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Author Topic: For [former-Anglican-now-Catholic] Priests’ Wives, a Word of Caution  (Read 1753 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: January 14, 2012, 12:46:34 PM »

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While the early [Latin] Christian church praised priestly chastity, it did not promulgate decisive legislation mandating priestly celibacy until the reform movement of the 11th century. At that point, the foremost purpose of priestly celibacy was to clearly distinguish and separate the priests from the laity, to elevate the status of the clergy. In this scheme, the mere presence of the priest’s wife confounded that goal, and thus she incurred the suspicion, and quite often the loathing, of parishioners and church reformers. You can’t help wondering what feelings she will inspire today.

By the time of the First Lateran Council, the priest’s wife had become a symbol of wantonness and defilement. The reason was that during this period the nature of the host consecrated at Mass received greater theological scrutiny. Medieval theologians were in the process of determining that bread and wine, at the moment of consecration in the hands of an ordained priest at the altar, truly became the body and blood of Jesus Christ. The priest who handled the body and blood of Christ should therefore be uncontaminated lest he defile the sacred corpus.

The priest’s wife was an obvious danger. Her wanton desire, suggested the 11th-century monk Peter Damian, threatened the efficacy of consecration. He chastised priests’ wives as “furious vipers who out of ardor of impatient lust decapitate Christ, the head of clerics,” with their lovers. According to the historian Dyan Elliott, priests’ wives were perceived as raping the altar, a perpetration not only of the priest but also of the whole Christian community.

I have little idea how accurate this New York Times article is; any Catholics want to chime in?
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« Reply #1 on: January 14, 2012, 01:05:32 PM »

Quote
While the early [Latin] Christian church praised priestly chastity, it did not promulgate decisive legislation mandating priestly celibacy until the reform movement of the 11th century. At that point, the foremost purpose of priestly celibacy was to clearly distinguish and separate the priests from the laity, to elevate the status of the clergy. In this scheme, the mere presence of the priest’s wife confounded that goal, and thus she incurred the suspicion, and quite often the loathing, of parishioners and church reformers. You can’t help wondering what feelings she will inspire today.

By the time of the First Lateran Council, the priest’s wife had become a symbol of wantonness and defilement. The reason was that during this period the nature of the host consecrated at Mass received greater theological scrutiny. Medieval theologians were in the process of determining that bread and wine, at the moment of consecration in the hands of an ordained priest at the altar, truly became the body and blood of Jesus Christ. The priest who handled the body and blood of Christ should therefore be uncontaminated lest he defile the sacred corpus.

The priest’s wife was an obvious danger. Her wanton desire, suggested the 11th-century monk Peter Damian, threatened the efficacy of consecration. He chastised priests’ wives as “furious vipers who out of ardor of impatient lust decapitate Christ, the head of clerics,” with their lovers. According to the historian Dyan Elliott, priests’ wives were perceived as raping the altar, a perpetration not only of the priest but also of the whole Christian community.

I have little idea how accurate this New York Times article is; any Catholics want to chime in?
The West had been trying, without much success, on imposing celibacy on all clergy, including deacons (I don't know how the Vatican explains its married deacons today) since at least the 4th century.  The only change in the 11th century was that a very serious effort was made from the top of the Lateran down to lowliest village parish to tighten the screws and do away with married (or cohabitating) clerics once and for all (it didn't seem to succeed until after the council of trent, if then), as part of the whole reform package (banning simony, limiting secular control of ecclesiastical appointments, etc.).

Yeah, the view of a man touching the eucharist who had touched a woman (and they don't make much if any distinction between that woman being his wife or a bar wench) pretty much horrified them as much as it did St. Jerome, from whom much of this mentality comes.  That is why I hold no high hopes for the Anglican use to keep their married priests.
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« Reply #2 on: January 14, 2012, 11:25:23 PM »

It's possible that such a view was popular amongst theologians in the middle ages, although I don't believe such a view exists today. I mean, how does a husband and wive having sex defile the Eucharist? I don't think you'd hear any modern theologians look at things in this way.
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« Reply #3 on: January 14, 2012, 11:29:09 PM »

I have little idea how accurate this New York Times article is; any Catholics want to chime in?

I'm skeptical of its accuracy. But assuming it is accurate, this line is particularly interesting ...

