BlueBar gif

Celibacy and the Catholic Christ

BlueBar gif

Though it was not always thus, the Roman cult now requires her priestly class to live in celibacy. There were rumblings against clerical marriage and concubinage prior to the 1st Lateran Council (1123). However, it was Canon 3 of this council, approved and promulgated by Callistus II, that fixed forever -- well for a while at least -- the rule of celibacy.

"Canon 3. We absolutely forbid priests, deacons, or subdeacons the intimacy of concubines and of wives, and cohabitation with other women, except those with whom for reasons of necessity alone the Nicene Synod permits them to live, that is, a mother, sister, paternal or maternal aunt, or others of this kind concerning whom no suspicion may justly arise." (Densinger 360)

Times change, and the cult whose motto is Semper Eadem (Always the Same) changes also. The Catholic sacrament of Holy Orders is bestowed on bishops, priests and deacons (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1554). It would seem that Canon 3 of the 1st Lateran Council -- one of the 21 ecumenical councils the declarations of which are considered to have been guided by the Holy Spirit and, therefore, infallible -- imposes the burden of celibacy on all clergy in the three presently ordained classes. Not so, as the following demonstrates:

1579. "All the ordained ministers of the Latin Church, with the exception of permanent deacons, are normally chosen from among men of faith who live a celibate life and who intend to remain celibate 'for the sake of the kingdom of heaven.'[Mt 19:12 .] Called to consecrate themselves with undivided heart to the Lord and to 'the affairs of the Lord,'[1 Cor 7:32 .] they give themselves entirely to God and to men. Celibacy is a sign of this new life to the service of which the Church's minister is consecrated; accepted with a joyous heart celibacy radiantly proclaims the Reign of God.[Cf. PO 16.]" (Catechism of the Catholic Church, Doubleday:New York, (c) 1994, Catholic Conference of America, Inc. -- Libreria Editrice Vaticana, p. 440)

Catholic apologists will be quick to point out that celibacy is not a doctrine of the RCC but a discipline and, therefore, any modification of the requirement does not constitute a change in cult doctrine.

I find it interesting that the Latin cult imposes the discipline of celibacy on its male clergy, yet honors the incontinence of some of its female religious. Even more interesting is that in honoring those cloistered women who violated their vows of chastity, the RCC proclaims the Catholic Christ to be a womanizer and Himself incontiinent.

Before exploring further, perhaps it would be convenient to consider the words of God Himself concerning adultery and fornication. There can be no doubt of His position as spelled out in the Scriptures:

Exodus 20:14, "Thou shalt not commit adultery."

1 Corinthians 6:18, "Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body."

It seems crystal clear to me: God does not approve either of fornication or adultery. The Roman cult, while demanding celibacy from her religious, actually honors some fornicators by creating them demigoddesses and even Doctors of the Church. There is no room in this forum to examine in detail the salacious exploits of all such saints, so I'll shine the light of truth on just a few.

A number of Rome's demigoddesses were birthed in the unnatural conditions of cloistered life. Whether withdrawal from normal social interaction and the idea of celibacy appealed to women who had an inclination to sexual fantasy and religious ecstacy or whether it transformed normal women into creatures of strange desires is comething for anthropolgists and head doctors to chew on. That many cloistered women in times past were caught up in bizarre practices cannot be denied. As one historian writes:

"Reading the lives of fourteenth- and fifteenth-century women saints greatly expands one's knowledge of Latin synonyms for whip, thong, flail, chain, etc. ... Among the more bizarre female behaviours were rolling in broken glass, jumping into ovens, hanging from a gibbet, and praying upside down [as well as] thrusting needles into one's breasts, and praying barefoot in winter." (Caroline Walker Bynum, Holy Feast and Holy Fast the religious Significance of Food to Medieval Women, Berkeley 1987, pp. 209f)

Demigoddess Mary Magdalene de Pazzi, whose feast day is May 25th, would roll around in thorns, have hot wax poured over her skin and have other nuns whip her. During her torments, she would moan, "Oh enough, this is to endure too much blessedness, too much blissful ecstacy." She frequently would stand motionless "until feeling the love poured into her, filling her body with new life." At other times she ran raving in a frenzy through her monastery, catching another nun and crying: "Come on, run with me to call for love" or "Love, love, love, oh it is too much!" {Thurston, Die körperlichen Begleiterscheinungen der Mystik, 1956: Underhill, Mystik, 1928)

Angela of Foligno, whose feast day is January 4th, took her greatest pleasure from drinking water used to wash lepers.. "Never before I drank with such joy," she confessed, "a piece of scurfy skin from one of the lepers' wounds was stuck in my throat, and I tried very much to swallow it, finally succeeding. I felt like having received Holy Communion. There are no words to express the shudders of joy that ran through my limbs." [Thurston, Op.cit.] Angela had visions that -- according to one hagiography -- her confessor recorded, claiming they "demonstrated a mature mystical union with Christ and the gift of revelation."

