Skip to comments.Continuing Celibacy
Posted on 05/02/2005 6:59:52 PM PDT by sionnsar
Anglicanism is one of the only traditions outside of Roman Catholicism and maybe Orthodoxy (don't know enough about it) that, in my opinion, seriously values celibacy. I have never seen a big stink develop in Anglican circles when people find out that Fr. so-and-so is "single". And I have heard of married folk talk about Anglican religious communities with the deepest of reverence and respect. All of the celibate continuing clergy I have known have been very pious and godly men. I suppose we have mostly the Oxford Movement and Ritualism to thank for this.
Celibacy is a good thing. ...
(Excerpt) Read more at continuinganglican.blogspot.com ...
Celibacy was a point of principle for the great John Henry Newman, even as an Anglican cleric.
Celibacy is another of those things that is a wonderful idea -- what a shame it is so frequently untried!
Like the ability to parent without hard work, lessons and sacrifice, celibacy is a gift that some have and some do not; and like parenting, it can be learned and practiced, perhaps not happily but successfully. Look at it like tap dancing; few are born tap dancers, but nearly everyone can learn to tap dance well enough to meet critical standards -- but why would we expect that everyone would not only be good at tap dancing but would want to be good at it or ought to be forced to tap dance whether they want to or not, because of the decision of people who like tap dancing and are good at it?
Contrary to the overwhelming message of society, the vast majority of us don't spend all our time sniffing each other's underwear, nor should we. Wouldn't it be great if we gave as much respect and tolerance to the celibate as we demand for the multi-sexual, the transgendered, and the morally bankrupt?
Actually, I think celibate people have a real message for the world: the most important thing in life is not sex. This is a very modern idea, that somehow the quality of one's life is judged by the quantity of sexual activity. That is, it's not particularly modern to be obsessed by sex - there have always been individuals whose lives got out of line in that area - but I think this is probably the first society where sexual activity has been presented as the ultimate good in itself.
Celibacy is the state of all Orthodox monastics and monasticism is among the crown jewels of Orthodoxy. Whole books have been written on it. The Fathers wrote that continence and chastity were necessary for theosis and the early monastics found that the celibate state best contributed to the development of those virtues and thus to theosis.
Excerpt from the taped interview of Fr. Malachi Martin by Bernard Janzen :The Eternal War: the Priesthood in Crisis: (transcription by Gerard P)
"...the idea is to do away with the priesthood. The thing that really militates against the popular taste today about priesthood is celibacy. They regard nowadays, in the society in which we live, the expression of sexuality whether within marriage...outside of marriage whether by yourself or with somebody of the same sex, or with an animal is regarded as quite normal.... If you don't "frighten the horses" so to speak. Provided you don't violate any "rule of decent living". The idea that men, young men of twenty say,..take a vow of celibacy. That they will never get married. And that they can('t) keep that without getting twisted and psychologically moronic and finally ending up in pedophilia or sadism or in some twisted psychology. That is the normal attitude to priests today. So the idea of Roman Catholic celibacy is something that is utterly alien to the mind. Why? Because the idea of priesthood is. And this is where the great lack in teaching in seminaries and in the Catholic populace lies.
You see...a priest..Christ was once asked, (they pointed out a eunuch to him... a eunuch was somebody who accidentally or for some reason or another couldn't have sex. His genitals were destroyed or something.) And somebody said to him, "Lord what do you think of the eunuch? And he said,"There are three kinds of eunuchs. There's the man who's born like that from nature." ( Deficient in other words, he hasn't got the where-with-all). "There's the one who men made a eunuch." (Because they used to castrate people to make them eunuchs because eunuchs are very useful in palaces. 'cause they wouldn't touch the women and they were very good guards. And eunuchs always developed a very great cruelty. I suppose in reaction to their mutilation. And also if you did that, the voice remained high-pitched and beautiful through teenage years. And then he said, "There is a third kind of eunuch who does it to himself for the sake of the kingdom of God. He said, very mysteriously, "whoever understands, let him understand,'qui potest capere capiat"... meaning there is a very deep mystery.
The mystery is this: I can look on my celibacy if I am a priest, as a chastity belt. And the Church has locked it and thrown away the key. In that case then, I'm just somebody deprived of what I should have a right to by a greater force that's thrown away the key.
That's not celibacy at all. That is enforced continence.
I can look on celibacy then as something acceptable to the Church but a pain in the neck or a pain somewhere else. I still am very far from it.