Quote
The priest who handled the body and blood of Christ should therefore be uncontaminated lest he defile the sacred corpus.

... since the Latin Church has, in the last few decades, allowed non-clerical faithful to handle the Sacred Body (but of course has reinforced the requirement of priestly celibacy).
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« Reply #4 on: January 15, 2012, 12:02:59 AM »

IIRC aren't EO priests and thier wives supossed to abstain from relations the night before he celbrates DL?
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« Reply #5 on: January 15, 2012, 12:07:17 AM »

IIRC aren't EO priests and thier wives supossed to abstain from relations the night before he celbrates DL?

Yes. But that restriction is a far cry from mandatory clerical celibacy.
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« Reply #6 on: January 15, 2012, 12:07:38 AM »

IIRC aren't EO priests and thier wives supossed to abstain from relations the night before he celbrates DL?
That is what I have been told too.
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« Reply #7 on: January 15, 2012, 01:21:00 AM »

A local roman priest got killed mowing his girlfriend's lawn with her tractor.  Everyone knew who she was and so forth and no spoke ill of him for having a girlfriend.  Whether she was his close friend who knows, but still...  A great priest I knew in the RC left to get married.  And what a shame because he was young and the youth started coming to church because he connected with them and it worked.  Terrible that a church looses its pastor because he wants a family, which is why mandated celibacy is a bunch of whoooeeey.  I'm not saying they should get married after ordination, no before it, but come on, let them get married.
The married Greek catholic priests here and there are a few get treated with great respect (and curiosity among Catholics) and most people are pleased as punch to have the mrs and kids show up on Sunday.
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« Reply #8 on: January 15, 2012, 10:31:03 AM »

IIRC aren't EO priests and thier wives supossed to abstain from relations the night before he celbrates DL?
Yes. But that restriction is a far cry from mandatory clerical celibacy.

It's not that far of a cry if a priest is expected to celebrate a daily mass/liturgy. So the question then becomes, would breaking this rule prevent consecration, or is it just a sin on the part of the celebrating priest? And, is this something a local bishop may be able to make some sort of allowance for should the situaiton arise?

Just for the record, I'm not advocating clerical celibacy, just asking questions to how this rule might relate to the daily celebration of the liturgy.
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« Reply #9 on: January 15, 2012, 11:22:24 AM »

A local roman priest got killed mowing his girlfriend's lawn with her tractor.  Everyone knew who she was and so forth and no spoke ill of him for having a girlfriend.  Whether she was his close friend who knows, but still...  A great priest I knew in the RC left to get married.  And what a shame because he was young and the youth started coming to church because he connected with them and it worked.  Terrible that a church looses its pastor because he wants a family, which is why mandated celibacy is a bunch of whoooeeey.  I'm not saying they should get married after ordination, no before it, but come on, let them get married.
The married Greek catholic priests here and there are a few get treated with great respect (and curiosity among Catholics) and most people are pleased as punch to have the mrs and kids show up on Sunday.

You mean, terrible that a pastor jeopardizes his soul because he wants a family.

Ultimately it comes down to what Our Lord wants: a married, celibate, or mixed priesthood.  Viewing mandated celibacy a bunch of whoooeeey will likely not get you to the Heart of Christ.
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« Reply #10 on: January 15, 2012, 01:52:27 PM »

A local roman priest got killed mowing his girlfriend's lawn with her tractor.  Everyone knew who she was and so forth and no spoke ill of him for having a girlfriend.  Whether she was his close friend who knows, but still...  A great priest I knew in the RC left to get married.  And what a shame because he was young and the youth started coming to church because he connected with them and it worked.  Terrible that a church looses its pastor because he wants a family, which is why mandated celibacy is a bunch of whoooeeey.  I'm not saying they should get married after ordination, no before it, but come on, let them get married.
The married Greek catholic priests here and there are a few get treated with great respect (and curiosity among Catholics) and most people are pleased as punch to have the mrs and kids show up on Sunday.

You mean, terrible that a pastor jeopardizes his soul because he wants a family.

Must the two statements be mutually exclusive?
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« Reply #11 on: February 02, 2012, 11:03:55 AM »

I recall someone, I think on the Catholic Answers Forum, saying something like "A married priest is a burden on his parish".

