Cardinal Mahony removed


Cardinal Mahony


The Church of Rome finally decided to take a strong step related to its sex scandal problems in Los Angeles:

February 1, 2013

In an unprecedented move, Los Angeles Archbishop José Gomez has relieved his predecessor, Cardinal Roger Mahony, of all his duties due to Mahony’s “mishandling” of child sex-abuse allegations by members of the clergy.

February 1, 2013

BBC reports that Mr. Mahony, who headed the Los Angeles archdiocese — the largest one in the United States — said he was sorry for his “failure.”

The L.A. archdiocese has just released thousands of files about priests who have been accused of child molestation. Mr. Mahony led the archdiocese for 25 years and retired in 2011 — four years after Los Angeles was forced to pay $660 million in damages to alleged victims of church abuse, BBC said.

Obviously, stronger action should have been taken years ago.  There have also been allegations that the current Pope should have taken stronger steps related to similar problems in Europe years ago.

One of the reasons for the sex-abuse scandals is the Roman requirement that priests supposedly be celibate (another reason is the repeatedly cover-ups and denials which will not be addressed in this post).  Celibacy for the clergy was never the position of the Bible, the Church of God, or even the early Church of Rome.  Nor is it the position of the Eastern Orthodox nor the Continuing Church of God.

Actually, the Bible shows that bishops and elders (presbyters/priests) were supposed to have a wife and children to demonstrate they could handle a church as Paul wrote (Roman Catholic approved Rheims New Testament throughout except as otherwise noted):

1.FAITHFUL saying. If a man desire a Bishops office, he desireth a good work.
2. It behoveth therefore a Bishop to be irreprehensible, the husband of one wife,
sober, wise, comely, chaste, a man of hospitality, a teacher,
3. Not given to wine, no fighter, but modest, no quarreler, not covetous,
4. Well ruling his own house, chaving his children subject with all charity.
5. But if a man know not to rule his own house: how shall he have care of the Church of
God? (1 Timothy 3:1-5).

5. For this cause left I thee in Crete, that thou shouldest reform the things that are
wanting, and shouldst ordain priests by cities, as I also appointed thee:
6. If any be without crime, the husband of one wife, having faithful children, not in the
accusations of riot, or not obedient.
7. For a Bishop must be without crime, as the steward of God: not proud, not angry, nor
given to wine, no striker, nor covetous of filthy lucre (Titus 1:5-7).

Note that the term translated as priest in verse 4, presbyter, simply means elder. Also notice that the Bishop is also allowed to be married. In Eastern Orthodox circles, while their priests are allowed to be married, their bishops are not.

Paul specifically confirmed that the apostles had a wife and that he had a right to have a wife in the first century when he wrote:

4. Have not we power to eat and drink?
5. Have we not power to lead about a woman a sister, as also the rest of the Apostles, and
our Lords brethren, and Cephas?
6. Or I only and Barnabas have not we power to do this? (1 Corinthians 9:4-6).

While Polycrates confirmed this for the second century when he wrote:

Among these are Philip, one of the twelve apostles, who fell asleep in Hierapolis; and his two aged virgin daughters, and another daughter, who lived in the Holy Spirit and now rests at Ephesus…All these observed the fourteenth day of the passover according to the Gospel, deviating in no respect, but following the rule of faith. And I also, Polycrates, the least of you all, do according to the tradition of my relatives, some of whom I have closely followed. For seven of my relatives were bishops; and I am the eighth. And my relatives always observed the day when the people put away the leaven. I, therefore, brethren, who have lived sixty-five years in the Lord (Eusebius. Church History. Book V, Chapter 25).

Polycrates probably would not have been one of a line of bishops if all bishops and church leaders practiced celibacy. Note that since the Apostle Philip had at least three daughters, he could not have practiced celibacy.

Now everyone is aware that Peter had a wife (see Matthew 8:14), but did you know that even Judas had a wife (cf. Acts 1:20, Psalm 109:8-9)?

The Catholic saint and bishop Hippolytus noted that in the third century, celibacy was not required for the clergy (and least not by his rival, Roman Bishop Callistus):

About the time of this man, bishops, priests, and deacons, who had been twice married, and thrice married, began to be allowed to retain their place among the clergy (Hippolytus. Refutation of All Heresies, Book IX, Chapter VII. Excerpted from Ante-Nicene Fathers, Volume 5. Edited by Alexander Roberts & James Donaldson. American Edition, 1886. Online Edition Copyright © 2005 by K. Knight).