The celibate is somebody who says to himself or herself (a nun), "My greatest power of love is in reproduction and in living with another human being. And in having children and in exchanging our love and warmth and friendship and confidence. And giving each other the intimacy of our very being, soul and body, which a true marriage does.
But, I will give that up because..when I become a priest, Christ puts a seal on my soul. The seal of his priesthood. And that seal cordons me off for a higher destiny. And the destiny is to have a very, very particular union with God, with Christ.
And that union is the union of somebody who is going to hold God's body in his hands at Mass. And is going to be a special emissary bringing blessing and shriving people from their sins and healing their souls. That's what true celibacy is. It's a segregation of your soul from all the lovely things in life that human love can bring and marriage can bring.
By the way, Look. It also has its ills and its difficulties but in general, it's regarded as a great benefit to be married. Or to live with somebody as we do nowadays. [sarcasm from Fr. Martin]
But to cut that off deliberately and to do it lovingly and to make it a positive contribution, and to devote all the energies that nature has given us for human love... to devote them to Christ. And to concentrate all that on..the Sacrifice of Christ and the preaching of his Gospel and the transmission of his message of love and salvation to souls and healing them and shriving them and helping them supporting them guiding them and welcoming them to the truth. That is the highest vocation a man can have.
Similarly with a nun who takes a vow of chastity. The same thing, She says to herself, "I'm going to imitate Our Lady, who is a virgin. who is the Mother of God. I'm going to have spiritual children and most of Our Lady's children are spiritual. (She had only one child of her own who was called Jesus.) But, I'm going to have those children by my prayers and by my identity with the great mother: The Mother of God.
And I'm going to do all that by renouncing this: Not because it's ill or bad. It's not bad, It's good. God made it. It's good, he said, 'Increase and multiply, love each other, be one flesh. It's a sacrament in the New Covenant. But I'm going to renounce that because I'm going to have a greater identification with Our Lady because God is calling me to that. And all the love and sympathy and empathy and the perceptiveness of love, I'm going to transfer that to Our Lady and Our Lord. And I'm going to make that my special sacrifice.
And in the beginning it is a sacrifice. And then, with the passage of time and fidelity, suddenly...this flower blooms in their souls. And they achieve this marvelous tranquility and this marvelous warmth that people always saw in the traditional priest. This amazing power to get inside you. This light, this feeling that they were there for you. They weren't riven in their sympathies. And they were there for you because Christ was their man, Christ was their King, Christ was their High Priest. That idea of priesthood....you won't find that anywhere today in Catholic manuals or preached in sermons or anything like that. Celibacy is regarded as...like Fish on Friday , a law we want to change and do away with." - Fr. Martin
I was thinking about this just the other day. Although I've been married for nearly 23 years, I have a high regard for celibacy. Rather than a simple deprivation, I think it has a positive quality that is very active instead of passive.
In a way, I can almost see sexual activity as the passive "default" position. Being sexual requires no effort.
Being deliberately celibate requires thought, planning, and action. What an ugly culture we live in that something which can be so positive is instantly regarded as evidence of secret depravity.
I agree with that -- while celibacy is not for everyone (or soon there would not be anyone), Lord knows there are enough broken hearts needing a mother's tender care in this world, that can perhaps only be tended by one who doesn't have to down tools at 5:000001 p.m. and run home to the husband and kiddies. Someone is staffing the night shift at the nursing home, standing in the rain after a hurricane handing out blankets, coffee and consolation, or at the bedside of a suffering child while Mama slips away for a few hours of needed sleep. Someone is at the bus station to take in the runaway teenager before the pimp gets her; someone is there to look after the children when Dad has to rush Mom to the hospital to give birth.
And maybe somewhere in the world there are a few grateful prayers to be said for the Old Maid Auntie who chose to devote herself to being there when needed, to nursing her elderly parents, to looking after her young widowed sister or the family next door whose roof blew in when the hurricane came through -- or to teaching the Sunday School class that nobody else would touch with a barge pole.
Maybe instead of thinking she's unnatural or too picky or maybe too ugly to get a man, you might think that she's chosen to spend the gifts God gave her in another way from yours... and be thankful.
As a cradle Episcopalian, I have never met another one that has expressed any of these hangups on celibacy. Maybe its just an Anglo-Catholic thing. Our Evangelical Parish is not into that.
