Friday, March 05, 2010

If we dare suggest ...

... that this news article (link) is in any way, shape, or form connected with clerical celibacy, we will be promptly attacked. However, rationally speaking, one should not be surprised to find a higher than average number of homosexuals among the population of men who are willing to promise never to engage in sexual relations with a woman.

48 comments:

Alex said...

Uh, they are homosexual right?

The relevance and logic...or the complete lack thereof, is astounding. Bravo!

It would be interesting to survey how many homosexuals are found among more traditionally-minded orders or fraternities of priests. I think there is more to it than just vowing to be celibate, as if there is any direct causation there.

Turretinfan said...

Alex:

I'm not sure why it isn't painfully obvious to you that homosexual men are more willing than heterosexual men to promise never to engage in sexual relations with women.

- TurretinFan

Matthew Bellisario said...

Yeah, call St. Paul a homosexual while your at it too.

Turretinfan said...

If Paul were hiring male prostitutes, I would. Thanks for demonstrating my point about people irrationally attacking if we dare suggest a link, Bellisario.

BJ Buracker said...

TF,

Do you have statistics on the percentage of homosexuals in Catholic clergy/monasticism as compared to the general public in the same areas (i.e. Italy, USA, etc.)? I'd truly be interested.

Thanks,

BJ
Stupid Scholar

Turretinfan said...

"Do you have statistics on the percentage of homosexuals in Catholic clergy/monasticism as compared to the general public in the same areas (i.e. Italy, USA, etc.)? I'd truly be interested."

This is one of those things where it is hard to convince the subjects that you are not going to report them to the CDF if they answer the wrong way.

Andrew Preslar said...

TF,

Slow down, fella. The dude they busted is married:

In an interview to be published tomorrow by the news magazine Panorama, Ehiem said he had been introduced to Balducci more than 10 years ago. He claims: "He asked me if I could procure other men for him. He told me he was married and that I had to do it in great secrecy."

steve said...

I'd just note that this circles-the-wagons reaction is symptomatic of what make the priestly abuse scandal possible and prevalent in the first place. Instead of defending underage youth from predatory priests and corrupt bishops, the first instinct of many "good" Catholics is to defend the institutional church.

BJ Buracker said...

TF,

This is one of those things where it is hard to convince the subjects that you are not going to report them to the CDF if they answer the wrong way.

Then I fail to see on what basis you make the assertion that there are "a higher than average number of homosexuals among [priests]*." Are you able to support this?

Thanks,

BJ
Stupid Scholar

*Disclaimer: The original wording, "A higher than average number of homosexuals among the population of men who are willing to promise never to engage in sexual relations with a woman," clearly implies priests, monastics or other celibates, although no group was singled out specifically.

Turretinfan said...

Andrew - good point.

BJ - I've already explained the basis. I'm puzzled why you think that self-report surveys are or would be a reliable measure - and why you seem to think that they would be the only way to reach a conclusion.

-TurretinFan

Coram Deo said...

I wonder if the disagreement would be as widespread if the hypothesis were stated thusly:

"Rationally speaking, one should not be surprised to find a lower than average number of homosexuals among the population of men who are willing to promise only to engage in sexual relations with a woman."

Is this an irrational statement?

In Christ,
CD

Sir Brass said...

TF, sounds like a logical argument to me. What better place for someone who is a closet homosexual to secretly fulfill his lusts and still maintain a "reputable" cover.

E. R. Exposito said...

I was in the Roman Catholic Church for almost twenty years and served as a altar boy during my childhood. It is no secret the large amount of homosexual men that serve as priests.
I have personal friends who left the local Catholic seminary because it was so saturated with them.
And this isn't anything new. Go back to the the 12th century, for example, and remember the Lollards commentary: "The Third Conclusion, sorrowful to hear, is: That the law of continence annexed to priesthood, that in prejudice of women was first ordained, induces sodomy in Holy Church; but we excuse us by the Bible, for the suspect decree that says we should not name it. Reason and experience prove this conclusion. For delicious meats and drinks of men of Holy Church will have needful purgation or worse. Experience for the privy assay of such men is that they like not women. The corollary of this conclusion is that the private religions, beginners of this sin, were most worthy to be annulled but God, for his might, of privy sin send open vengeance."