Even The Catholic Encyclopedia acknowledges that from the beginning, celibacy was not a requirement for church leaders:

Turning now to the historical development of the present law of celibacy, we must necessarily begin with St. Paul’s direction (1 Timothy 3:2, 12, and Titus 1:6) that a bishop or a deacon should be “the husband of one wife”. These passages seem fatal to any contention that celibacy was made obligatory upon the clergy from the beginning (Thurston H. Transcribed by Christine J. Murray. Celibacy of the Clergy. The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume III. Copyright © 1908 by Robert Appleton Company. Online Edition Copyright © 2003 by K. Knight. Nihil Obstat, November 1, 1908. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York).

Celibacy became an ideal for the clergy in the East gradually, as it did in the West. In the fourth century we still find St. Gregory Nazianzen’s father, who was Bishop of Nanzianzos, living with his wife, without scandal. But very soon after that the present Eastern rule obtained. It is less strict than in the West. No one can marry after he has been ordained priest (Paphnutius at the first Council of Nicaea maintains this; the first Canon of the Synod of Neocaesarea in 314 or 325, and Can. Apost., xxvi. The Synod of Elvira about 300 had decreed absolute celibacy for all clerks in the West, Can. xxxiii, ib., pp. 238-239); priests already married may keep their wives (the same law applied to deacons and subdeacons: Can. vi of the Synod in Trullo, 692), but bishops must be celibate. As nearly all secular priests were married this meant that, as a general rule, bishops were chosen from the monasteries, and so these became, as they still are, the road through advancement may be attained (Fortesque A. Transcribed by Marie Jutras. Eastern Monasticism. The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume X. Copyright © 1911 by Robert Appleton Company. Online Edition Copyright © 2003 by K. Knight. Nihil Obstat, October 1, 1911. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York).

Here is a statement from that Synod of Elvira (about 305 A.D.) that is a little different than the above indicates:

We decree that all bishops, priests, and deacons, and all clerics engaged in ministry are forbidden entirely to live with their wives and to beget children: whoever shall do so shall be deposed from clerical dignity. (Bacchiocchi S. THE CATHOLIC PRIESTS CHILD SEX-ABUSE SCANDAL. Endtime Issues No. 82, 4 April 2002)

Thus the celibacy requirement for clergy did not occur until the fourth century. It, however, contradicts the biblical teaching on this matter and has never been a requirement for the true Church of God.

When the subject came up in the fourth century, a Greco-Roman bishop denounced it:

Paphnutius then was bishop of one of the cities in Upper Thebes: he was a man of such eminent piety, that extraordinary miraclas were done by him. In the time of the persecution he had been deprived of one of his eyes. The emperor honoured this man exceedingly, and often sent for him to the palace, and kissed the part where the eye had been torn out. So devout was the emperor Constantine. Having noticed this circumstance respecting Paphnutius, I shall explain. another thing which was wisely ordered in consequence of his advice, both for the good of the church and the honour of the clergy. It seemed fit to the bishops to introduce a new law into the church, that those who were in holy orders, I speak of bishops, presbyters, and deacons, should have no conjugal intercourse with the wives which they had married prior to their ordination. And when it was proposed to deliberate on this matter, Paphnutius having arisen in the midst of the assembly of bishops, earnestly entreated them not to impose so heavy a yoke on the ministers of religion: asserting that ” marriage is honourable among all, and the nuptial bed undefiled;” so that they ought not to injure the church by too stringent restrictions. ” For all men,” said he, ” cannot bear the practice of rigid continence ; neither perhaps would the chastity of each of their wives be preserved.” He termed the intercourse of a man with his lawful wife chastity. It would be sufficient, he thought, that such as had previously entered on their sacred calling should abjure matrimony, according to the ancient tradition of the church: but that none should be separated from her to whom, while yet unordained, he had been legally united…The whole assembly of the clergy assented to the reasoning of Paphnutius (Socrates Scholasticus.  Book 1, Chapter XI. A History of the Church in Seven Books: From the Accession of Constantine, A.D. 305, to the 38th Year of Theodosius II, Inluding a Period of 140 Years. Published by S. Bagster, 1844.  Original from Harvard University, pp. 53-54)

So as late as the early fourth century, the idea of required celibacy was opposed by most of the clergy. (Note: Some have questioned the above account. But here is what one Orthodox scholar, L. Cleenewerch has written on that, “This statement would seem to settle the matter now as it did then, if it was not for the fact that the Paphnutius story is now under suspicion of being a legend invented by Socrates himself…It should be admitted, though, that the reasons for rejecting the ‘Paphnutius intervention’ are rather weak: the improbability of his presence at the Council, and the suspected sympathy of Socrates for the Novatians who opposed the lex continentiae. Yet, Socrates Scholasticus is recognized as a reliable and intellectually honest historian”, pp. 374,375.)

