in ministry? No doubt a large percentage of that number is retired and/or working in administrative capacities. How many seminarians are there who will be ordained? Where are all those nuns?Huh? It has been a long time since I have seen one at any Mass -- how many of that number are retired (Nuns do tend to outlive other women by many years). The only Roman Nun I have met even close to my old (young) age of 37 is actually a former Nun -- she's now Orthodox! The others I have seen in the last 20 years all looked to be geriatrics.

Amadeus...I fully appreciate your comfort level in being a parishioner of the most organized, largest Church in the history of Christendom....but Christ tells us in the Gospels He will judge us by more than just our works....and doing great works in His name alone is no guarantee of knowing Him or of He knowing us. Smiley
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Ben
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« Reply #12 on: May 21, 2004, 01:48:16 PM »

I am wondering.....Orthodox monks and Bishops are celibate, and Orthodox couples must remain celibate for about 2/3 of year, when you take into account all of the fasts, when communion is recievec, etc. I do wonder, how do you view this mandatory celibacy that is required of Orthodox couples for almost 2/3 of the year?
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« Reply #13 on: May 21, 2004, 02:01:44 PM »

Quote
am wondering.....Orthodox monks and Bishops are celibate, and Orthodox couples must remain celibate for about 2/3 of year, when you take into account all of the fasts, when communion is recievec, etc. I do wonder, how do you view this mandatory celibacy that is required of Orthodox couples for almost 2/3 of the year?

We would say it comes out to more like one half of the year (approx 180 days, if I'm not mistaken), but that' s not the point.  The point of celibacy, from both RC and EO povs, is to spend time away from sexual activity, using said time to focus on God.  Different levels of involvement with the Church require different amouts of "focus time," as it were; couples (like my wife and I) simply use each type of time to do what we should do.

We as Orthodox couples are called, not to be monastic, but rather ascetic; it's for that reason that we are called away from sex for a time, but not completely.  This also helps us to remember that sex is primarily (though not exclusively!) for procreation instead of just pleasure.
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« Reply #14 on: May 21, 2004, 02:37:19 PM »

I do wonder, how do you view this mandatory celibacy that is required of Orthodox couples for almost 2/3 of the year?

Based upon my exp. and the other Orthodox couples I know, (GOA, OCA) I believe very few Priests expect this to be followed.

[quickly ducking]

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« Reply #15 on: May 21, 2004, 02:39:29 PM »

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I do wonder, how do you view this mandatory celibacy that is required of Orthodox couples for almost 2/3 of the year?


Being pedantic is my day job and I love it, so...

Of course I know what you meant but celibacy means not being married. You meant abstinence from sex.
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« Reply #16 on: May 21, 2004, 02:47:44 PM »

I do wonder, how do you view this mandatory celibacy that is required of Orthodox couples for almost 2/3 of the year?
I think you are confusing abstenace with celibacy!!!

HUGE difference yes?
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« Reply #17 on: May 21, 2004, 02:58:57 PM »

One other thing Ben regarding Abstinence and fasting....

As a Roman Catholic who was exploring Orthodoxy oneof the things that struck me was how suchmatters as fasting are viewed. Where I can remember as a young school boy having my hand cut with the metal strip of a ruler by a Nun for grabbing a bite from my sack lunch before going Holy Communion (I still have the scar...and a few weeks later all of sudden with no explanation fasting was no longer required Huh)

Orthodoxy views such matters more as ideals. Not a check list. We have some older Parsihioners who during the last days of Lent before Pascha -- eat absolutely no food whatsoever! This is their personal choice....and no big deal is made about it by anyone.

