22 January 2017

Married Clergy

I am willing to accept contributions on the following topic: the maintenance within the Ordinariates of the tradition of a married clergy.

I shall not enable anything scary or paranoid or uncharitably stated.

33 comments:

Matthew Celestine said...

Yeah, that would be great. Why should not the presbyter have his presbytera?

Joshua said...

How about, any Catholic of the Roman Rite who would be judged acceptable as a seminarian by wise and prudent priests, but for being married, could be enrolled in an Ordinariate to be ordained therefor, should that Ordinariate be otherwise short of priests, if and only if that person is most willing and able to embrace the Anglican Patrimony in communion with Rome and live, pray and minister accordingly?

Tom Broughton said...

Fr. Hunwicke,

Since our mutual friend, Fr. Phillips is a married priest, the following is a good segue into something important.

Archbishop GarcĂ­a-Siller, the ordinary of the Archdiocese of San Antonio, has removed Fr. Phillips as its pastor, citing a "pastoral concern." Well, his pastoral concern is that he does not want to lose Our Lady of Atonement, and all the revenue it generates to the Archdiocese of San Antonio, to the Ordinariate. So, in short, this Archbishop is acting like a petulant child and has decided to play politics. There is also a website that one of the founding parishioners of Atonement has set up to help with the cause. Here it is: http://saveatonement.org/ Here is an article from the San Antonio newspaper: http://www.expressnews.com/news/local/article/San-Antonio-Archdiocese-removes-priest-from-a-10874303.php#photo-12233957.

Many blessings to you. And please pray for Fr. Phillips and Our Lady of Atonement.

Tom

Banshee said...

1. Obviously the pastoral provision for those coming over to reconcile, should stay.

2. If Anglican Use seminaries are going to exist, approval for married men to become priests would be something you would want established right away. No takebacks, either. Otherwise you establish a tradition for clerical celibacy only, and it is hard for young men to discern their vocations.

3. Letting men stay clergy who have grown up Anglican Use guys, get ordained, and then get married - that would not fly.

4. Get help from Eastern Catholic priests on how men discern this stuff. Ditto for wives of guys wanting to go to seminary.

Arfur Smiff said...

First you has to ask yourself whether you would have become a priest if it meant you could not marry. If you answer no, it suggests you are not properly committed to the priesthood.

Then you have to ask yourself whether you would have gotten married if it meant you could not become a priest. If you answer no, it suggests you are not properly committed to your marriage.

Since you cannot with consistency answer both questions with a yes, it suggests that one cannot be a properly committed husband and priest at the same time.

David said...

I have found Dr. Edward Peter's writings on the distinction between clerical celibacy and continence to be very interesting.
http://www.canonlaw.info/a_deacons.htm

I don't believe that the canonical issues relating to the married diaconate are relevant to the Ordinariate. However, Dr. Peters also mentions some of the history of continence within married clergy. I wonder if this might be relevant, or worth exploring?

It seems to me that I read something about an Ordinariate Priest who, along with his wife, made a private vow of complete continence. But I can't recall the particulars, and I can't seem to find the article now.

Mario Josipovic said...

That is quite the question, Father! I will take the easy way out - rather than comment on the merits or demerits of a married clergy in the Ordinariate, I will note the rules that must guide any such commentary.

For your casual readers, Article VI, Section 2 of Anglicanorum Coetibus decrees a celibate priesthood as the rule for the Ordinariates:

"The Ordinary, in full observance of the discipline of celibate clergy in the Latin Church, as a rule (pro regula) will admit only celibate men to the order of presbyter. He may also petition the Roman Pontiff, as a derogation from can. 277, §1, for the admission of married men to the order of presbyter on a case by case basis, according to objective criteria approved by the Holy See."