All I could think was "wow".
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« Reply #12 on: February 02, 2012, 11:07:26 AM »

All of my Catholic family thinks priests should be allowed to marry. Not that this proves anything but I doubt that modern priests' wives will suffer anything along the lines of the medieval attitude.
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« Reply #13 on: February 02, 2012, 11:17:54 AM »

A local roman priest got killed mowing his girlfriend's lawn with her tractor.  Everyone knew who she was and so forth and no spoke ill of him for having a girlfriend.  Whether she was his close friend who knows, but still...  A great priest I knew in the RC left to get married.  And what a shame because he was young and the youth started coming to church because he connected with them and it worked.  Terrible that a church looses its pastor because he wants a family, which is why mandated celibacy is a bunch of whoooeeey.  I'm not saying they should get married after ordination, no before it, but come on, let them get married.
The married Greek catholic priests here and there are a few get treated with great respect (and curiosity among Catholics) and most people are pleased as punch to have the mrs and kids show up on Sunday.

You mean, terrible that a pastor jeopardizes his soul because he wants a family.

Ultimately it comes down to what Our Lord wants: a married, celibate, or mixed priesthood.  Viewing mandated celibacy a bunch of whoooeeey will likely not get you to the Heart of Christ.

A mandatory celibate priesthood is not what Christ taught, its not Apostolic teaching, but an innovation, so it is clear as day what Christ wants.
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« Reply #14 on: February 02, 2012, 11:23:06 AM »

IIRC aren't EO priests and thier wives supossed to abstain from relations the night before he celbrates DL?

Alll people are suppossed to abstain from relations the night before they take the Eucharist.

IIRC aren't EO priests and thier wives supossed to abstain from relations the night before he celbrates DL?
Yes. But that restriction is a far cry from mandatory clerical celibacy.

It's not that far of a cry if a priest is expected to celebrate a daily mass/liturgy.

Why would he?
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« Reply #15 on: February 02, 2012, 02:02:25 PM »

A local roman priest got killed mowing his girlfriend's lawn with her tractor.  Everyone knew who she was and so forth and no spoke ill of him for having a girlfriend.  Whether she was his close friend who knows, but still...  A great priest I knew in the RC left to get married.  And what a shame because he was young and the youth started coming to church because he connected with them and it worked.  Terrible that a church looses its pastor because he wants a family, which is why mandated celibacy is a bunch of whoooeeey.  I'm not saying they should get married after ordination, no before it, but come on, let them get married.
The married Greek catholic priests here and there are a few get treated with great respect (and curiosity among Catholics) and most people are pleased as punch to have the mrs and kids show up on Sunday.

You mean, terrible that a pastor jeopardizes his soul because he wants a family.

Ultimately it comes down to what Our Lord wants: a married, celibate, or mixed priesthood.  Viewing mandated celibacy a bunch of whoooeeey will likely not get you to the Heart of Christ.

A mandatory celibate priesthood is not what Christ taught, its not Apostolic teaching, but an innovation, so it is clear as day what Christ wants.
Christ didn't teach that we must fast every Friday and Wednesday, so it must not be what Christ wants.  Roll Eyes
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« Reply #16 on: February 02, 2012, 02:05:22 PM »

IIRC aren't EO priests and thier wives supossed to abstain from relations the night before he celbrates DL?

that's probably good advice for any married couple going to receive eucharist the next day Smiley
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« Reply #17 on: February 02, 2012, 02:06:35 PM »

All of my Catholic family thinks priests should be allowed to marry. Not that this proves anything but I doubt that modern priests' wives will suffer anything along the lines of the medieval attitude.

i really would be interseted to see polling stats for something like this among the catholic faithful...
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« Reply #18 on: February 02, 2012, 04:19:23 PM »

Quote
While the early [Latin] Christian church praised priestly chastity, it did not promulgate decisive legislation mandating priestly celibacy until the reform movement of the 11th century. At that point, the foremost purpose of priestly celibacy was to clearly distinguish and separate the priests from the laity, to elevate the status of the clergy. In this scheme, the mere presence of the priest’s wife confounded that goal, and thus she incurred the suspicion, and quite often the loathing, of parishioners and church reformers. You can’t help wondering what feelings she will inspire today.