Celibacy I think is much the same -- a persoanl choice to take ideals to a level beyond what the human body was made for -- all in an effort to deny passions and lay aside earthly cares.
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« Reply #18 on: May 21, 2004, 03:02:28 PM »

+ñ-Ä-ü+¦ +¦+¦+¦-ä+» +++¦-é +¦-Ç+¦-ä+»+++¦-ä+¦+¦ ++ +Æ+¦+++¦+¦+++»++, +¦+¦++ ++-Ç++-ü-Ä +++¦ +¦+¦-ä+¦+++¼+¦-ë... +++«-Ç-ë-é -ä++-Ã  +¦+++¡-ê+¦+++¦ -ä++++ +Ö-ë-â+«-Ã¥;  Huh


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« Reply #19 on: May 21, 2004, 03:07:30 PM »


Reminds me of a story an Orthodox priest friend of mine once told about Bishop Kiprian (OCA - Memory Eternal) while he was a student at St Tikhon's and Vladyka was his teacher.

The discussion in class once was about serving the Divine Liturgy on a daily basis and how that affected the rules about a priest abstaining from sexual relations prior to serving the Liturgy.

The question was - 'Vladyka, if I choose to serve Liturgy on a daily basis, how can I ever have a sex life with my wife?'  Bishop Kiprian thought for a minute, and replied in his thick Russian accent -

'My son.  Vhy you tink da good Lord make the afternoons for?'

That's a classic if I ever heard one!

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« Reply #20 on: May 21, 2004, 03:15:46 PM »


Reminds me of a story an Orthodox priest friend of mine once told about Bishop Kiprian (OCA - Memory Eternal) while he was a student at St Tikhon's and Vladyka was his teacher.

The discussion in class once was about serving the Divine Liturgy on a daily basis and how that affected the rules about a priest abstaining from sexual relations prior to serving the Liturgy.

The question was - 'Vladyka, if I choose to serve Liturgy on a daily basis, how can I ever have a sex life with my wife?'  Bishop Kiprian thought for a minute, and replied in his thick Russian accent -

'My son.  Vhy you tink da good Lord make the afternoons for?'

That's a classic if I ever heard one!

Orthodoc

Lol!

That one's worth remembering!  Grin
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« Reply #21 on: May 21, 2004, 05:16:19 PM »

Ben,

Quote
And I wonder, what about those Priests called to live a celibate life, but are not called to be a monastic. Where do they go Spartacus? You said those who want to live a celibate life enter a monastery, but not all are called to live in monastic community. You must realize that there are celibate parish priests in Orthodoxy.

I'm curious who these men are ("called to be celibate priests, but not monastics.")  Or at least if you think there are throngs of them.  I don't think there are.

Virginity is an undervalued virtue in our days, but was highly prized by the Fathers.  While chaste, married love is not sinful, still the Apocalypse lionizes those holy martyrs who were also virgins by referring to their state as being one "undefiled" by sleeping with a spouse.  While it is obviously not sinful to have relations with one's wife (just as there is no sin in enjoying a sumptuous banquet so long as it's not taking food from others nor gluttonous), in the sense the Scriptures intend they do "defile" - hence why the Church traditionally expects all people (including laymen) to fast from both food and marital relations in the time prior towards receiving Holy Communion.  It is a question of people being put in the best state, given our fallen tendencies, to receive the medicine of immortality.

While in Catholicism there is a tendency to make a clear distinction between the monastic vocation (or the celibate-secular one as they identify it in the case of their priests) and that of the layman, in Orthodoxy this distinction is not so clear.  There is not one evangelical perfection for the Monk, while another for the layman.  It is ultimatly a question of how far one is willing to go, in slaying the passions and making the business of saving their soul the primary occupation of their life.  This is why it is not uncommon in the lives of married saints, to see couples eventually agreeing to abstain from the use of their married rights permanently, particularly once they're through having children (or as was surprisingly common at one time, agreeing to separate and finish their lives in monasteries.)

With this said, a life of avowed, strict chastity is only part of any attempt to go "all out" (as monastics do) in the journey towards God.  I also think that for most people, such a life is best served with other supports which exist as parts of the life of a monk.  Thus, yes the monk has no wife - but he also is poor, does not eat meat, eats sparingly in general, and save for those properly desposed, lives with the support of his abbot and his brothers.  All of these things, make the life of avowed virginity a stable one.