Article VI, Section 1 of the Complementary Norms elaborate conditions under which the Ordinary may petition the Holy See to derogate from this rule:

"In order to admit candidates to Holy Orders the Ordinary must obtain the consent of the Governing Council. In consideration of Anglican ecclesial tradition and practice, the Ordinary may present to the Holy Father a request for the admission of married men to the presbyterate in the Ordinariate, after a process of discernment based on objective criteria and the needs of the Ordinariate. These objective criteria are determined by the Ordinary in consultation with the local Episcopal Conference and must be approved by the Holy See."

Interestingly, there is no express stipulation in the Complementary Norms that the "married men" referred to here be married, former Anglican clergy, or married, former Anglican laymen (i.e., theoretically they could be men baptized into and raised within the Ordinariate), although one would expect that, at least for the foreseeable future, married, former Anglican clergy would be the usual case in these situations (i.e., that this is the most concrete expression of the "Anglican ecclesial tradition and practice" referred to). The drafters do seem to have left open the possibility of authentic development of norms contemplating a permanent influx of married men into the Ordinariate priesthood (to accommodate, for example, certain parishes having a continual tradition of married priests, including over their pre-Ordinariate existence as a community). Of course, such objective norms would follow consultation with the local Episcopal Conference (which may entail its own challenges) and would require the Holy See's approval.

Ostensibly, such objective criteria would reflect evidence that the ministry of clergymen qua married clergy mattered to the members of particular Ordinariate parishes, formed part of their tradition, and encouraged the conversion of former Anglicans to the Ordinariate - i.e., that this is, in certain instances, an authentic expression of Anglican patrimony - and did not also reflect uncharitable motives to put into doubt the general rule of a celibate priesthood in the Latin Rite (to which, fundamentally, the Ordinariates belong).

Since this is structured as an exception to a rule, it is difficult to see how married clergy could be capable of becoming the norm over time. However, the converse - that the influx of married clergy will diminish as converts form a smaller constituency within the Ordinariates - should not be seen as the pre-determined outcome.

EPJ said...

Purely anecdotally - but I am not lying - and I'm sure you know that I'm not lying:

One Bishop, one founder of a religious order, two regional superiors and several priests in positions of formation have confirmed to me at one time or another that well over half of their candidates to the priesthood experience same-sex attraction and that their interpretation of the Vatican's disciplinary documents concerning that is that as long as these men are celibate they aren't going to ask them to leave formation. Likewise, these prelates confirmed that this had been the case for several decades already....

Married clergy?

Be careful what you wish for.

Tony V said...

I've no qualms about a married clergy, either in the Ordinariate or more widely.
I do have a couple practical questions:

1) How can we afford to pay a decent wage to a family man? (I'm not sure what celibate priests get in their pay packet, but kids are expensive.)
2) What do we do when they get divorced?

Albrecht von Brandenburg said...

This is a such a serious topic, that I offer the following doggerel (which Rorate Caeli amazingly posted, despite their enthusiasm for the position of Fr Laurent Touze) in order to lighten the mood:

I hate married priests!

I disapprove of sex!

As a spiritual director,

I really love to vex

young seminarians

with ice-cold showers:

an effective restraint upon

their generative powers!




I hate married priests!

Their filthy hands are vile

with which they hold Christ’s body

no doubt thinking, all the while,

of carnal, sinful pleasure

instead of meditation

- whilst taking communion -

on the mysteries of salvation.



I hate married priests!

I tell my seminarians

that married priests are worse by far

than modernists or Arians!

They live in unrepentant sin:

less dangerous to salvation

- just ask Saint Peter Damian -

is priestly fornication!



I hate married priests!

I sing paeons to virginity

As for continence in marriage,

well, I praise it to infinity!

I tirelessly urge young boys and girls

To imitate Saint Mary

and St Joseph in their sexless love

- a prospect most find scary.


I hate married priests!

their vile hands are filthy

from caressing women's bodies!

These criminals are guilty

of the foulest sins and vice!

of sacrilege and scandal!

I’d love to see their backsides booted

with the papal sandal!

Hrodgar said...