3:1 This is a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work.
3:2 A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach;
3:3 Not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous;
3:4 One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity;
3:5 (For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?)
3:6 Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil.
3:7 Moreover he must have a good report of them which are without; lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.
3:8 Likewise must the deacons be grave, not doubletongued, not given to much wine, not greedy of filthy lucre;
3:9 Holding the mystery of the faith in a pure conscience.
3:10 And let these also first be proved; then let them use the office of a deacon, being found blameless.
3:11 Even so must their wives be grave, not slanderers, sober, faithful in all things.
3:12 Let the deacons be the husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well.
3:13 For they that have used the office of a deacon well purchase to themselves a good degree, and great boldness in the faith which is in Christ Jesus.
3:14 These things write I unto thee, hoping to come unto thee shortly:
3:15 But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.
3:16 And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.
4:1 Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;
4:2 Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron;
4:3 Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth.
4:4 For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving:
4:5 For it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer.
4:6 If thou put the brethren in remembrance of these things, thou shalt be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished up in the words of faith and of good doctrine, whereunto thou hast attained.
4:7 But refuse profane and old wives' fables, and exercise thyself rather unto godliness.
4:8 For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come.
4:9 This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptation.
4:10 For therefore we both labour and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, specially of those that believe.
4:11 These things command and teach.
4:12 Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.
4:13 Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine.
4:14 Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery.
4:15 Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting may appear to all.
4:16 Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.
I included verses other than the ones I'm truly intersted in so that some context might be established. But the Scripture that I made bold is exhorting the Clergy to marry, isn't it?
**which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth.**
Doesn't the interpretation hang on the words about knowing the truth? (Celibacy)
I don't know, that's why I'm asking the good Deacon.
The reference is to Gnostic groups, some of whom forbade marriage to all of their members. (Forbidding marriage did not imply that they practiced chastity, BTW.) St. Paul says clearly in 1 Cor that it's better to remain unmarried if one can.
"But the Scripture that I made bold is exhorting the Clergy to marry, isn't it?"
Not necessarily - Ch. 4 is a new chapter with a new topic and these are general admonitions which do not relate specifically to clergy.
Chapter 3 deals with bishops and deacons being the husband of ONLY one wife. It is not saying that they must be married, but that they must not be bigamists or digamists. It is worth noting that Judaism only came down on the side of monogamy officially as late as 1935!! The prohibition against digamy (re-marrying after widow-hood) is well attested in the Patristic era both in the writings of the Fathers and the Councils. We still hold the discipline now to the extent that if my wife pre-deceases me, then I have promised to remain celibate.
Some exegetes have tried to propose that this Scripture that bishops and deacons must be the husband of ONE wife is an indication of an early lex continentiae, however I believe they are reading something into the text which is frankly just not there! (eisegesis!)
To put Ch. 4 in context, numerous heretical groups had already arisen before the end of the N.T. period. Some of these such as the early gnostics, Docetists and Ebionites practiced an exaggerated asceticism which involved the renunciation of marriage and all carnal relations. Not just for the clergy, but for EVERYBODY. Later heretics such as the Montanists and even the Cathars and Albegensians returned to this teaching.
The common rationale behind all of these gnostic approaches to marriage was that the flesh and material things are evil, whereas only the spiritual is good. Therefore, marriage was to be shunned and all their adherents encouraged/forced to live as celibates. Needless to say, this was a basic design flaw in the long-term prospects for these sects, but men being tempted to evil, many of their ideas kept coming up again and again and again....though less so the sexual prohibitions in their modern-day incarnations.
It is most likely then that St. Paul was writing against these kind of heresies, quite possibly the Docetists and Ebionites because, the latter being of Jewish origin, they also retained many of the dietary laws which he also criticises.