These strange behaviors apparently were motivated by a desire to cast aside the pleasures of the flesh. I should imagine they were successful to some degree -- unless one were able to derive pleasure from rolling in glass and sticking pins into sensitive parts of one's body. For some, however, such relatively mild forms of self-abasement and flagellation were inadequate. Some women, now honored with membership in the Catholic pantheon, went to greater extremes and were rewarded with special favors from the Catholic Christ.

Jerome wrote of the virgin state of cloistered nuns, those so-called "brides of Christ" (sponsae Christi or Christi copulatae) The Catholic Christ played the role of bridegroom and lover to some of these mystic nuns who lived cloistered lives. Fantastically, some of these women even reported what today would be called phantom pregnancies, feeling impregnated by their Lord, Jesus Christ. (Bauer, Die deutsche Frau in der Vergangenheit, 1907, p.91)

St. Margaret Mary Alacoque (feast day: October 17) was a Salesian nun who cut the monogram of Jesus into her breast, and when it was healing too fast, burned it in again with a candle. At times she drank only water used to wash the sick, ate rotten bread and fruit, and once licked up the sputum of a patient with her tongue. In her autobiography she described the joy she felt when she had eaten the faeces of a patient suffering diarrhoea (!). For this ordeal she was allowed to kiss the heart of Jesus, who apparently held her in his arms the subsequent night. [Thurston, Op. cit.]

By her own admissionTeresa of Avila, saint and Doctor of the Church (feastday: October 15) was a wild thing before she entered the convent. Not that she immediately changed her ways. In her authobiography, she wrote how the first man to really satisfy her was her father confessor, a "great admirer of Virgin Mary," especially "of her conception," but also of another female of the same locality, and now of Teresa as well. [Teresa I, 56ff] Obviously all these women overtaxed the poor monk, who died a year later.

After her confessor/lover died, the devil really kept after Teresa -- until the Catholic Lord, Jesus Christ came to her rescue, first in the monastery of Veas, where he put a ring on her finger as a sign of heavenly betrothal. On this occasion, he only let her see his hand. Later, he showed his face, then, piece by piece, all of his body, since "she would not have endured all at once." And so Teresa became a poet out of love, having seen "the flag of the Lord erected," which turned "into the highest tower," and while "the trees filled with sap."[Teresa I. 487, 261]

Catherine of Sienna, the other female Doctor of the Catholic Church, wrote in "The Dialogue" concerning her "marriage" to Jesus. According to the good doctor, Jesus actually cut off, at the time of His circumcision, his foreskin and fashioned it into a ring with which she was married and united to Him. That is some pretty heady stuff, if you ask me. Wouldn't surprise me if her book weren't the talk of 14th century drawing rooms all across the continent.

So where's the harm? might ask the Catholic apologist. After all, the strange behavior and pornographic fantasies of these and other saints occurred during times of spiritual ecstacy. The harm is in the thought for, as Christ told us:

Matthew 5:28, "But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart."

To make matters even worse, more than one of these curious women reported having been bedded by the Catholic Jesus, thereby making him -- if one is to believe them (and Rome seems to) -- a fornicator and adulterer. Interesting, don't you think?

The Roman church points to the saints in her pantheon as role models for the Catholic faithful:

828. "By canonizing some of the faithful, i.e., by solemnly pro claiming that they practiced heroic virtue and lived in fidelity to God's grace, the Church recognizes the power of the Spirit of holiness within her and sustains the hope of believers by proposing the SAINTS to them as models and intercessors.[Cf. LG 40; 48-51.] 'The SAINTS have always been the source and origin of renewal in the most difficult moments in the Church's history.'[John Paul II, CL 16, 3.] Indeed, 'holiness is the hidden source and infallible measure of her apostolic activity and missionary zeal.'[CL 17, 3.]" (Catechism of the Catholic Church, Doubleday:New York, (c) 1994, Catholic Conference of America, Inc. -- Libreria Editrice Vaticana, p. 239)

Rather than follow the example of such strange and perverse people as were some of Rome's saints, I would receommend that all choose instead to follow the biblical example of Joshua, who said:

Joshua 24:15, "And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD."


home messages bible roman controversial deliver israeli occult BlueBar My Information