I don't have terribly strong opinions on the subject, but I agree with Dr. Ed Peters (http://www.canonlaw.info/a_deacons.htm) and the writers at Unam Sanctam Catholicam (http://www.unamsanctamcatholicam.com/component/content/article/79-history/465-celibacy-in-the-early-church.html) that clerical continence must be maintained, whether marriage is permitted or not.

josee allyn said...

I might write a 'warts and all' book one day , but for now,it seems, we clergy wives are to crated up and shipped out yet again. I am too weary to comment, and far from the hopeful days of the early Ordinariate, we now find ourselves as unloved by the establishment as ever. S.John Paul and The Venerable Benedict had a real appreciation of married clergy it would seem. Their personal interest and kindness remain, for me, a lighted beacon, but for now I/we should be quiet and get used to the darkness inside our shipping crates. (For reference google 'Mrs Cranmer').

Prayerful said...

Is there any sort of a sufficient living for clergyman and his family?

Woody said...

I migrated to Our Lady of a Walsingham in Houston from an SSPX chapel, and initially I was not favorably inclined to the idea of married Latin clergy, but I resolved to tolerate it at Walsingham. Then, little by little I came to know, and admire, both our founding pastor, a married priest, and his wife and children. Their family lived a life without any extras as the little Anglican Usage group could not provide much support, so Father had to work as a teacher at a local community college, but they bore these hardships with unfailing good humor. And then I found out that it was a great experience to go to confession to a married man who could relate more closely to my own struggles in the married life, and struggles with the children. Our founding pastor, Father James T. Moore, and his family made so many sacrifices, cheerfully, for many years, to get O.L. Walsingham on a firm footing; there were times when it seemed that the lack of means, the diocesan indifference, if not hostility, the slow growth of the congregation, and, yes, the hidden sense that we were being eclipsed, in our own little circle, by Atonement, in San Antonio, would go on forever, and yet they soldiered on. This example was a priceless gift from God to all of us who were there. I know that there are other very edifying examples of this kind of sacrificial perseverance among the celibate clergy, the examples of Saint Josemaria Escriva and Saint Theophane Venard, and Venerable Francis Mary Libermann come quickly to mind, but at the same time, it is not quite the same, as they were, you might say, more on their own, without Cyrenians of the same kind, so to speak.

I have known a few Orthodox clergy who are also married, with children, and it seems that there, too, the wife, especially, and also ideally the children, play an important supportive role in the parish life, one that, due to their closeness to the pastor, cannot be replicated simply by other virtuous families in the parish. Thus, and since celibacy has not been a discipline that was essential in Eastern Christianity, it seems to me that an opening of the Latin church to married clergy, done carefully and with discernment of the candidates, could well be very beneficial.

the Savage said...

As a half millennial tradition in the Anglican Church, and one which is clearly not incompatible with Catholic doctrine and practice, there should be a presumption in favour of keeping a married priesthood within the Ordinariates. Furthermore, at the level of lived experience, it seems undeniable that the role of a priest's wife, particularly in a parish setting, can be very enriching for the people of the parish and is a definite part of the Anglican patrimony.

Yet it also stands to reason that a married priesthood should be made to confirm with the practices of the early Church and Eastern Orthodox and Eastern Catholic patterns. First, this would mean no marriage after priestly ordination (or remarriage, even in the case of widowers). Married men could become priests, but priests could not marry. Second, there would be no married bishops. In order to secure the possibility of ordained bishops serving as ordinaries within the Ordinariates in the future, the Ordinariates should establish one or more celibate religious communities (or at least "societies of common life"). Married men who are interested in the priesthood could be encouraged to have a secular job and to consider the diaconate as a first step. Long service in the diaconate by married men should be encouraged and after a suitable number of years, married deacons could be considered as candidates for ordination, particularly to serve their local Ordinariate communities. While the celibate religious priests could be available for missions elsewhere - founding new Ordinariate communities, for instance, or contributing in other ways such as scholarship. And it would be from their ranks that future Ordinariate bishops could emerge.

Belfry Bat said...