More information about these early heretics is here:
A heretical sect dating back to Apostolic times. Their name is derived from dokesis, "appearance" or "semblance", because they taught that Christ only "appeared" or "seemed to be a man, to have been born, to have lived and suffered. Some denied the reality of Christ's human nature altogether, some only the reality of His human body or of His birth or death. The word Docetae which is best rendered by "Illusionists", first occurs in a letter of Serapion, Bishop of Antioch (190-203) to the Church at Rhossos, where troubles had arisen about the public reading of the apocryphal Gospel of Peter. Serapion at first unsuspectingly allowed but soon after forbade, this, saying that he had borrowed a copy from the sect who used it, "whom we call Docetae". He suspected a connection with Marcionism and found in this Gospel "some additions to the right teaching of the Saviour". A fragment of apocryphon was discovered in 1886 and contained three passages which savoured strongly of Illusionism. The name further occurs in Clement of Alexandria (d. 216), Strom., III, xiii, VII, xvii, where these sectaries are mentioned together with the Haematites as instances of heretics being named after their own special error. The heresy itself, however, is much older, as it is combated in the New Testament. Clement mentions a certain Julius Cassianus as ho tes dokeseos exarchon, "the founder of Illusionism". This name is known also to St. Jerome and Theodoret; and Cassianus is said to be a disciple of Valentinian, but nothing more is known of him. The idea of the unreality of Christ's human nature was held by the oldest Gnostic sects and can not therefore have originated with Cassianus. As Clement distinguished the Docetae from other Gnostic sects, he problably knew some sectaries the sum-total of whose errors consisted in this illusion theory; but Docetism, as far as at present known, as always an accompaniment of Gnosticism or later of Manichaeism. The Docetae described by Hippolytus (Philos., VIII, i-iv, X, xii) are likewise a Gnostic sect; these perhaps extended their illusion theory to all material substances.
Docetism is not properly a Christian heresy at all, as it did not arise in the Church from the misundertanding of a dogma by the faithful, but rather came from without. Gnostics starting from the principle of antagonism between matter and spirit, and making all salvation consist in becoming free from the bondage of matter and returning as pure spirit to the Supreme Spirit, could not possibly accept the sentence, "the Word was made flesh", in a literal sense. In order to borrow from Christianity the doctrine of a Saviour who was Son of the Good God, they were forced to modify the doctrine of the Incarnation. Their embarrassment with this dogma caused many vacinations and inconsistencies; some holding the indwelling of an Aeon in a body which was indeed real body or humanity at all; others denying the actual objective existence of any body or humanity at all; others allowing a "psychic", but not a "hylic" or really material body; others believing in a real, yet not human "sidereal" body; others again accepting the of the body but not the reality of the birth from a woman, or the reality of the passion and death on the cross. Christ only seemed to suffer, either because He ingeniously and miraculously substituted someone else to bear the pain, or because the occurence on Calvary was a visual deception. Simon Magus first spoke of a "putative passion of Christ and blasphemously asserted that it was really he, Simon himself, who underwent these apparent sufferings. "As the angels governed this world badly because each angel coveted the principality for himself he [Simon] came to improve matters, and was transfigured and rendered like unto the Virtues and Powers and Angels, so that he appeared amongst men as man though he was no man and was believed to have suffered in Judea though he had not suffered" (passum in Judea putatum cum non esset passus -- Irenaeus, Adv. Haer. I, xxiii sqq.). The mention of the demiurgic angels stamps this passage as a piece of Gnosticism. Soon after a Syrian Gnostic of Antioch, Saturninus or Saturnilus (about 125) made Christ the chief of the Aeons, but tried to show that the Savior was unborn (agenneton) and without body (asomaton) and without form (aneideon) and only apparently (phantasia) seen as man (Irenaeus, Adv. Haer., XXIV, ii).
Another Syrian Gnostic, Cerdo, who came to Rome under Pope Hyginus (137) and became the master of Marcion, taught that "Christ, the Son of the Highest God, appeared without birth from the Virgin, yea without any birth on earth as man". All this is natural enough, for matter not being the creation of the Highest God but of the Demiurge, Christ could have none of it. This is clearly brought out by Tertullian in his polemic against Marcion. According to this heresiarch (140) Christ, without passing through the womb of Mary and endowed with only a putative body, suddenly came from heaven to Capharnaum in the fifteenth year of Tiberius; and Tertullian remarks: "All these tricks about a putative corporeality Marcion has adopted lest the truth of Christ's birth should be argued from the reality of his human nature, and thus Christ should be vindicated as the work of the Creator [Demiurge] and be shown to have human flesh even as he had human birth" (Adv. Marc., III, xi). Tertullian further states that Marcion's chief disciple, Apelles, sightly modified his master's system, accepting indeed the truth of Christ's flesh, but strenously denying the truth of His birth. He contended that Christ had an astral body made of superior substance, and he compared the Incarnation to the appearance of the angel to Abraham. This, Tertullian sarcastically remarks, is getting from the frying pan into fire, de calcariâ in carbonariam. Valentinus the Egyptian attempted to accommodate his system still more closely to Christian doctrine by admitting not merely the reality of the Saviour's body but even a seeming birth, saying that the Saviour's body passed through Mary as through a channel (hos dia solenos) though he took nothing from her, but had a body from above. This approximation to orthodoxy, however, was only apparent, for Valentinus distinguished between Christ and Jesus. Christ and the Holy Ghost were emanations from the Aeons together proceeded Jesus the Saviour, who became united with the Messias of the Demiurge.