By the time of the First Lateran Council, the priest’s wife had become a symbol of wantonness and defilement. The reason was that during this period the nature of the host consecrated at Mass received greater theological scrutiny. Medieval theologians were in the process of determining that bread and wine, at the moment of consecration in the hands of an ordained priest at the altar, truly became the body and blood of Jesus Christ. The priest who handled the body and blood of Christ should therefore be uncontaminated lest he defile the sacred corpus.

The priest’s wife was an obvious danger. Her wanton desire, suggested the 11th-century monk Peter Damian, threatened the efficacy of consecration. He chastised priests’ wives as “furious vipers who out of ardor of impatient lust decapitate Christ, the head of clerics,” with their lovers. According to the historian Dyan Elliott, priests’ wives were perceived as raping the altar, a perpetration not only of the priest but also of the whole Christian community.

I have little idea how accurate this New York Times article is; any Catholics want to chime in?
The West had been trying, without much success, on imposing celibacy on all clergy, including deacons (I don't know how the Vatican explains its married deacons today) since at least the 4th century.  The only change in the 11th century was that a very serious effort was made from the top of the Lateran down to lowliest village parish to tighten the screws and do away with married (or cohabitating) clerics once and for all (it didn't seem to succeed until after the council of trent, if then), as part of the whole reform package (banning simony, limiting secular control of ecclesiastical appointments, etc.).

Yeah, the view of a man touching the eucharist who had touched a woman (and they don't make much if any distinction between that woman being his wife or a bar wench) pretty much horrified them as much as it did St. Jerome, from whom much of this mentality comes.  That is why I hold no high hopes for the Anglican use to keep their married priests.
When did the East impose the rule of celibacy on its bishops?
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« Reply #19 on: February 02, 2012, 04:33:26 PM »

RC priests are obligated to say Mass every day, and can even serve multiple masses the same day.  There is no antimension, and so the Mass belongs to the priest in some sense rather than a community.

IIRC aren't EO priests and thier wives supossed to abstain from relations the night before he celbrates DL?

Alll people are suppossed to abstain from relations the night before they take the Eucharist.

IIRC aren't EO priests and thier wives supossed to abstain from relations the night before he celbrates DL?
Yes. But that restriction is a far cry from mandatory clerical celibacy.

It's not that far of a cry if a priest is expected to celebrate a daily mass/liturgy.

Why would he?
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« Reply #20 on: February 02, 2012, 04:37:17 PM »

Christ didn't teach that we must fast every Friday and Wednesday, so it must not be what Christ wants.  Roll Eyes

Yes he did.  See Apostolic Canon 69:

"If any Bishop, or Presbyter, or Deacon, or Subdeacon, or Anagnost, or Psalt fails to fast throughout the forty days of Holy Lent, or on Wednesday, or on Friday, let him be deposed from office. Unless he has been prevented from doing so by reason of bodily illness. If, on the other hand, a layman fail to do so, let him be excommunicated."

Who do you think instructed the Apostles?
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« Reply #21 on: February 02, 2012, 05:35:15 PM »

IIRC aren't EO priests and thier wives supossed to abstain from relations the night before he celbrates DL?

that's probably good advice for any married couple going to receive eucharist the next day Smiley

That would be quite a burden on married Catholics who go to daily Mass and receive Communion.  Besides, since sex within marriage is not a sin and is in fact a very good thing, then it shouldn't be an impediment to receiving the Sacrament the next day.
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« Reply #22 on: February 02, 2012, 05:37:03 PM »

IIRC aren't EO priests and thier wives supossed to abstain from relations the night before he celbrates DL?

that's probably good advice for any married couple going to receive eucharist the next day Smiley

That would be quite a burden on married Catholics who go to daily Mass and receive Communion.  Besides, since sex within marriage is not a sin and is in fact a very good thing, then it shouldn't be an impediment to receiving the Sacrament the next day.

Yeah I dont understand that. Sex within marriage is blessed, so why? such a big deal Sounds silly.

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« Reply #23 on: February 02, 2012, 05:50:54 PM »

IIRC aren't EO priests and thier wives supossed to abstain from relations the night before he celbrates DL?

that's probably good advice for any married couple going to receive eucharist the next day Smiley

That would be quite a burden on married Catholics who go to daily Mass and receive Communion.  Besides, since sex within marriage is not a sin and is in fact a very good thing, then it shouldn't be an impediment to receiving the Sacrament the next day.