The Savage mentions "half millenial" and all that; but there is a very old tradition of distinguishing long habit and tradition. There's a long habit, in some places, of denying Christ's Divinity, but we don't call that tradition.

I should like to know, therefore, how much the root of the Anglican Practise arises from before the schism and how much it arises from trying to confirm the schism. (Such as definitely is, e.g., a married episcopate).

(I do believe our host Fr. H. comes by his marriage and orders both quite honestly, and as both marriage and orders come with sanctifying graces eke chastisements, I'm sure they're both good for him. But I still don't know if their habitual confluence is good for the Church)

E sapelion said...

Each of the last two parishes (mainstream RC) in which I have lived has had at least two active members who were/are wives of Anglican clergy, there may be quite a lot of them. It would be interesting to hear their opinions. Incidentally was Henry VIII really unaware of the existence of Mrs Cranmer, it seems unlikely.

Br. Alexey Zawaski said...

I often wonder why trad Latins get so up in arms when one mentions the possibility of having married clergy in the Latin Church again as a common practice. It is one of the most ancient (and thus traditional) practices in the Church. It has existed in all the Eastern Churches since the very beginning of Christianity-even those Eastern Churches that broke communion with each other at an early age all had and still have today a tradition of married clergy who continued to have children with their wives after ordination. Despite some local proscriptions to the contrary, the same can be said of the Western Church for over 1,000 years! In some peripheral countries, like Iceland, the new universal Latin legislation against married clergy was disregarded even as late as the Protestant revolt. Iceland's last Catholic bishop, Jon Arason, who died as a martyr of the faith by the Lutherans in 1550, was married with children. How many Latin Catholics venerate the great St. Patrick, evangelizer of Ireland...and yet, his father, Calpurnius, was a deacon, and his grandfather, Potitus, was a priest. As I have read time and again in the lives of married priests in the Eastern Church...they came to great holiness and sanctified so many, including their families. The great Byzantine-Ukrainian Catholic Redemptorist Bishop-Martyr, Vasyl Velychkovsky's father was a married priest. His father was the most devoted and holy priest one could ask for that inspired Bl. Vasyl's own vocation. So, I can't see how some trad Latin Catholics can have much of an argument against having a married clergy with children besides the fact that they just don't personally like it...it's been from the beginning of the Church, and has produced numerous examples of HOLINESS. God blesses it, period.

Don Camillo SSC said...

I have offered some thoughts on the limits of papal authority with respect to marriage and the clergy on my blog fieldofdreams2010.wordpress.com and would be interested in your reaction, Father.

Albrecht von Brandenburg said...

Many people are very confused - and wrong - about the practices, ancient and mediaeval, in the Latin church with regard to clerical marriage. This confusion extends to Dr Ed Peters, and ivolves reading their own prejudices back into history.

Clement of Alexandria, the earliest post-scriptural writer to deal with the topic of clerical marriage says quite clearly in Stromata 3, XII:

"89. ...That is why the apostle ! also says: 'I wish then that the younger women marry, bear children, look after their houses, and give the adversary no occasion for abuse; for some have already turned aside after Satan.'

90. And indeed he entirely approves of the man who is husband of one wife, whether he be presbyter, deacon, or layman, if he conducts his marriage unblameably. 'For he shall be saved by child-bearing.' ... It is not marriage that is a sin but fornication, since otherwise they must say that birth and the creation of birth are sinful."

Pace Peters, Stickler, Cocchini and, I believe Cholij, as the above shows (and this is the only rational interpretation of Clement's words) the clergy were clearly sleeping with their wives after ordination.

Cf., Anthony Dragani's article: https://east2west.org/articles/mandatory_clerical_celibacy/

Actually, I understand Cholij recanted and is now in favour of clerical marriage.