In the East, Marinus and the school of Bardesanes, though not Bardesanes himself, held similar views with regard to Christ's astral body and seeming birth. In the West, Ptolemy reduced Docetism to a minimum by saying that Christ was indeed a real man, but His substance was a compound of the pneumatic and the psychic (spiritual and ethereal). The pneumatic He received from Achamoth or Wisdom, the psychic from the Demiurge, His psychic nature enabled him to suffer and feel pain, though He possessed nothing grossly material. (Irenaeus, Adv. Haer., I, xii, II, iv). As the Docetae objected to the reality of the birth, so from the first they particularly objected to the reality of the passion. Hence the clumsy attempts at substitution of another victim by Basilides and others. According to Basilides, Christ seemed to men to be a man and to have performed miracles. It was not, however, Christ, who suffered but Simon of Cyrenes who was constrained to carry the cross and was mistakenly crucified in Christ's stead. Simon having received Jesus' form, Jesus returned Simon's and thus stood by and laughed. Simon was crucified and Jesus returned to his father (Irenaeus, Adv. Char., 1, xxiv). According to some apocrypha it was Judas, not Simon the Cyrenean, who was thus substituted. Hippolytus describes a Gnostic sect who took the name of Docetae, though for what reason is not apparent, especially as their semblance theory was the least pronounced feature in their system. Their views were in close affinity to those of the Valentians. The primal Being is, so to speak, the seed of a fig-tree, small in size but infinite in power; from it proceed three Aeons, tree, leaves, fruit, which, multiplied with the perfect number ten, become thirty. These thirty Aeons together fructify one of themselves, from whom proceeds the Virgin-Saviour, a perfect representation of the Highest God. The Saviour's task is to hinder further transference of souls from body to body, which is the work of the Great Archon, the Creator of the world. The Saviour enters the world unnoticed, unknown, obscure. An angel announced the glad tidings to Mary. He was born and did all the things that are written of him in the Gospels. But in baptism he received the figure and seal of another body besides that born of the Virgin. The object of this was that when the Archon condemned his own peculiar figment of flesh to the death of the cross, the soul of Jesus--that soul which had been nourished in the body born of the Virgin--might strip off that body and nail it to the accursed tree. In the pneumatic body received at baptism Jesus could triumph over the Archon, whose evil intent he had eluded.
This heresy, which destroyed the very meaning and purpose of the Incarnation, was combated even by the Apostles. Possibly St. Paul's statement that in Christ dwelt the fullness of the Godhead corporaliter (Col., i, 19, ii, 9) has some reference to Docetic errors. Beyond doubt St. John (I John, i, 1-3, iv, I-3; II John, 7) refers to this heresy; so at least it seemed to Dionysius of Alexandria (Eusebius, H. E., VII, xxv) and Tertullian (De carne Christi, xxiv). In sub-Apostolic times this sect was vigorously combated by St. Ignatius and Polycarp. The former made a warning against Docetists the burden of his letters; he speaks of them as "monsters in human shape" (therion anthropomorphon) and bids the faithful not only not to receive them but even to avoid meeting them. Pathetically he exclaims: If, as some godless men [atheoi], I mean unbelievers, say, He has suffered only in outward appearance, they themselves are nought but outward show. why am I in bonds? Why should I pray to fight with wild beasts? Then I die for nothing, then I would only be lying against the Lord" (Ad Trall. x; Eph., vii, xviii; Smyrn., i-vi). In St. Ignatius' day Docetism seems to have been closely connected with Judaism (cf. Magn viii, 1 x, 3; Phil, vi, viii). Polycarp in his letter to the Philippians re-echoes I John, iv 2- 4; to the same purpose. St. Justin nowhere expressly combats Docetic errors, but he mentions several Gnostics who were notorious for their Docetic aberrations, as Basilideans and Valentinians, and in his "Dialogue with Trypho the Jew" he strongly emphasizes the birth of Christ from the Virgin. Tertullian wrote a treatise "On the flesh of Christ" and attacked Docetic errors in his "Adversus Marcionem". Hippolytus in his "Philosophoumena" refutes Docetism in the different Gnostic errors which he enumerates and twice gives the Docetic system as above referred to.