John Bugay said...

Andrew Presslar: Don't you find it interesting that we're not talking east LA here. We're not talking a lone Jimmy Swaggart cruising the streets. You can go to the Vatican and find "an organised network, especially active in [Rome], of exploiters or at least facilitators of male prostitution."

Turretinfan said...

CD:

Or even we could reformulate the original comment this way:

Between the ages of 30-60, bachelors are more likely than married men of the same age to be homosexuals.

- TurretinFan

BJ Buracker said...

TF,

I'm puzzled why you think that self-report surveys are or would be a reliable measure - and why you seem to think that they would be the only way to reach a conclusion.

At the risk of being flippant, I'm puzzled why you think that a statement with no factual support should be compelling to me or anyone else.

I've twice asked for you to support the claim, and you have not provided anything. The best the thread has so far is E. R. Exposito's anecdotal experience (his own and the "Lollard Commentary" with no citation), which is hardly representative of the worldwide priesthood now or in the past.

Your statement may very well be correct, but you have not provided any substance to show it is correct. To me this seems to be out of your norm.

BJ
Stupid Scholar

Turretinfan said...

BJ:

At the risk of sounding repetitive, I've already provided a basis. You haven't challenged that basis in any meaningful way, nor have you even acknowledged it. You're welcome to hold a different opinion, but basic integrity requires you to fairly represent the opinions you reject.

-TurretinFan

Edward Reiss said...

"Papal Gentlemen" are not clergy. So I don;t think this relates to RC sex scandals relating to celibacy.

Turretinfan said...

Edward,

Yes, Andrew made a similar point above. The man claimed that secrecy was important because he was married (not sure if he actually is). Note that this particular gentleman was involved with at least two seminarians, who are men about to be involved in the clergy.

- TurretinFan

BJ Buracker said...

TF,

Actually, your premise fails on another basis. Your initial claim refers to men taking vows to not have sexual relations with women. However, you fail to acknowledge that the vow to celibacy also includes vows not to have sexual relations with men, children, animals, oneself or anything else. Why didn't you acknowledge this in your original post?

Thus, it isn't "painfully obvious" that the priesthood would attract more homosexuals. Since the vows include not having ANY form of sexual relations, including homosexual, it is not clear why the priesthood would attract one sexual preference over another. Hence, facts are needed to support your claim.

BJ
Stupid Scholar

BJ Buracker said...

Coram Deo,

This relates to what I just wrote to TF, so I suppose I should respond to your scenario.

Rationally speaking, one should not be surprised to find a lower than average number of homosexuals among the population of men who are willing to promise only to engage in sexual relations with a woman.

First, this is an obvious truism (homosexuals by definition don't have heterosexual sex), and thus unhelpful.

Second, it does not reflect the scenario of men entering the priesthood because they don't promise to engage in sexual behavior with anyone. Your scenario has such a promise.

Third, as noted to TF, the priestly and monastic vows cover abstention for all sexual behavior not just heterosexual behavior. Your scenario, on the other hand, presents a situation where only some, not all, sexual behaviors are prohibited.

So again, this rational statement does not apply to issue at hand.

Blessings,

BJ
Stupid Scholar

Turretinfan said...

"Actually, your premise fails on another basis."

What's the first basis?

"Your initial claim refers to men taking vows to not have sexual relations with women."

yep

"However, you fail to acknowledge that the vow to celibacy also includes vows not to have sexual relations with men, children, animals, oneself or anything else."

Let's acknowledge it ...

"Why didn't you acknowledge this in your original post?"

Wait, I thought you were going to show another basis for failure. All you have is a question? The reason should be obvious: the only part of the vow that is against Scripture is the part against marriage.

"Thus, it isn't "painfully obvious" that the priesthood would attract more homosexuals."

Look at the reformulated version:

"Between the ages of 30-60, bachelors are more likely than married men of the same age to be homosexuals."

Does that help make it obvious for you?

"Since the vows include not having ANY form of sexual relations, including homosexual, it is not clear why the priesthood would attract one sexual preference over another."

Sex with women ends up being uniquely detectable (1) because it leads to children and (2) because a big segment of the female population want marriage.

"Hence, facts are needed to support your claim."

