The “Heresy” of Mandatory Celibacy: Power and Control.

At Enlightened Catholicism, Colleen has a commentary on a post at Clerical Whispers about Mandatory Celibacy as heresy. I do not want to go much further into this post ( read it at Clerical Whispers, or at Enlightened Catholicism, enriched by Colleen’s thoughts), except for one detail of great importance.

St. Bernard of Clairvaux correctly prophesied in 1135 AD, “Take from the Church an honorable marriage bed, and do you not fill it with concubineage, incest, homosexuality, and every kind of uncleanness?”

But Pope Gregory VII stated, “The Church cannot escape from the laity unless priests first escape the clutches of their wives.”

That’s it in a nutshell: As Michael B Kelly has pointed out, it’s all about creating a two-caste system: a celibate ruling class who have “escaped” from lay influence, and a subordinate caste of laity, sullied by the “impurity” of sexual expression. It’s no wonder that Vatican theologians are so anxious to promote heir restrictive, dangerous views on body theology. Anything else would threaten their own power and control.

Mandatory celibacy is harmful to the clergy’s own mental health, and so also damaging to the rest of us – as the problems with clerical abuse of children and adults have shown. By leading to repressive and unsound teaching on the body, it is also harmful to the rest of us.

It really must go.

(UPDATE: The original source for the post at Clerical Whispers is a three part series at Salem News, under the title “The Roman Catholic Church Now Faces a New Reformation“, which provides a summary of the new book “Illicit Celibacy and the Deposit of Faith” by Edgar Davie, a 75-year old Catholic layman. He has quietly read ancient literature, scripture, and Dogmatic Catholic theology for 30 years, and explains this heresy both historically and theologically.

He notes the most intriguing problem seems to be that life-long Catholic scholars are taught to ‘think in the box’ and have therefore failed to see an error lying in plain view for 900 years. Because this story develops over 2000 years it cannot be reduced to soundbites. It’s really a simple story but must be read.

The summary is worth reading in full. For more, you can read a summary of the theological issues, or a summary of the history of mandatory celibacy, at ).

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