I'm not saying that there are not those who can't "handle" living a celibate life outside of a monastic context (I'm sure there have been plenty of parish Priests, for example, whose wives have died while they were still relatively young) - but I have my doubts that it is so common a thing that it should elicit some crisis in the Orthodox conscience that they're leaving a lot of people with no place to go.

If an Orthodox Christian feels he has a calling to minister in the Altar, but does not want to marry (or enter a monastery), I'd have to wonder "why?"  Is it that he has an abbhorence of marriage, or some scruple about it?  He doesn't like people in general cramping his style, or women in particular?  Or is it that he'd rather dedicate himself fully to the persuing of God, and not have to be mindful of ties to family and normal social expectations?  If it is the last one, that sounds in principle like a monk...hence I would have a hard time understanding why he wouldn't want to enter a monastery.  As for the other reason, they seem to denote problems, not things that should be facilitated by the Church.

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« Reply #22 on: May 21, 2004, 05:28:49 PM »

Tom,

Quote
I believe that celibacy is a private issue between a Man and his God. Period. It should not be a requirement for any office in the Church.

Well, the prudent wisdom of the Church seems to have concluded otherwise.

Quote
True - a very small number can live a celibate life, but if you read the Philokolia, you run up against many writings relating to the problems that the monks had resisting sexual temptations. And I believe that THIS IS why the role of WOMEN in the church was minimized. The monks and Bishops just dealt with the temptation by making it one big "GOOD OL BOYS" club.

...or we could always give the Church the benefit of the doubt... Smiley

I'm wondering what roles you think the ladies were excluded from.   Of course one could say "deaconess", but this would be an irrelevent example, at least to the point you're making - they were assistants in the ministration of the Church towards women (in particular at Baptisms, which at one time were done in the nude), and towards families and the assitance of missions, and did not have a sacerdotal mission like deacons or higher degrees of the Priesthood do.  If anything, the presence of those deaconesses actually would have put space between laywomen and the Priests in some contexts, not the contrary.

Other roles women got booted out of or somehow disenfranchised?  I cannot think of any.  According to St.Paul women are not supposed to speak during the liturgical functions, hence why canonically the phenomenon of women singing in the Churches is an innovation.  Look carefully - most choirs has they now exist in Churches have no canonical standing, and are not populated by tonsured persons; which would at one time have only been males.  This has become something of a dead letter, but it betrays that at the very least modern mixed choirs are "a-canonical" (have no standing as far as being an official, liturgical office of the Church.)  Interestingly, this remained the same with the Roman Catholics well after their schism with the Church - however there to, it became something of a dead letter, most "choirs" being simply laymen leading congregational singing.

My point is, if anything, antiquity shows (if anything) that there was more "exclusion" (if that's how one is determined to characterize such distinctions), not less.

Seraphim
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« Reply #23 on: May 21, 2004, 06:08:00 PM »

Tom,Well, the prudent wisdom of the Church seems to have concluded otherwise....or we could always give the Church the benefit of the doubt... Smiley

Not something I excel at.

I'm wondering what roles you think the ladies were excluded from.

I went back and read my post and I should not have said "been minimized" because you're right; I really can't think of any.
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« Reply #24 on: May 21, 2004, 06:51:13 PM »

I did not mean to confuse celibacy and abstience, I *do* understand the difference.

I was just wondering how you all felt about his mandatory abstience for 2/3 of year, and yes it is about 2/3 when you take into account the fasts and the days when the couple recieve communion. However, its unfortunante that this doesn't really seem to be mandatory, as Tome pointed out, and as I expected, few priests expect their parishoneers to abstain so often.