Facts like the story above? Or facts like Exposito has given?

"First, this is an obvious truism (homosexuals by definition don't have heterosexual sex), and thus unhelpful."

Actually, a number of men who engage in homosexual behavior are men who are married and who have consequently vowed to have sex only with a particular woman.

"Second, it does not reflect the scenario of men entering the priesthood because they don't promise to engage in sexual behavior with anyone."

The choose a path of life other than marriage. Thus, they avoid promising to engage in sexual behavior with a particular woman.

"Your scenario has such a promise."

Hopefully the comments above help to explain ...

"Third, as noted to TF, the priestly and monastic vows cover abstention for all sexual behavior not just heterosexual behavior."

See above. Sex within marriage is the only kind of sex that is proper. Those who vow celibacy are only meaningfully promising not to engage in this type of sex - since they are already forbidden all other kinds.

"Your scenario, on the other hand, presents a situation where only some, not all, sexual behaviors are prohibited."

His scenario is the photo-negative. Men who marry promise to engage in licit sexual activity. Sodomites tend not to make such promises, although - obviously - some do.

"So again, this rational statement does not apply to issue at hand."

See above for why it is relevant.

-TurretinFan

Anonymous said...

Rationally speaking, one should not be surprised to find a higher than average number of homosexuals among the population of men who are idolaters. (see: Romans 1:18-27)

Coram Deo said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Coram Deo said...

BJ,

With grace may I suggest that it seems obvious to me that you've not thought this issue through very carefully.

Perhaps you should reflect on the matter at hand and explain why it is irrational to conclude, using bare logic, that a professedly Christian society of men which will only accept into its membership a professedly Christian man who promises to abstain from sexual relations with the woman to whom he is married - because marriage is forbidden - is not, all other things being equal, more likely to attract to its membership men who are inclined towards homosexuality.

As TF has already pointed out, the only Biblically sanctioned sexual relationship this group of men is effectively surrendering is that of Biblical marriage.

In Christ,
CD

Christopher said...

Everyone:

1. Not all priests are homosexual, and if homosexuality is somewhat based on a hormone deficiency or something, then it is good that homosexual men do not engage in sexual activity. I don't see the problem with this, and you'd need to make the connection with, "likes dudes," to "likes little dudes who are more feminine looking because they are under-developed."

2. If this whole issue is about priests and the priest scandal, I offer other pieces of contrary evidence: The Lutherans and other groups with married clergy also had this problem, but not in as many numbers nor were they as targeted as a group. The USA has always had a rabid stream of anti-catholicism while groups like the Lutherans often aren't even looked into. Marriage ultimately has nothing to do with this. The other piece is Ted Haggard....that is all.

3. It should be painfully obvious that the arguments used against priestly celibacy from the standpoint of non-biblical arguments are very weak and flimsy. All humans with few exceptions as St. Paul says have sexual passions. Some can live a life of celibacy, others can't. While I think abolishing clerical celibacy would bolster the ranks of those willing to be priests, I have trouble believing that this is only a problem with Catholic priests (or is the number of ALL clergy with internet porn collections and addictions not important in this discussion?).

4. Celibacy has biblical support in that many great saints and God Himself while on Earth followed it. Being in the ranks of Abraham and Peter or being in the ranks of John the Baptist, Jesus, and Paul ultimately make no difference to one's salvation. You can be married and not be chaste (not celibate which is not a synonym) and you can be unmarried and be chaste. Both are possible.

I find this use of several events on one side to be offensive and possibly will backfire on those making the argument.

Chris

Matthew Bellisario said...

TF says, "Sex within marriage is the only kind of sex that is proper. Those who vow celibacy are only meaningfully promising not to engage in this type of sex - since they are already forbidden all other kinds."

Your buddy Steve Hays says that the sexual act of masturbation is not only permitted, but it is like an Olympic sport, practicing for sex in marriage. Who is right you or Steve?

steve said...

Christopher said...

“Not all priests are homosexual...”

You’re burning a straw man.

“If this whole issue is about priests and the priest scandal…”

Actually, it’s not. There are parallel examples involving nuns (e.g. Nazareth House).