Furthermore, there is the astonishing study - using the most traditional arguments - by Dr Heinz-Juergen Vogels, which proves that the alleged law of celibacy/impediment of holy orders/requirement of continence within clerical marriage lack(s) any sound theological or legal foundation, i.e., they are ultra vires of papal jurisdiction and thus no more than legal fictions - which is to say, they are invalid. (I converted SSPX clergy to be in favour of clerical marriage by providing them with this study!!!) "Celibacy: Gift or Law?" https://www.amazon.com/Celibacy-Gift-Heinz-J-Vogels/dp/1556126530

We don't know better than Our Lord, who for very good reason overwhelmingly chose married men to be his first bishops - without requiring them to be sexually continent. Neither St Peter Damian nor St Gregory VII were right to attempt to destroy clerical marriage - even of bishops - in the Latin Church. This was contrary to Christ's will. And the justification - ritual purity - was an invalid one, at the very least smacking of the Judaising heresy.

Now, I admit that I don't like Pope Francis. But I suspect that one of the providential reasons for his election is that at last, when the requirement - I refuse to say "law" - of celibacy has played its part in bringing the Latin priesthood not only to its knees, but so far as is humanly possible in a divine institution, to ruin, this historic injustice will at last be righted.

So take heart, Josee Allyn! Theology, jurisprudence and the positive will of Our Lord Jesus Christ are all on your side!

Oh, one small thing - you know how symbolism, dates, etc., are important to Our Lord (i.e., 100 years Fatima anniversary, 100 years of Satan' power over the church per Pope Leo XIII, etc)??

Well guess what:

Dr Vogels' birthday is, in the old calendar at least, the feast day of ST GREGORY VII!!!

Elisabeth F. said...

My two pennies (or should I write pence ?) worth -

1. At the time of entering seminary, the marital status of the seminarian may be either single or married, but not divorced or engaged. That status may not change.
2. If married, the wife must be committed to being an integral and essential part of the priest's ministry, particularly in regards to helping model a Catholic Christian family.
3. If the priest dies, the parish continues supporting the family as if the priest were still alive. If the wife dies, the parish continues supporting the family and steps in to help raising the motherless children.
4. I'm not sure what to think about bishops, but I am inclined to agree with them being unmarried on the grounds that bishops and their superiors must be in the fore of losing their lives to persecution and I would not wish that upon a family.
5. As to parishes supporting a priest with family, I see no problem when the parish is committed to living Christian values. This may mean that some folks may need to decrease luxuries. However, I know of no family which cannot afford to take in one more person - and the parish probably has as many families as the number of people in the priest's family.
6. Shortages of priests would not be a reason to "relax" the criteria for entering the seminary and becoming a priest. More does not mean as good or better.
7. With regards to the question of "what to do if there is a divorce?", I certainly would not express Prince Charles' comment that divorce is now part of family life." It is not when two people are committed to their vows. Many of us who are older know of couples who did not divorce in "those days". Additionally, nowadays there is the available benefit of counseling, Working hard to maintain a relationship comes with the territory. Willingness to do this may well be a stumbling block for some men aspiring to the priesthood.

As a single person who worked as a rural solo veterinarian, having a spouse would have made life so much more pleasant and would actually have enabled me to be more available. There also is much to recommend the presence of a nearly live-in housekeeper(s) for the priest.

Thank you.

Francis Arabin said...

I find the Savage's comment the most compelling so far. Hear!Hear! Ohyez! Ohyez!

Francis Arabin said...

I couldn't agree more with "the Savage".

Francis Arabin said...

I find the Savage's comment the most compelling so far. Hear!Hear! Ohyez! Ohyez!

Albrecht von Brandenburg said...

Picking up the theme of Br Alexey's post above, not only was there the famous bishop Jon Areson in Iceland, but the married Scottish martyr-Cardinal David Beaton, murdered by heretical monsters in front of his own children in St Andrews Castle.

Don Camillo SSC said...

I must read Vogel's book. Since both ordination and matrimony are holy sacraments, why should one suppose that the graces of either might not reinforce, rather than hinder, the graces of the other? My experience over forty plus years has been that being a father has deepened my understanding of the Fatherhood of God, and being a husband deepened my understanding of how Christ loves his Church. My wife was always an inspiration and support to me in my ministry, and marriage brought me closer to the real lives of my parishioners. Now she is with the Lord, I give thanks every day for all the blessings I received through her, and I am confident that her prayers and love still support me. The remarks of those who, I imagine, are not married only strengthens my belief that universal celibacy for the clergy is a bad thing.