So many Orthodox Christians have told me how their Church is the ancient Christian faith and that it is true to the canons and the ancient Christian traditions, but from pews and kneeling on Sundays and during Paschaltide to fasts being dismissed and ignored , I do wonder if, Orthodoxy is holding fast to the traditions and canons.
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« Reply #25 on: May 22, 2004, 12:04:43 AM »

So many Orthodox Christians have told me how their Church is the ancient Christian faith and that it is true to the canons and the ancient Christian traditions, but from pews and kneeling on Sundays and during Paschaltide to fasts being dismissed and ignored , I do wonder if, Orthodoxy is holding fast to the traditions and canons.

Orthodox Christianty holds more true to traditions than the RCC...as far as fasts and feasts...

From a practical standpoint how is the Chruch supposed to insure Parishioners are holding true? Are you disappointed parishioners are not grilled on their adherences every week? Again...as a lay person the fasts and feasts are ideals....In our modern world can you imagine working, traveling and rearing children while still adhering to the fasts 100%? Yes it can be done. It should be strived for......but we are Orthodox Christians afetrall and not Orthodox Jews...Our faith invloves much more than what do or do not eat.

There are in fact many parishioners in my parish who do adhere to the fasting very strictly...but unlike in Catholicism such people do not make a big deal out of it. Orthodox do not put ashes on their foreheads for the same reason -- Christ taught us to wash our faces and comb our hair when we fast.

And when it comes to fasting and decidng how strictly one wants to adhere to this, one should discuss this with his/her priest for practical guidance. If your children are grown, your job is not particularly physically exerting and you are in good health and want to adhere strictly...then maybe this strict adherence is for you.
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« Reply #26 on: May 22, 2004, 12:57:22 AM »

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Orthodox Christianty holds more true to traditions than the RCC...as far as fasts and feasts...

And Catholicism hold more true to the traditions than the Protestants. I am looking for the true Church that adheres and holds true 100% to the true faith and the apostolic tradtions. Also you must understand that there was never was a time when East and West were exactly alike in fasts and feasts. Both developed different pracitces over the years, which some argue led to the schism.

Quote
From a practical standpoint how is the Chruch supposed to insure Parishioners are holding true? Are you disappointed parishioners are not grilled on their adherences every week? Again...as a lay person the fasts and feasts are ideals....In our modern world can you imagine working, traveling and rearing children while still adhering to the fasts 100%? Yes it can be done. It should be strived for......but we are Orthodox Christians afetrall and not Orthodox Jews...Our faith invloves much more than what do or do not eat.


I just find is absurd for Orthodoxy to have rules and not enforce or follow them. Its not that big of a deal, and it doesn't make we want to stop learning about Orthodoxy. But my God if the canons forbid kneeling on Sundays and during paschaltide, and require standing during DL, why can't Orthodox jurisdictions build churches without pews, tell their parishneers not to kneel, etc.?

I agree that each person must work out their fasting with their spiritual father, but the canons of the Church should be closely followed in all things.

Quote
There are in fact many parishioners in my parish who do adhere to the fasting very strictly...but unlike in Catholicism such people do not make a big deal out of it. Orthodox do not put ashes on their foreheads for the same reason -- Christ taught us to wash our faces and comb our hair when we fast.


I may be mistaken, but I believe that the tradition of recieving ashes on the head during lent and in repentence pre-dated the great schism in the west.
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« Reply #27 on: May 22, 2004, 02:43:49 AM »

And Catholicism hold more true to the traditions than the Protestants. I am looking for the true Church that adheres and holds true 100% to the true faith and the apostolic tradtions. Also you must understand that there was never was a time when East and West were exactly alike in fasts and feasts. Both developed different pracitces over the years, which some argue led to the schism.

Father John Matusak at www.oca.org has a question in the Q7A sectione when he is asked "Is the Orthodox Chruch closer to Lutheranism or ROman Catholicism?" His answere was

"Lutheranism and Roman Cathlicism are closer to each other than they are to Orthodox Christianity"

Many thing sled up to the schism...as a history student though...I think it began when the Papcy fell into chaos in the 9th century and a Pope was installed by force of arms by Charles the Great (Charlemagne). As a reward the Pope crowned Charles as the "Holy Roman Emperor". This marked the nbeginning I think of the RCC focusing muych more on earthly matters of politics, money and power. It cul,minated when a popeles Vatican excommunicated the Orthodox Church 3 centuries later.