“The Lutherans and other groups with married clergy also had this problem, but not in as many numbers…”

Which goes to the central issue. Is there a pattern of abuse? Is there a systematic cover-up?

“The USA has always had a rabid stream of anti-catholicism…”

Making allowance for your tendentious choice of words, Catholicism incites “anti-Catholicism” due to the way in which the church of Rome and its followers conduct themselves.

“It should be painfully obvious that the arguments used against priestly celibacy from the standpoint of non-biblical arguments are very weak and flimsy…”

It should be painfully obvious that you ignore evidence to the contrary. (e.g. Goodbye, Good Men by Michael Rose).

True, that’s not the only problem. There’s the underlying problem of false Catholic dogmas.

“Celibacy has biblical support in that many great saints and God Himself while on Earth followed it.”

You fail to draw elementary distinctions between what is voluntary and what is mandatory, what is permissible and what is obligatory.

“I find this use of several events on one side to be offensive and possibly will backfire on those making the argument.”

Maybe you should redirect your offended feelings at the institution which perpetuates abuse.

And when we see a pattern of abuse (scandal in the US, scandal in Ireland, Nazareth House, &c.), then the cumulative evidence points to profound institutional rot from top to bottom.

Turretinfan said...

Mr. Bellisario,

Please don't raise that subject in these comment boxes. If you want to talk about that subject, use your own blog, please.

-TurretinFan

Turretinfan said...

"Not all priests are homosexual,"

Priests like Alberto Cutie prove you right in that regard.

"The USA has always had a rabid stream of anti-catholicism while groups like the Lutherans often aren't even looked into. Marriage ultimately has nothing to do with this."

It seems hard to argue with the fact that homosexual men are generally more willing to give up marriage to women than heterosexual men are. That's not the fault of "rabid ... anti-catholicism" and it is not a problem that is unique to America. In fact, the priest abuse scandal has been much worse in Ireland (there, primarily pedophilia - another group that doesn't mind giving up marriage to women - was the issue), where "anti-catholicism" cannot reasonably be blamed in terms of being a large percentage of the population.

"It should be painfully obvious that the arguments used against priestly celibacy from the standpoint of non-biblical arguments are very weak and flimsy."

Actually, no one has seriously challenged the common sense link between giving up marriage and not having sexual interest in women.

"All humans with few exceptions as St. Paul says have sexual passions."

Exactly.

"Some can live a life of celibacy, others can't."

Right.

"While I think abolishing clerical celibacy would bolster the ranks of those willing to be priests, I have trouble believing that this is only a problem with Catholic priests (or is the number of ALL clergy with internet porn collections and addictions not important in this discussion?)."

Yes, it is not important in this discussion.

"Celibacy has biblical support in that many great saints and God Himself while on Earth followed it."

Many great saints? Who besides Christ and Paul in the Bible were celibate? Practically none of the Old Testament saints were celibate. Many of the apostles were married. We're not even sure that Paul was celibate his entire adult life.

"Being in the ranks of Abraham and Peter or being in the ranks of John the Baptist, Jesus, and Paul ultimately make no difference to one's salvation."

What makes you think John the Baptist was not married?

"You can be married and not be chaste (not celibate which is not a synonym) and you can be unmarried and be chaste. Both are possible."

Agreed that both are possible.

"I find this use of several events on one side to be offensive and possibly will backfire on those making the argument."

The problem is not the celibacy itself, the problem is making folks vow celibacy as a prerequisite of ordination. Not only is it against Scripture (which would be bad enough), but it leads to an increased percentage of pedophiles and homosexuals.

-TurretinFan

Christopher said...

All,

I think I jumped into a hornet's nest based on my response from Steve.

Sexual deviancy is highest among ALL forms of Christian clergy, both dealing with forms of abuse all the way to internet pornography addictions. I used Ted Haggard as a decidedly non-Catholic example.

I just don't like the sexual scandal with Catholic priests (which is the one that has received the most press of all the sexual scandals in all Christian bodies) as evidence that their stand on celibacy is wrong.

Indeed, would you like a person with homosexual tendencies to marry a woman/man whom he/she does not really love, or would you like them to remain in a life of celibacy? Obviously marriage and fornication is forbidden, and so for them, celibacy is all there is. There have been good monks who have been homosexual (Seraphim Rose is an example from the ROCOR tradition) and yet lived celibate and chaste lives.