Belfry Bat said...

In reply to Br., about who Our Lord called as Apostles... It was (and still remains, in places) the Jewish custom to have their young folk married as soon as decently possible, if they would not object. It would thus be very strange for Our Lord to have found many men willing to work hard and walk far, who were not judged by their neighbours fit to marry and were therefore unmarried. Moreover, He called John (the youngest Apostle), we are told by Tradition, away from his wedding.

In reply to Albrecht,

something I have received which I would also hand on... in reference to how your Clement there quotes Paul, though it's hard to tell from what you've quoted of Clement just how much of Paul's context Clement was considering...

About the strange phrase "The husband of one wife", quoted by your Clement, which Paul repeats several times; are we supposed to understand that there were several bigamists in the early church seeking commission as presbyters? But we are told that bigamy is not Christian, so it can never have been Christian (or else Henry VIII should have been a very happy man indeed). A learned and thoughtful priest once handed to me the interpretation of this phrase as describing a man who has not married again if his wife has died: a man who knows how to run a household but does not need the use of marriage. Implication: if that temperament is required, by Paul, of a priest in gentile sees, then that discipline is expected by Paul, of gentile priests.

Remember moreover that Paul is himself the great opponent of judaizing, who "resisted Peter to his face" on Peter's avoiding Greeks, and who only allowed one of his students circumcision for the sake of that student's jewish grandmother.

josee allyn said...

Thank you for your kind words,Albrecht V.B. I was , for many years the wife of a priest in the Church of England. Of course the position, in spite of Henry's occasional paranoia, was one of responsibility and priveledge. It may seem strange , especially in the present circumstances, to say that in The Anglo Catholic parish where my husband was rector before we left for America, it was the local Roman Catholic Clergy who were kind and accepting. Most of them were Irish and came from very large families. The rough and tumble of family life was a familiar thing for them. Unfortunately the Anglo Catholics had a rather puritanical view of married clergy and with a few(very few ) exceptions were unkind and narrow minded. Part of the present antipathy within Rome (I don't think the laity feel the same way, but rather welcome married clergy and their wives)to a married clergy probably stems from the increasingly narrow experience of family life . One understands that many clergy come from divorced families and that has to have a negative effect on their views about women. It is interesting that S. JP2 was magnanimous and wise in his views of family life, especially as his own family , though very loving and close was decimated by death , first of his mother and then his brother. Pope Benedict too had a close and loving family which must have been the source of his generosity in A C. There is so much more to say, but it is late and chores intrude. Goodnight from Texas.

Sean Mercer said...

Mr. von Brandenburg:

You are rather selective in your citations of Clement of Alexandria. In the same work you cite, he states that "a married cleric, having raised his children, had to live with his wife from the day of his ordination AS WITH A WOMAN-HELPER OR SISTER-WOMAN.

Sean Mercer said...

Mr. von Brandenburg:

Also, in his work, "The Apostolic Origins of Priestly Celibacy," Cochini (especially after the citation I gave you above) very aptly explains your quote in the only way it can be taken -- and it is not your conclusion. Just the opposite.

If you convinced an SSPX priest of your position with the book you mentioned, I would need to ask: is he still an "active" priest?

I wish I had the time to post long discussions. I am disappointed, however, that this blog seems to be increasingly inhabited by those who advocate the post-conciliar Wojtylian/Ratzingerian brand of neo-Modernism.

Don Camillo SSC said...

Having now read Dr Vogel's book, I think it should be compulsory reading for anyone wishing to discuss this question, covering as it does the history, theology and canonical status of the question. It put flesh on the bones of my own thinking.

William Tighe said...