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I just find is absurd for Orthodoxy to have rules and not enforce or follow them.

One thing a RC exploring Orthodoxy quickly learns is that is that in Orthodoxy there are few "rules" per se as we undertsand them to be in the RCC. There are though Ideals...Guidelines...Whereas in RC salvation is seen as a checklist of sacrements, pennance and prayers...Orthodoxy views salvation as a work in progress.

Quote
I may be mistaken, but I believe that the tradition of recieving ashes on the head during lent and in repentence pre-dated the great schism in the west.


I think the ritual of putting ashes on the forehead was one of the formal complaints made by the Orthodox on their list of complaints about the ROman Chruch when they began seeing all the crusaders coming through. Reghardless, this ritual is in direct vilation of what Christ taught about fasting -- yet it is viewed almost as a sacrement in the RCC.
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« Reply #28 on: May 22, 2004, 03:12:52 AM »

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yet it is viewed almost as a sacrement in the RCC.


 Cheesy whatever

Honestly, please come up with something better if you are going to attack the RCC.
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« Reply #29 on: May 22, 2004, 03:46:37 AM »

It was not meant as an attack.

Among Catolics the ashes on Ash Wednesday are almost a scarement...Just like you are not supposed to wash off the Chrism after being confirmed you are not supposed to intentionally wash off the ashes....

Yet what does Christ teach about how we should appear when we fast?

The Ashes -- Like Mandatory Celibacy of the Priesthood -- are well intentioned -- but have no basis in scripture or Apostolic tradition.
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« Reply #30 on: May 22, 2004, 07:37:56 AM »

"I just find is absurd for Orthodoxy to have rules and not enforce or follow them."

This is ironic, because it is Catholicism, not Orthodoxy, that refuses to enforce its own discipline at the chalice.  And I'm not talking about the politician issue, I'm talking about the numerous Protestants who receive communion in Catholic Churches.  I have seen it with my own eyes.  I was at a Catholic funeral a few years ago and there were a lot of my Protestant colleagues in attendance and I watched them, one by one, go up and receive communion.  No enforcement whatsoever by the priest.   That simply does not happen in Orthodoxy.

As for the "fasting rules" not being enforced, that's because they are not rules, they are guidelines.  If you do not fully fast, you commit no sin.  One's own fasting regimen is a good topic for discussion with one's spiritual father, keeping in mind that the fasting guidelines proposed by the tradition of the Church are a good benchmark of where to aim with one's personal fastng regimen.
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« Reply #31 on: May 22, 2004, 10:20:09 AM »

Interesting.  Anglicans recieve ashes to remind of our mortality, but we get to wash them off.  Via Media.

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« Reply #32 on: May 22, 2004, 06:14:14 PM »

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This is ironic, because it is Catholicism, not Orthodoxy, that refuses to enforce its own discipline at the chalice.  And I'm not talking about the politician issue, I'm talking about the numerous Protestants who receive communion in Catholic Churches.

This is also absurd, and this is just another reason I attend a Traditional Latin Mass chapel where this would *never* happen. My priests would die before they'd allow Protestants to recieve communion in their church.

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I have seen it with my own eyes.


So have I, many times, its truly unforunate and just shows the damage that the post-Vat II reforms have done.

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I was at a Catholic funeral a few years ago and there were a lot of my Protestant colleagues in attendance and I watched them, one by one, go up and receive communion.  No enforcement whatsoever by the priest.


This doesn't surprise me, but I am wondering did the Priest know they weren't Catholic. Every Catholic funeral and wedding I have been too, even the Novus Ordo ones, where there is a large number of non-Catholics in attendance, the priest will be sure to let them know they are not to receieve communion.

Quote
That simply does not happen in Orthodoxy.

I doubt an Orthodox priest would ever give communion to someone he knew was not Orthodox, but if you remember, RB claimed he's been recieving communion in Orthodox churches, and I know many Eastern Catholics who do.