The earlier Docetism seemed destined to die with the death of Gnosticism, when it received a long lease of life as parasitic error to another heresy, that of Manichaeism. Manichaean Gnostics started with a two-fold eternal principle, good (spirit) and evil (matter). In order to add Christian soteriology to Iranian dualism, they were forced, as the Gnostics were, to tamper with the truth of the Incarnation. Manichees distinguished between a Jesus patibilis and a Jesus impatibilis or Christ. The latter was the light as dwelling in, or symbolized by, or personified under, the name of the Sun; the former was the light as imprisoned in matter and darkness; of which light each human soul was a spark. Jesus patibilis was therefore but a sign of the speech, an abstraction of the Good, the pure light above. In the reign of Tiberius Christ appears in Judea, Son of the Eternal Light and also Son of Man; but in the latter expression "man" is a technical Manichaean term for the Logos or World-Soul; both anthropos and pneuma are emanations of the Deity. Though Christ is son of man He has only a seeming body, and only seemingly suffers, His passion being called mystical fiction of the cross. It is obvious that this doctrine borrowed from that of the Incarnation nothing but a few names. Scattered instances of Docetism are found as far West as Spain among the Priscillianists of the fourth and the fifth century. The Paulicians in Armenia and the Selicians in Constantinople fostered these errors. The Paulicians existed even in the tenth century, denying the reality of Christ's birth and appealing to Luke, vii, 20. God, according to them, sent an angel to undergo the passion. Hence they worshipped not the cross but the Gospel, Christ's word. Among the Slavs the Bogomilae renewed the ancient fancy that Jesus entered Mary's body by the right ear, and received from her but an apparent body. In the West a council of Orléans in 1022 condemned thirteen Catharist heretics for denying the reality of Christ's life and death. In modern theosophic and spiritist circles this early heresy is being renewed by ideas scarcely less fanstastic than the wildest vagaries of old.
(Forbidding marriage did not imply that they practiced chastity, BTW.)
I didn't mention that in my subsequent post #15, however you are quite right. Some took the attitude that as the body was merely material, opposed to the spiritual soul, then it didn't really matter what one did with it.
So while marriage was forbidden, fornication, adultery and pederasty could all be widely practised!
Sounds a bit like Hollywood really! ;)
Thanks so much for your effort and generosity. Thanks to you too, Campion.
Can either of you recommend a good Church history book? Preferably one more geared to someone of average intellect, and not too difficult to assimilate?
"Can either of you recommend a good Church history book?"
Eusebius Pamphilius' Ecclesiastical History is the best place to start. He records the first 300 years of the history of the Church and there was nothing like a modernist agenda back then for him to lead you astray!
Its available from Amazon here:
From a Catholic perspective, the best, fairest, overall, is Warren H. Carroll, History of Christendom (Christendom College Press, Front Royal, Va), of which 4 volumes have appeared, up to the 16thc. Carroll is a well-trained European historian who integrates Church history extremely well into "profane" history.
There's a very good new project, currently complete up to the 1100s, to produce a "Time-Life" illustrated, dynamically written history of Christianity that pulls no punches on Islam etc. and seeks to tell the story in a manner fair to orthodox Catholics, Orthodox, and Evangelical Protestants alike: where they each tell parts of the story differently, the series tries to simply tell the two or three versions and leave it at that. Each volume is vetted by both Protestant Evangelical and faithful Catholic academic experts but is written by journalists who know how to tell a gripping story. It can be found at www.christianhistoryproject.com
H. W. Crocker, Triumph goes too far in pro-Catholic apologetics, in my view, though it has much to offer. Philip Hughes's older Catholic history is quite good. From the Protestant side, Roland Bainton's two volume history of the church (exact title not at hand) is good--it's out of print, unfortunately. Paul Johnson's one-volume, despite Johnson's own Catholic faith, is very anti-clerical and pro-English, anti-Spain and highly idiosyncratic (he believes that a Third Way represented by Erasmus and the Hermeticists would have been better tha either Protestant or Catholic approaches--that's a utopian pipe dream that would have made things even worse, in my view).
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