That is all. If, Steve, you would like to discuss Rome's false dogmas I will be right there with you for a good portion of them. If however, you would use an unfortunate incident to argue against Rome as a whole and even on the basis of clerical celibacy I will staunchly denounce such a move. It is no different than my pointing to evangelical pastors who have internet pornography and who are married and quote Romans 1 to them as well...it can "go both ways" (if you'll excuse the pun).

I simply have not been convinced of the logicality of these arguments.

Chis

Turretinfan said...

Denounce criticism of this sort if you like, but try to avoid the red herrings and straw men while doing so.

steve said...

Christopher said...

“I used Ted Haggard as a decidedly non-Catholic example.”

An example of a closet homosexual who didn’t belong in Christian ministry.

“I just don't like the sexual scandal with Catholic priests (which is the one that has received the most press of all the sexual scandals in all Christian bodies) as evidence that their stand on celibacy is wrong.”

The fact that you don’t like it does nothing to obviate the evidence.

“Indeed, would you like a person with homosexual tendencies to marry a woman/man whom he/she does not really love, or would you like them to remain in a life of celibacy? Obviously marriage and fornication is forbidden, and so for them, celibacy is all there is.”

i) If you’re still discussing clergy, then you’ve set up a false dichotomy between married homosexual clergymen and unmarried homosexual clergymen. But those are obviously not the only available alternatives.

What about heterosexual married clergymen? And, of course, there’s nothing wrong with heterosexual unmarried clergymen as long as it’s voluntary.

One of the obvious problems with a “vow” of celibacy is if you change your mind.

ii) You’re also presuming that homosexual attraction is indelible. Why do you assume once a homosexual, always a homosexual?

“There have been good monks who have been homosexual (Seraphim Rose is an example from the ROCOR tradition) and yet lived celibate and chaste lives.”

You and I have no common ground on this issue:

i) Homosexuals should never enter the Christian ministry.

ii) Moreover, you have an idiosyncratic notion of Christian identity and sanctification if you think a man can be a holy homosexual.

“If however, you would use an unfortunate incident to argue against Rome as a whole and even on the basis of clerical celibacy I will staunchly denounce such a move.”

We’re not discussing “incidents.” We’re discussing patterns. Don’t you know the difference?

One royal flush is an incident. Five in a row gets you a pair of concrete galoshes.

“It is no different than my pointing to evangelical pastors who have internet pornography and who are married and quote Romans 1 to them as well...it can "go both ways" (if you'll excuse the pun).”

You might as well say that we shouldn’t do a background check when we hire a new church treasurer. After all, you don’t have to be a bank robber to embezzle church funds. Therefore, we shouldn’t bother to screen out applicants with convictions for bank robbery–since even if we did, that’s no guarantee that someone with a spotless record won’t succumb to temptation.

Christopher said...

Steve,

I don't think you and I are tracking at all. I made the statement about Seraphim Rose because he was a practicing homosexual who stopped and repented, becoming a monk. Whether he had homosexual urgings is another biological matter. You are not always how you act...unless you'd like to accept that we are simply animals with no rational soul or free will (in things "beneath us").

The statement about Ted Haggard still stands: He was a closet homosexual who was married and fooled many. He should not have entered the Christian ministry in your mind because of his passions which he obviously could not control. One of your married clergy in Protestantism who has the problem you think a majority of monastics and priests have.

I also said nothing about not doing background checks on church treasurers...that's a completely asinine reductio ad absurdam. You obviously ignored my statements about ALL CLERGY REGARDLESS OF DENOMINATION having the highest incidents of sexual deviancy and addictions. The Catholic controversy was as high as it was because of allegations coming out of the woodwork (some not true) and because of scandals to hide the evidence.

All this and I'm not even Catholic nor was I coming here to join the apparent slug-fest everyone here is having. I merely pointed out that the logic does not follow, and you jump all over me, positing opinions I never expressly said nor hold.

Practicing homosexual relationships, as I have stated before, are sinful and should be denounced. Therefore, those who have homosexual tendencies who partake of a life of celibacy are better off than those who don't.