Br. Alexey Zawaski wrote:

"It has existed in all the Eastern Churches since the very beginning of Christianity-even those Eastern Churches that broke communion with each other at an early age all had and still have today a tradition of married clergy who continued to have children with their wives after ordination."

Not in the case of the Perso-Mesopotamian Church. There, only those men could be ordained who had never married (let alone remarried) after baptism, and who were either, thus, celibates or widowers. The Persian Church altered this earlier discipline at two successive Synods of Seleucia in 484 and 496 so as to permit both the ordination of married men to the disconate, presbyterate, and episcopate, and to allow deacons, priests, and bishops both to marry or to remarry (if widowed) after ordination. Possibly this was in resp[onse to the strongly "pro-natalist" outlook of the Zoroastrian Sassanid Empire (which ruled the area from 227 to 637 AD), which periodically launched fierce persecutions against Christians. At a later date, it seems in the 12th or 13th Centiry, the Persian ("Nestorian") Church adopted the requirement that its bishops be monks, and thus celibate. To this day, however, deacons and priests in one of the descendants of the ancient Persian Church, the "Assyrian Church of the East," can marry and remarry both before and after ordination, and with no limit to the number of such marriages. (The other descendant of the ancient Persian Church, the Chaldean Catholic Church, which came into communion with Rome "by bits" between the 1760s and 1804, adopted as a condition of the reunion the clerical marital discipline of the other Eastern churches: celibate bishops, ordination of married men to the diaconate and presbyterate, but no marriage after ordination.

Albrecht von Brandenburg said...

Mr Mercer,

1. It is some time since I practised law, but I can assure you that the best way to win a case is to have your opponent make it for you. This is what happens when he makes "admissions contrary to interest", which is what Clement has done in the passage I quoted. It is the daily experience of the law that a person does not make a statement contrary to their interests unless it is likely to be true. Given the neo-platonic thought that infected the church during the patristic period, Clement's statement in support of non-continent clerical marriage is all the more unexpected, and its probative weight is greater than that of his allegation of the existence of an obligation of continence.

Furthermore, in the light of the observation of the clergy were still engaging in conjugal relations long after ordination (Pope) St Siricius in his decretal to Himerius, in 385, ask yourself whether the passage you rely on or the one I cited reflects what was happening accurately. Here is the relevant part of the decretal:

"Let us come now to the most sacred orders of the clergy, which we find so abused and so disorderly throughout your provinces to the injury of venerable religion, that we ought to say in the words of Jeremias: Who will water to my head, or a fountain of tears to my eyes? and I will weep for this people day and night. . . . For we have learned that very many priests and levites of Christ, after long periods of their consecration, have begotten offspring from their wives as well as by shameful intercourse, and that they defend their crime by this excuse, that in the Old Testament it is read that the faculty of procreating was given to the priests and the ministers."

Clement's statement that clergy were bound to continence is not consistent with the practice referred to in the decretal. I mean, if you have priests in Egypt and priests as far away as Spain (where Himerius was a bishop) engaging in the intercourse during marriage, it points to the existence of a universal right to non-continent clerical marriage. The alternative is the less likely hypothesis that at such an early age, the great mass of clergy were in rebellion against alleged apostolic legislation. Hardly likely.


Hence, the passage you rely on by Clement is irrelevant to my argument.


2. Any competent, non-agenda-driven classicist tell you that in I Cor 9:5 "adelphen gynaika" can only mean "a christian woman (hence sister) as a wife". Cochini and Clement are wrong. If it were "a wife as a sister" the word order would be "gynaika adelphen", which it is not. In that case, you WOULD have scriptural evidence suggesting an obligation of clerical continence. But you don't!

Vogels give some interesting treatment to this, relying on non-Greek versions of the passage to back this up.

3. One of the SSPX priests is now a university lecturer (but left for reasons that did not involve clerical marriage - just a policy disagreement), another is a relatively high-ranking member, still serving.

Belfry Bat,

I think the expression refers to a married bishop or a widower-bishop who did not subsequently re-marry.