Quote
As for the "fasting rules" not being enforced, that's because they are not rules, they are guidelines.  If you do not fully fast, you commit no sin.  One's own fasting regimen is a good topic for discussion with one's spiritual father, keeping in mind that the fasting guidelines proposed by the tradition of the Church are a good benchmark of where to aim with one's personal fastng regimen
.

I agree with you about fasting rules, but when we talk about kneeling on Sundays and/or during paschaltide and sitting in pews during Divine Litrugy, we are dealing with the canons of the Church!

Now Spartacus....

Recieving ashes on Ash Wednesday, it is indeed scriptural and historical, and *not* almost a sacrament in Catholicism, if it was I am sure Ash Wednesday would be a Holy day of Obligation in the Catholic Church, but it isn't.

The origin of the custom of using ashes in religious ritual is lost in the mists of pre-history, but we find references to the practice in our own religious tradition, in the Old Testament. The prophet Jeremiah, for example, calls for repentance this way: "O daughter of my people, gird on sackcloth, roll in the ashes" (Jer 6:26).

The prophet Isaiah, on the other hand, critiques the use of sackcloth and ashes as inadequate to please God, but in the process he indicates that this practice was well-known in Israel: "Is this the manner of fasting I wish, of keeping a day of penance: that a man bow his head like a reed, and lie in sackcloth and ashes? Do you call this a fast, a day acceptable to the Lord?" (Is 58:5).

The prophet Daniel pleaded for God to rescue Israel with sackcloth and ashes as a sign of Israel's repentance: "I turned to the Lord God, pleading in earnest prayer, with fasting, sackcloth and ashes" (Dn 9:3).

Perhaps the best known example of repentance in the Old Testament also involves sackcloth and ashes. When the prophet Jonah finally obeyed God's command and preached in the great city of Nineveh, his preaching was amazingly effective. Word of his message was carried to the king of Nineveh. "When the news reached the king of Nineveh, he rose from his throne, laid aside his robe, covered himself with sackcloth, and sat in the ashes" (Jon 3:6).

In the book of Judith, we find acts of repentance that specify that the ashes were put on people's heads: "And all the Israelite men, women and children who lived in Jerusalem prostrated themselves in front of the temple building, with ashes strewn on their heads, displaying their sackcloth covering before the Lord" (Jdt 4:11; see also 4:15 and 9:1).

Just prior to the New Testament period, the rebels fighting for Jewish independence, the Maccabees, prepared for battle using ashes: "That day they fasted and wore sackcloth; they sprinkled ashes on their heads and tore their clothes" (1 Mc 3:47; see also 4:39).

In the New Testament, Jesus refers to the use of sackcloth and ashes as signs of repentance: "Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the mighty deeds done in your midst had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would long ago have repented in sackcloth and ashes" (Mt 11:21, Lk 10:13).

Despite all these references in Scripture, the use of ashes in the Church left only a few records in the first millennium of Church history. Thomas Talley, an expert on the history of the liturgical year, says that the first clearly datable liturgy for Ash Wednesday that provides for sprinkling ashes is in the Romano-Germanic pontifical of 960. Before that time, ashes had been used as a sign of admission to the Order of Penitents. As early as the sixth century, the Spanish Mozarabic rite calls for signing the forehead with ashes when admitting a gravely ill person to the Order of Penitents. At the beginning of the 11th century, Abbot Aelfric notes that it was customary for all the faithful to take part in a ceremony on the Wednesday before Lent that included the imposition of ashes. Near the end of that century, Pope Urban II called for the general use of ashes on that day. Only later did this day come to be called Ash Wednesday.

At first, clerics and men had ashes sprinkled on their heads, while women had the sign of the cross made with ashes on their foreheads. Eventually, of course, the ritual used with women came to be used for men as well.

In the 12th century the rule developed that the ashes were to be created by burning palm branches from the previous Palm Sunday. Many parishes today invite parishioners to bring such palms to church before Lent begins and have a ritual burning of the palms after Mass.



