Cyber Swing/Polyamory Resource Center
Promoting Intimacy and Other-Centered Sexuality
The History of Catholic Celibacy
Priests had many concubines - too costly for the Church
The idea of Catholic celibacy is especially foolish when you realize the reason behind it. Before the middle ages it was allowable for Catholic priests to have multiple wives and mistresses (concubines). But with concerns for protecting Church property from inheritance Pope Pelagius I made new priests agree offspring could not inherit Church property. Pope Gregory then declared all sons of priests illegitimate (only sons since lowly daughters could not inherit anyway in society).
In 1022 Pope Benedict VIII banned marriages and mistresses for priests and in 1139 Pope Innocent II voided all marriages of priests and all new priests had to divorce their wives. This had nothing to do with morality, multiple women for males had long been the norm since before biblical times, but it was about MONEY! In biblical times many wives, concubines and breeders was common and never spoken against other than by Paul to the Elders of Timothy and Titus. In the Tanakh, Jewish priests suggest 4 wives was probably about the right number.
The whole celibacy nonsense was also the result of middle age gnostic influences that false taught that the body was dirty and not spiritual and to be more spiritual you had to avoid natural sexuality. Talk about getting people really screwed up!
Celibacy May Be More A Disease Than A Blessing
Someone who wants to be celibate may be showing a deeper emotional issue that needs to be dealt with. Celibacy may be more of a disease than a blessing - we are not created to be celibate. It seems to me that only someone quite immature would want to exclude one of the most powerful ways of sharing loving intimacy. If someone chooses celibacy it may be due to lack of self-esteem, performance anxiety, or religious false teachings based on shame based, sex negative tradition rather than true scriptural sexuality. Many women say the biggest mistake they made was not having much more sexual experience and variety before marriage.
By far the group that has the highest rate of HIV infection of any occupation is Catholic priests from gay relationships. It is logical that many gay men would choose the priesthood in an attempt to deny their natural sexual orientation. Eventually, with celibacy being so unnatural regardless if one is born heterosexual, homosexual or bi, few can remain celibate which to me is such a silly idea to begin with.
From HISTORY OF MONOGAMY (very interesting other information)
CATHOLIC PRIESTS WERE MONOGAMOUS AND POLYGAMOUS BUT MADE CELIBATE
Due to the widespread illiteracy of the scriptures, especially that of the Gentile believers who were totally ignorant of the Torah, whatever the Catholic priests said were considered as God’s Law and divine truths. One area of total distortion was that of marital relationship. Surprising to almost all of us, it was common for Catholic priests to have multiple wives and mistresses. In 726AD, it was acceptable for a man with a sick wife to take a second wife so long as he looked after the first one. With concerns for protecting Church property from inheritance however, offspring could not inherit church property and it was later declared that all sons of priests were illegitimate. In 1022, Pope Benedict VIII banned marriages for priests (monogamous or polygamous). Finally in 1139, Pope Innocent II voided all marriages of priests and all new priests had to divorce their wives. All these were done to possess and protect money and church property. Making polygamy a sin and marriage unacceptable for a priest was a slow and purposeful process.
The rich, the thoughtful ones who understood that their earthly goods were barriers to heaven, were delighted to hand over chunks of wealth to the priests and bishops as a down payment on easier transmission from one place to the next. (The soul’s equivalent, the wealthy presumed, of time-sharing a jet instead of having to stand in line at a purgatorial Southwest counter.)
Not only were priests and bishops becoming wealthier, they were becoming worldier. Many were married, others just had “open marriages” -- concubines. Worse than that -- in the church’s eyes -- the priests and bishops begetting sons regarded the endowments being made to the church as personal property. So the same rollicking clerics were setting themselves up as landed gentry and passing the fortunes along to their primogenitor sons and heirs.
In the 11th century, five popes in a row said: “Enough already.” Then came tough Gregory VII. He overreacted. He told married priests they couldn’t say Mass, and ordered the laity not to attend Masses said by married priests and naughty priests. The obvious happened. Members of the laity soon were complaining they had nowhere to go to Mass.
The edict was softened a bit to allow Mass-going. As usual, the women were blamed. Concubines were ordered scourged. Effectively though, the idea of priestly celibacy was in -- though not universally welcomed among the clerics themselves. And handing over church money to sons of priests and bishops was out.
The early, reforming religious orders, Franciscans and Dominicans, were scandalized by the licentious priests. And that’s the point -- it was the concubinage scandal and money, not the marriage that was at issue.
Indeed, at two 15th-century church councils, serious proposals were made to reintroduce clerical marriage.
These proposals were fought back -- how modern it all seems -- by a group of ultra-orthodox church leaders (for whom marriage was probably too late a possibility anyway) because they’d come up with a better idea. They’d started to give out the impression that celibacy was of apostolic origin -- that it had been built in at the beginning.
That’s power. Reinvent history.
From Glimpses of Church History
http://www.goacom.com/overseas-digest/Archives%202/history%206.html (8/06 unfortunately link now dead)
Pope Gregory VII is held in high regard by Catholics because of his ascetic ways and for disciplining the clergy (most took bribes and kept mistresses).
Second Lateran Council (1139)
Innocent, in the month of April, 1139, convoked, at the Lateran, the tenth ecumenical council. Nearly a thousand prelates, from most of the Christian nations, assisted. ...the council drew up measures for the amendment of ecclesiastical morals and discipline that had grown lax during the schism. Twenty-eight canons pertinent to these matters reproduced in great part the decrees of the Council of Reims, in 1131, and the Council of Clermont, in 1130, whose enactments, frequently cited since then under the name of the Lateran Council, acquired thereby increase of authority. Canons 6, 7, 11: Condemnation and repression of marriage and concubinage among priests, deacons, subdeacons, monks, and nuns.
http://www.polygamy.50megs.com/articles/polygamyoutline.html (8/06 unfortunately link now dead)
Gives extensive details and history
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