If you're speaking of the issue of clerical celibacy, I am against it as well. But the other problem with a vow is that you still follow it, just as Paul did in Acts 18:18, and I hope you do with your marriage vows (something God did not institute btw).

I think you're looking for a fight where none exists.

Chris

steve said...

Christopher said...

“I don't think you and I are tracking at all. I made the statement about Seraphim Rose because he was a practicing homosexual who stopped and repented, becoming a monk.”

The thought is father to the deed. Murder in the heart. Adultery in the heart. Sin begins in the mind. A sinful action is merely the outward expression of sin.

There’s more to holiness than self-restraint. There is also a process of inner transformation.

“Whether he had homosexual urgings is another biological matter.”

You seem to think homosexual urges are reducible to biology. What do you base that on? Are murderous urges reducible to biology?

“You are not always how you act…”

We may not act on how we feel, but we do what we do because we are what we are.

“The statement about Ted Haggard still stands: He was a closet homosexual who was married and fooled many. He should not have entered the Christian ministry in your mind because of his passions which he obviously could not control.”

Homosexuals don’t belong in ministry. Rather, they need to be ministered to.

“One of your married clergy in Protestantism who has the problem you think a majority of monastics and priests have.”

i) I never put a figure on the percentage of homosexual clergy in the Catholic church.

ii) However, you also act as if heterosexual and homosexual urges are morally equivalent. They’re not.

Heterosexual urges are natural. By contrast, homosexual urges are inherently sinful. It isn’t merely homosexual activity which is sinful. Homosexual attraction is sinful.

“I also said nothing about not doing background checks on church treasurers...that's a completely asinine reductio ad absurdam.”

To the contrary, you act as though, since both homosexuals and heterosexuals commit sexual sin, that sexual orientation is irrelevant to one’s pastoral qualifications.

So, by that logic, since bank robbers and non-bank robbers both commit property crimes, we shouldn’t discriminate in hiring bank robbers.

steve said...

Cont. “I merely pointed out that the logic does not follow, and you jump all over me, positing opinions I never expressly said nor hold.”

It’s pursuing the logical implications of your position.

“I merely pointed out that the logic does not follow, and you jump all over me, positing opinions I never expressly said nor hold.”

You seem to think you’re entitled to opine in public, but be immune to opinions to the contrary. Sorry to burst your bubble.

“Therefore, those who have homosexual tendencies who partake of a life of celibacy are better off than those who don't.”

Once more, you treat homosexual identity as if that were indelible. Why?

“But the other problem with a vow is that you still follow it, just as Paul did in Acts 18:18, and I hope you do with your marriage vows (something God did not institute btw).”

Wrong. You fail to draw an elementary distinction between lawful vows and unlawful vows. There is no obligation to carry out an unlawful vow. Put another way, there can never be a moral obligation to do wrong. Do you think Jephtha was duty-bound to sacrifice his daughter?

In the OT, vows were not unconditional. Some vows could be annulled by a responsible party.

A young man has no right to take a vow of celibacy.

Christopher said...

Steve,

This is just silly.

1. Lawful vs. unlawful vows - refraining from marriage is not an unlawful vow...I would argue that "requiring" it is, but not simply one's desire to do so and serve God...hence Paul's statement regarding how he wished everyone was like he was.

Obviously saying, "I vow to kill the next thing to enter my tent and offer it to the Lord is unlawful" :-).

2. You also can't be gnostic and make sin purely an aspect of the individual's mind (nous). Sin has real consequences in the world, like death and decay...hence, my statement that there are some who are potentially more receptive to male phermones and the like would have a form of physical decay. You can't really "fix" that with a holy life. The behavior and the biological condition leading to a behavior are different, and I don't think I have confused the two at any point in our conversation.

Respectfully,

Chris

Turretinfan said...

As to 1, an unconditional vow to abstain from marriage is an unlawful vow. We could explain this at greater length, and the Reformers did.

As to 2, presumably your clarification will satisfy Steve's objection. There may possibly be biological influences toward homosexuality, just as there are for many sins.

Christopher said...

TF,

How is 1 an unconditional vow and unlawful? I've read Luther on it (his statement on monastic vows) and was thoroughly unconvinced by it. I'm just saying that there are several examples in Scripture of those who took vows of various kinds...what would you do if you violated your vow?