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« Reply #33 on: May 22, 2004, 07:41:51 PM »

My dear Ben....

All your refernces to ashes are Old Testement except one...

And that one refernce Jesus is referring to people for whom it was customary to repent in such a manner. I know Jews today who still wear sackcloth under their clothes....(they also don't use commercial soap, deodarant or shampoo and it can get a bit nasty at times) what you describe is Judeism -- not Christianity.

Are we as Christians told to wear sackcloth and ashes when we repent!

No quite the opposite.

Christ teaches us to wash our face and annoint our hair...not to pray on the street corner but to go tour rooms and close the door. He continually preaches that we should not act like the pharisees!

I once read a piece where the tradition of Catholics using ashes on Ash Wednesday was theorized and supported to have been instituted so people would know who had attended and who was Catholic or not...given the RCC history this seems very likely.

Strange how Orthodx have never done this...
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« Reply #34 on: May 22, 2004, 08:07:18 PM »

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All your refernces to ashes are Old Testement except one...

And of course we all know that the OT isn't the word of God and has nothing to do with us Roll Eyes

Quote
And that one refernce Jesus is referring to people for whom it was customary to repent in such a manner. I know Jews today who still wear sackcloth under their clothes....(they also don't use commercial soap, deodarant or shampoo and it can get a bit nasty at times) what you describe is Judaism -- not Christianity
.

What you describe is Orthodox Jewish tradition, very few jews do this these days.

But both judaism and Christianity share the same roots, and did you not read the historical aspect of the tradition? Ashes and sackcloths was used in the early Church esp with the Order of the Penitents. To say it is not a part of Christianity is to reject the traditions and practices of what you would call Orthodox Christians.

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Are we as Christians told to wear sackcloth and ashes when we repent!

In the early Church, esp the Celtic Church, this was comon place.

Quote
I once read a piece where the tradition of Catholics using ashes on Ash Wednesday was theorized and supported to have been instituted so people would know who had attended and who was Catholic or not...given the RCC history this seems very likely.

Myth.
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Strange how Orthodx have never done this...

Ummm so those 6th century Christians of the Spanish Mozarabic rite weren't Orthodox? The Order of the Penitents wasn't Orthodox? Celtic Christianity wasn't Orthodox? What were they? Heretics? Schismatics? Surely you would never say they were Catholics.

Plus....

Why don't you get the fact that both east and west were never identical, each part of the Church developed different traditions and practices. And when people made too much of a fuss of these it ended up in some pretty stupid disagreements.
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« Reply #35 on: May 22, 2004, 11:26:17 PM »

And of course we all know that the OT isn't the word of God and has nothing to do with us Roll Eyes.


As Christians the OT must be viewed though the clear lense of the New Testament.
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« Reply #36 on: May 22, 2004, 11:30:51 PM »

As Christians the OT must be viewed though the clear lense of the New Testament.


As far as Orthodox Jews...perhaps there are not many in Colorado but that is not the case where I live....my point still stands....such practices are Old Testement....As ofr the Old Christian sect you mention.

I can no better explain their practices than I can the practice of Ash Application and mandatory clerical celibacy of the RCC priesthood......New Testement support for such practices is extremely weak at best or at its worst -- contrary to what we read of Christ's teachings on these matters.
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« Reply #37 on: May 22, 2004, 11:34:18 PM »

As Christians the OT must be viewed though the clear lense of the New Testament.

Amen to that!
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« Reply #38 on: May 22, 2004, 11:37:41 PM »


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As far as Orthodox Jews...perhaps there are not many in Colorado but that is not the case where I live

The majority of American Jews are either reform or conservative.

Quote
I can no better explain their practices than I can the practice of Ash Application and mandatory clerical celibacy of the RCC priesthood......New Testement support for such practices is extremely weak at best or at its worst -- contrary to what we read of Christ's teachings on these matters.

