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Old 08-14-2002, 06:23 PM
fstrath fstrath is offline
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When did celibacy start in the Catholic church?

A question I've wondered about for many years is when celibacy actually became required for Catholic priests, as well as nuns and brothers. I've heard different stories and have read some of the history telling of married popes. Anybody know?
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  #2  
Old 08-14-2002, 06:56 PM
Ringo Ringo is offline
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What Celibacy Is, and Isn't says:

Quote:
...the western Church only made celibacy a general canonical requirement in the 12th century, largely through the Second Lateran Council (1129).
That's a syndicated column, so I won't post more, but you might want to read it's description of the quasi-celibate state of the western Church before the 12th century.

The Catholic Encyclopedia gives much more complete history of celibacy in the Church, describing its gradual adoption over several hundred years.

Quote:
Finally, in 1123, at the First Lateran Council, an enactment was passed (confirmed more explicitly in the Second Lateran Council, can. vii) which, while not in itself very plainly worded, was held to pronounce the marriages contracted by subdeacons or ecclesiastics of any of the higher orders to be invalid (contracta quoque matrimonia ab hujusmodi personis disjungi ... judicamus -- can. xxi). This may be said to mark the victory of the cause of celibacy. Henceforth all conjugal relations on the part of the clergy in sacred orders were reduced in the eyes of canon law to mere concubinage. Neither can it be pretended that this legislation, backed, as it were, by the firm and clear pronouncements of the Fourth Council of Lateran in 1215, and later by those of the Council of Trent, remained any longer a dead letter. Laxity among the clergy at certain periods and in certain localities must undoubtedly be admitted, but the principles of the canon law remained unshaken, and despite all assertions to the contrary made by unscrupulous assailants of the Roman system the call to a life of self-denying continence has, as a rule, been respected by the clergy of Western Christendom.
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Old 08-14-2002, 07:49 PM
Jinx Jinx is offline
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I must assure you that celibacy IS NOT hereditary Ask your father! - Jinx
P.S. Sorry, I couldn't resist...John Cleese would be proud!
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Old 08-14-2002, 08:25 PM
Kid_Gilligan Kid_Gilligan is offline
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My Western Civ professor (whose specialty was religious history) seemed to believe that the laws of celibacy were important in allowing the spread of Christianity throughout Western Europe.

The priesthood was a great place for younger sons of nobles to earn a living. This created a reciprocal fealty between the Church and the ruling class. If priests had been fathering sons, then the Church could be independent of the ruling class. Had that been the case, you can imagine that Charlemagne wouldn't have trusted them any more than Stalin did.

Whether this was the reason for celibacy, or just the result of it, I don't know.
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Old 08-14-2002, 08:36 PM
tomndebb tomndebb is offline
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Quote:
as well as nuns and brothers
I do not think that they have ever been allowed to marry. The whole point of religious communities has tended to be to renounce worldly ties (especially family life). (This is different than a membership in, say, the Third Order of St. Francis and similar groups in which a person makes a commitment to God in their lives and follows a particular regimen of prayer. Married people are invited to join such orders, but your point specifically mentions "nuns and brothers.")

A short history of celibacy (mostly taken from the Catholic Encyclopedia article) was posted here some time back. (The Catholic Encyclopedia site has been acting flaky, this week.)
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Old 08-14-2002, 08:41 PM
tomndebb tomndebb is offline
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Quote:
as well as nuns and brothers
I do not think that they have ever been allowed to marry. The whole point of religious communities has tended to be to renounce worldly ties (especially family life). (This is different than a membership in, say, the Third Order of St. Francis and similar groups in which a person makes a commitment to God in their lives and follows a particular regimen of prayer. Married people are invited to join such orders, but your point specifically mentions "nuns and brothers.")

A short history of celibacy (mostly taken from the Catholic Encyclopedia article) was posted here some time back. (The Catholic Encyclopedia site has been acting flaky, this week.)
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  #7  
Old 08-14-2002, 08:54 PM
Omnipresent Omnipresent is offline
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This may be over simplistic but, what I've read is that "back in the day", there really wasnt much in the way of salary or the means by which the church could house and feed a priest by himself, much less a wife and 8 children. So, in short, being a priest, he could not possibly provide for his family since he works for God and doesn't actually receive a wage so, the church decreed celibacy.


I don't necessarily buy that, but, that's what I've read.
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Old 08-14-2002, 08:59 PM
TV time TV time is offline
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Re: When did celibacy start in the Catholic church?

Quote:
Originally posted by fstrath
A question I've wondered about for many years is when celibacy actually became required for Catholic priests,..
It would seem from recent events that some priests don't feel it has ever become a requirement.
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