It also appears that celibate orders are unbiblical and not really part of the earliest traditions. Noted historian Latourette wrote:

“Although it has been prominent in the churches in which the majority of Christians have been enrolled, monasticism was unknown in the first two centuries of Christianity…In a least one place in the New Testament those who forbade Christians to marry and commanded them to abstain from some kinds of food were deemed untrue to the faith”.  (Latourette K.S. A History of Christianity, Volume 1: Beginnings to 1500. Harper Collins, San Francisco, 1975, p. 223).

The Catholic Church in the 20th century put this out in a paper:

HOLY VIRGINITY and that perfect chastity which is consecrated to the service of God is without doubt among the most precious treasures which the Founder of the Church has left in heritage to the society which He established. This assuredly was the reason why the Fathers of the Church confidently asserted that perpetual virginity is a very noble gift which the Christian religion has bestowed on the world. They rightly noted that the pagans of antiquity imposed this way of life on the Vestals only for a certain time; and that, although in the Old Testament virginity is ordered to be kept and preserved, it is only a previous requisite for marriage…Further, the Fathers of the Church, such as Cyprian, Athanasius, Ambrose, John Chrysostom, Jerome, Augustine, and many others, have sung the praises of virginity. And this doctrine of the Fathers, augmented through the course of centuries by the Doctors of the Church and the masters of asceticism, helps greatly either to inspire in the faithful of both sexes the firm resolution of dedicating themselves to God by the practice of perfect chastity and of persevering thus till death, or to strengthen them in the resolution already taken…And while this perfect chastity is the subject of one of the three vows which constitute the religious state, and is also required by the Latin Church of clerics in major orders (Pope Pius XII. Sacra Virginitas, Encyclical on Consecrated Virginity. Promulgated on March 25, 1954).

Thus, the Roman Church, though admitting that permanent virginity is not a biblical position, wants to insist on this.

1 Timothy 4:1-3 warns that some will forbid marriage, which is what the Roman Church seems to be doing here.  And the Church  of Rome, and those abused by its clergy, have had many problems because of this unbiblical requirement.

Articles of related interest may include:

Celibacy for Bishops/Presbyters/Elders was not a requirement in the early Church.
Duties of Elders/Pastors were originally pastoral and theological, not predominantly sacramental.t believe that the Roman Catholic Church history teaches an unbroken line of succession of bishops beginning with Peter, with stories about most of them, Roman Catholic scholars know the truth of this matter. Is telling the truth about the early church citing Catholic accepted sources anti-Catholic? This eye-opening article is a must-read for any who really wants to know what Roman Catholic history actually admits about the early church.
Which Is Faithful: The Roman Catholic Church or the Continuing Church of God? Do you know that both groups shared a lot of the earliest teachings? Do you know which church changed? Do you know which group is most faithful to the teachings of the apostolic church? Which group best represents true Christianity? This documented article answers those questions.
Nazarene Christianity: Were the Original Christians Nazarenes? Should Christians be Nazarenes today? What were the practices of the Nazarenes.
Location of the Early Church: Another Look at Ephesus, Smyrna, and Rome What actually happened to the primitive Church? And did the Bible tell about this in advance?
Apostolic Succession What really happened? Did structure and beliefs change? Are many of the widely-held current understandings of this even possible? Did you know that Catholic scholars really do not believe that several of the claimed “apostolic sees” of the Orthodox have apostolic succession–despite the fact that the current pontiff himself seems to wish to ignore this view? Is there actually a true church that has ties to any of the apostles that is not part of the Catholic or Orthodox churches? Read this article if you truly are interested in the truth on this matter!
Early Church History: Who Were the Two Major Groups Professed Christ in the Second and Third Centuries? Did you know that many in the second and third centuries felt that there were two major, and separate, professing Christian groups in the second century, but that those in the majority churches tend to now blend the groups together and claim “saints” from both? “Saints” that condemn some of their current beliefs. Who are the two groups?
The History of Early Christianity Are you aware that what most people believe is not what truly happened to the true Christian church? Do you know where the early church was based? Do you know what were the doctrines of the early church? Is your faith really based upon the truth or compromise?

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