Eating is not a sin either, yet we are to fast before receiving.
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« Reply #24 on: February 02, 2012, 05:53:09 PM »

IIRC aren't EO priests and thier wives supossed to abstain from relations the night before he celbrates DL?

that's probably good advice for any married couple going to receive eucharist the next day Smiley

That would be quite a burden on married Catholics who go to daily Mass and receive Communion.  Besides, since sex within marriage is not a sin and is in fact a very good thing, then it shouldn't be an impediment to receiving the Sacrament the next day.

Eating is not a sin either, yet we are to fast before receiving.

But only from midnight.  One is supposed to fast from sexual relations from, say, Vespers the night before receiving. 
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« Reply #25 on: February 02, 2012, 07:50:07 PM »

All of my Catholic family thinks priests should be allowed to marry. Not that this proves anything but I doubt that modern priests' wives will suffer anything along the lines of the medieval attitude.

i really would be interseted to see polling stats for something like this among the catholic faithful...
63% of Catholics born between 1961 to 1978 support women priests. The generation with the lowest support (at 55%) are those Catholics born before 1940.
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« Reply #26 on: February 02, 2012, 10:04:25 PM »

A local roman priest got killed mowing his girlfriend's lawn with her tractor.  Everyone knew who she was and so forth and no spoke ill of him for having a girlfriend.  Whether she was his close friend who knows, but still...  A great priest I knew in the RC left to get married.  And what a shame because he was young and the youth started coming to church because he connected with them and it worked.  Terrible that a church looses its pastor because he wants a family, which is why mandated celibacy is a bunch of whoooeeey.  I'm not saying they should get married after ordination, no before it, but come on, let them get married.
The married Greek catholic priests here and there are a few get treated with great respect (and curiosity among Catholics) and most people are pleased as punch to have the mrs and kids show up on Sunday.

You mean, terrible that a pastor jeopardizes his soul because he wants a family.

Ultimately it comes down to what Our Lord wants: a married, celibate, or mixed priesthood.  Viewing mandated celibacy a bunch of whoooeeey will likely not get you to the Heart of Christ.

A mandatory celibate priesthood is not what Christ taught, its not Apostolic teaching, but an innovation, so it is clear as day what Christ wants.
Christ didn't teach that we must fast every Friday and Wednesday, so it must not be what Christ wants.  Roll Eyes

In the Didache (Chapter 8 ) it recorded “But let not your fasts be with the hypocrites, for they fast on the second and fifth day of the week. Rather, fast on the fourth day and the Preparation.” Smiley
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« Reply #27 on: February 02, 2012, 11:20:12 PM »

IIRC aren't EO priests and thier wives supossed to abstain from relations the night before he celbrates DL?

that's probably good advice for any married couple going to receive eucharist the next day Smiley

That would be quite a burden on married Catholics who go to daily Mass and receive Communion.  Besides, since sex within marriage is not a sin and is in fact a very good thing, then it shouldn't be an impediment to receiving the Sacrament the next day.

Eating is not a sin either, yet we are to fast before receiving.

But only from midnight.  One is supposed to fast from sexual relations from, say, Vespers the night before receiving. 

Wrong.  The only canonical impediments are "during the night."  The fasting from food and drink coincides with the fasting from sexual relations for prayer and preparation. 
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Barlaam and Josaphat


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« Reply #28 on: February 03, 2012, 01:17:29 AM »

All of my Catholic family thinks priests should be allowed to marry. Not that this proves anything but I doubt that modern priests' wives will suffer anything along the lines of the medieval attitude.

i really would be interseted to see polling stats for something like this among the catholic faithful...

"...only one in five Catholics (21 percent) says that a celibate, male clergy is very important to them as Catholics, and almost half (46 percent) say that it is not important at all."
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If you will, you can become all flame.
Extra caritatem nulla salus.
In order to become whole, take the "I" out of "holiness".
सर्वभूतहित
Ἄνω σχῶμεν τὰς καρδίας
"Those who say religion has nothing to do with politics do not know what religion is." -- Mohandas Gandhi
Y dduw bo'r diolch.
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