Priests and Werewolves

I have two questions about Catholicism, so it’s probably best to keep them in the same thread.

First, given the church’s reluctance to accept birth control use amongst followers, it seems as though they still take the “go forth and multiple” edict seriously. If so, is there anything in church doctrine that explains why priests and nuns are correct to ignore this demand of the Maker’s?

Second, in the book “Curse of a Winter Moon” by Mary Casanova the (French) church had taken an official stance on werewolves, and came down on the side that they existed, going so far as to say it was heresy to deny the existence of loup garou. Did the church actually accept the reality of werewolves during the 1500s, or is this a fiction created by the writer? Note that the word “Catholic” does not appear in the book, but there are plenty of references to The Holy Church, the Pope, monks and bishops, so it’s strongly implied.

Faulty premise. The injunction to “go forth and multiply” isn’t really the basis for the Catholic stance on contraception. The Catholic view is that conjugal relationships, and conjugal acts, should be ordered towards procreation, but not that everybody should be in a conjugal relationship.

Never read (or heard of) the book, and have no idea how seriously it presents itself. Does she offer any kind of cite? There could have been individual churchmen who preached that it was heresy to deny the existence of werewolves, but offhand I’d be surprised if it was a dominant theological opinion, or if it was authoritatively taught by the church. It’s not that much of a preoccupation for Catholicism, frankly.

I’ve certainly never heard of any such statement to the effect that there are werewolves. There may have been one exorcism of a man accused of murder who seemed to believe he was cursed by the devil into being one.

There were a lot of werewolf trials in France and the rest of mainland Europe back then, similar in fashion to the witch trials of Britain and the American colonies (werewolf superstitions are much less common in Britain than in mainland Europe because wolves were eradicated by the Anglo-Saxons sometime around 1200AD).

However, it doesn’t appear that the Church ever said it was a sin not to believe.

From an article on pubmed:

The scriptual basis of which seems to be the 'sin of Onan" - Onan was asked to procreate with his brother’s widow and had sex with her but 'spilled his seed on the ground" so there would be no pregnancy. This has been used to justify the policies of “sex only for procreation” and “no masturbation”.

Although many of the apostles and early church leaders were married, the canon of preistly celibacy comes from the Corinthians passage "“The unmarried man is anxious about the things of the Lord, how to please the Lord. But the married man is anxious about worldly things, how to please his wife”.

As for werewolves, they have come in and out of fashion, but unlike witches there’s no actual mention of them in the Bible.


No… no no… no. No.

Not even close. Not remotely close. Not in the same timezone as close.

From the book The Beast Within (not sure where it is at the moment. Great book on werewolves in myth and history. Highest possible recommendation) at one time the RCC did say that werewolves existed. There was debate on whether a werewolf really changed form or whether this was a delusion fostered by Satan. Later, it was declared heretical to believe that witches could actually practice magic or that a werewolf could really change form.
Re Priests

I am curious about this as well. A rabbi is expected to marry and have kids. Some of the great sages had sons who went on to become great sages. How Christianity moved from this, to clerical celibacy confuses me.

Lemme see here-

the Canon Episcopi made it heretical to believe that witches had real powers (flying, changing themselves into animals)

And I can’t find the passage where the Church changed its mind. OTTOMH I may be thinking of Cows, Pigs, War, And Witches- The Riddles Of Culture (I know where that book is. It’s at a friend’s house). The author follows the centuries long debate between Church scholars on whether witches had real power. IIRC Official stance on this changed went back and forth.

Well, “moving on” may be the wrong concept. Remember the Jewish/Christian split predates the development of rabbinical Judaism as we know it. Probably the influential jewish model for early Christian ideas of priesthood was not the Jewish rabbinate, but the Jewish priesthood. And, sure, priests married and had children - priesthood was hereditary, after all - but they also abstained from sex for a period before offering sacrifice. So even in Jewish thought there was some tension between the priestly role and conjugal life. Since the Christian priesthood was <i>not</i> hereditary, there was scope for that tension to be resolved in a different way, by according a much greater role and signficance to celibacy.

Hey that’s what I was taught. Are you objecting to both parts or just one? And what’s your competing claim for scriptual reference?

Catholic church is opposed to contraception not because it considers population growth to be a great good, but because it considers contraception evil. Likewise, for instance, many people are against capital punishment even in cases of serial killers caught red handed not because they think that the world is better off with them alive in prison but because they consider the execution to be evil and abhorrent. So it’s really a matter of choosing the lesser evil for them.

I’m sure somebody somehow, somewhen used the story of Onan as a “reason.” However, it not why it happened and has nothing to do with it start to finish. It’s not particularly about scripture at all. It was a practical and philosophical choice, although Theology did play a role “Let he who can accept this burden [abstinence] do so.” The Church recognizes that sexual abstinence as well as marriage are both pathways to spiritual purity.

The reason the Catholic Church gives for opposing contraception is that many methods involve interfering with the process after insemination. For example, methods which prevent the fertilized egg from implanting in the uterus (technically, contragestion rather than contraception). Since the church belief is that a soul is created at the instant of insemination, these methods just amount to automated abortion. So they oppose them.

Presumably, they have some other justification for opposing barrier methods, which prevent the sperm and egg from meeting before any insemination.

And as far as priestly celibacy, the real reason this was enforced was to eliminate some messy and embarrassing problems with the families of priests: inheritance & support.

There were arguments and lawsuits over the estates of deceased priests. For example, were those gifts given to the local parish (thus property of the church) or given to the local parish priest (thus his property, and inherited by his widow & children)?

Then there was the problem of supporting the deceased priests’ widow & children. Does the church throw them out of the parsonage where they may have been living for the past 10 or 20 years? That doesn’t look very good. Especially if the church won the first item, inheritance, so that nearly everything the priest owned is inherited by the church rather than his family – that means that his family is probably impoverished. So does the church have to provide support for them? A financial burden if they do; an embarrassment if they don’t.

Easier to avoid the whole problem by requiring celibacy of priests.

No doubt the church found some scripture to justify the celibacy requirement. But it had real practical benefits for the church.

I think you misunderstood my post. I was referring to Onan as a justification for not liking birth control or masturbation, not for Priestly celibacy, which I blamed on Corinthians.

This website seems to agree with me.