Turretinfan said...

I wasn't trying to say that your (1) was phrased in terms of an unconditional vow. I was drawing an important distinction between a conditional and unconditional vow.

The objection is not simply that remaining unmarried is wrong - in fact such is permissible.

The objection is not even necessarily that certain kinds of vows to remain unmarried might be permissible.

The objection is that unconditional vows to remain unmarried are contrary to Scripture, even though they have a long ecclesiastical tradition.

Christopher said...

TF,

How is such a vow contrary to Scripture though? The pronouncement to Adam and Eve to "fill the earth" has been done...I guess I'm just wondering where in Scripture it says vows of celibacy are unlawful.

Turretinfan said...

Yes, the replenishment/filling mandate is not the basis.

The usual argument proceeds along these lines:

1) The ability to remain continent while celibate is a gift from God.

1 Corinthians 7:7 For I would that all men were even as I myself. But every man hath his proper gift of God, one after this manner, and another after that.

2) Men (leaving aside true eunuchs) can only discern their present gifts, not what gifts God may give them in the future.

3) An unconditional vow of celibacy, even by a person who presently has the gift of celibacy, is presumptive - since God makes no promise to maintain one in the gift of celibacy.

3) Presumption on God's gifts is sinful.

4) One contingency is that a man may not continue in the gift of celibacy.

5) An unconditional vow of celibacy amounts to a vow contingently to sin, since to fail to follow Scripture (1 Corinthians 7:9 But if they cannot contain, let them marry: for it is better to marry than to burn.) is to sin.

Those are the two main arguments.

a) Do you follow the arguments?

b) If not, why not?

c) Do you agree with the arguments?

d) If not, why not?

- TurretinFan

steve said...

BTW, William Ames, in his _Conscience: With the Power and Cases Thereof_, has a discussion of the difference between lawful and unlawful vows.

Also, good commentaries on the Pentateuch discuss conditions under which a vow can be nullified.

Christopher said...

TF,


a) I do indeed follow the argument. It is identical to Luther's in "On Monastic Vows."

b) N/A

c) In the case of celibacy, no.

d) While I would not tie celibacy to the priesthood, I would defend it nonetheless. The basic facts are these: The assumption to the argument is that marriage is commanded by God unless a gift is given to prevent the burning of desire. Christ Himself states that in Heaven, they will neither marry nor be given in marriage, so here is a proto-type for monastic life. Secondly, Paul states that he prefers celibacy OVER marriage unless the weakness of the flesh requires it (and even here, remember he's talking to the Corinthians). Indeed, he claims that "those who marry do not sin" but Paul would like to keep those from the troubles of marriage (1 Cor. 7:28).

The fundamental issue here is not marriage, but the passions. Passion were not included into the created order, but were brought in as a result of sin (that is, the focus for material things over God). Therefore, marriage is given in Christianity both to obviously keep the created order going, but also to provide a good relationship for those who are able. When it comes to the issue of "current gifts," those who have continence are to thank God for that and take it as an indication as St. Paul said, to pursue work for the Kingdom of God. This has to do with trusting God as He gives now...not as an unpredictable whirlwind of change. This is absolute trust in God, not "preparing for the future" by not pursuing the life St. Paul desires for those who are able. Not all are cut out for celibacy, but neither are none cut out for it. This is an assumption of creation I cannot share, as I don't think Christ nor Paul would sanction holding marriage over celibacy in this way. Neither does Paul command this, but merely suggest it. Thus, there is no command from the Lord regarding marriage or celibacy.

Does this make my position clearer?

Chris

steve said...

"The fundamental issue here is not marriage, but the passions. Passion were not included into the created order, but were brought in as a result of sin (that is, the focus for material things over God)."

What's your argument for that assertion?

Christopher said...

Steve,

Were we created for matter for matter's sake? No! We were given matter as a gift from God. Therefore, such gifts are just that...gifts. It is a result of sin which seeks matter for matter's sake, "worshiping creation in place of the creator."

Turretinfan said...

Christopher,

I seem to be missing the connection between your argument in response to Steve and the assertion that Steve asked you to support.

steve said...

Chris,

You indicated that "passions" are the result of the fall. What's your basis for that blanket statement?