I do not feel ashes are contrary to scripture or Church history, I have made my case, and provided scriptural and historical proof. You sound like a broken record....you won't address the facts.
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« Reply #39 on: May 23, 2004, 02:41:13 AM »

Do you really need me to direct you to the Gospel where Christ teaches us about washing our face and annointing our hair when we fast?

.... It is late...I am tired....I just got done debating a bunch of bible thumping Protestant and sols scripturas on another site...so if you really want me to tell you where to find that....you let me know and I will...later though...it's late, i'm tired. Liturgy in the AM.
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« Reply #40 on: May 23, 2004, 02:57:56 AM »

Spartacus...

I know what verse you are refering to, but the verse does not condemn ashes! Or  sackcloth, or any other signs of penance used by the early Church in some regions! Christ is simply reminding us that we must not turn into someone who goes around telling everybody how good they are, because they said so many prayers, or fasting for so long. Christ was teaching humilty, and that we should fast for God, not for fame or attention. We shouldn't make a point of our fasting, but rather let it be a private thing between us and God, this doesn't mean we keep everything we do in our spiritual lives secret, rather we must do things with love for God and only God, not for attention. This, in my opinion, is what Christ was saying.

Using ashes is biblical, and no where in the bible or the early Church is it condmened as a un-orthodox practice. And you seem to think that no such thing has ever occurd in Orthodoxy, and if you really believe this, then, as I stated in a earlier post in this thread, you must be prepared to admit that the Celtic Church, the Spanish Mozarabic rite and the Order of the Penitents were not Orthodox in the pre-schism centuries.

I understand that you don't agree the distribution of ashes, but you go to far in make such a big deal out of it, to the point that you use Christ's words, totally out of context, to support your opinion, and reject the historical evidence that it did occur long before the great schism. Its not that big of a deal, I would expect a former Catholc to attack the filioque or Papal Infallibility, rather than the Catholic Church's use of ashes!
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« Reply #41 on: May 23, 2004, 07:15:11 AM »

Personally, I cannot see anything wrong with marking the Sign of the Cross on the forehead with ashes.

It's a little "t" tradition and not forbidden by Scripture or big "T" Tradition.

I like the symbolism of it.
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« Reply #42 on: May 23, 2004, 03:33:57 PM »

Thank you Linus, I totally I agree.

I am in no way saying ashes are a must, but to be so against this RC tradition is just nonsense. There are so many dogmatic differences between the RCC and EOC that could be addressed and discussed, but my God the use of ashes?!

Really, plain nonsense.
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« Reply #43 on: May 23, 2004, 03:36:49 PM »

I, too, like the symbolism of the ashes, and used to go to Ash Wednesday services at my old RC elementary school because I enjoyed going.  Having done that for almost ten years, I think I know what Spartacus was getting at when he said RC's think of ashes almost as a sacrament.  At almost every Mass I went to on Ash Wednesday, the church was packed--standing room only--at the beginning.  When the time came to distribute the ashes, everyone got them, AND HALF THE CHURCH LEFT, leaving the others to commune.  I've spoken with their priests, eucharistic ministers, lectors, etc., and all have lamented the fact that people stay for the ashes and abandon the Sacrament, because they have their priorities backwards.  I've even stood in the back of the church sometimes and heard people chat with friends about how they're not going to stay for the whole Mass, they just want ashes.  I've seen priests go outdoors to assembled crowds and take like ten minutes to give everyone ashes; they don't even bother to go out to give the crowds Communion, since they know they're not there.  So yes, RCism doesn't teach that the ashes on Ash Wednesday are a sacrament, but there are certainly a lot of (ignorant) people who treat it as such, often in preference to the Holy Eucharist.  

The point is not so much about actually using ashes (a stupid thing to argue about), but how they are perceived.
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« Reply #44 on: May 23, 2004, 03:47:52 PM »

Ashes are good for the penitent... as long as they humble their soul. If we boast about it as an accomplishment in our checklist of outward actions... what is the benefit?
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