The Byzantine Forum
Newest Members
Alexander T., Raphael1999, Adrián Badida, fr nick, Andres Belizario
5640 Registered Users
Who's Online Now
1 registered members (Anthony), 172 guests, and 136 spiders.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
Latest Photos
Byzantine Nebraska
Church of the Holy Trinity (UGCC) - Brazil
Papal Audience 10 November 2017
Upgraded Russian icon corner
Russian Greek Catholic Global Congress
Forum Statistics
Forums26
Topics34,827
Posts412,417
Members5,640
Most Online3,380
Dec 29th, 2019
Previous Thread
Next Thread
Print Thread
Page 1 of 4 1 2 3 4
Vatican Website: Orthodox Churches & Priestly Celibacy #372145 11/20/11 04:24 AM
Joined: Nov 2001
Posts: 1,968
DTBrown Offline OP
Member
OP Offline
Member
Joined: Nov 2001
Posts: 1,968
Just came across this interesting article on the Vatican website:

The Orthodox Churches and Priestly Celibacy by Damaskinos Papandreou, Orthodox Metropolitan of Switzerland.

A snippet:

Quote
Putting the personal charism of celibacy into practice, the apostolic and patristic tradition regard as a personal gift from God. Those, therefore, who have chosen the celibate life have no right to pride themselves over the superiority of their spiritual combat: «If anyone can persevere in chastity in honour of the Lord’s flesh, let him do so without boasting about it. If he prides himself in this, he is lost; and if he tells anyone else about it except his own bishop, he is corrupt.» This personal charism is freely received and this spiritual combat is freely chosen. It cannot be imposed. It is not demanded by the nature of priesthood. The Church may require it for certain ministries. The Western Church requires it for those who are called to be priests and bishops. The Orthodox Church requires it, for pastoral reasons, for those who are called to be bishops.

Thus Orthodox tradition and practice honour and respect the celibacy of priests and praise their service in the body of the Church; at the same time, they honour and respect the married clergy since, they too, serve the same sacrament of the Church and salvation. The Orthodox Church thus accepts these two forms of service equally and leaves the choice of which it is to be to the individual member, in accordance with his own vocation and particular charisms. For pastoral reasons however, the Church has favoured the institution of celibacy for the order of bishops, and these are chosen exclusively from the celibate priesthood.



Re: Vatican Website: Orthodox Churches & Priestly Celibacy [Re: DTBrown] #372255 11/22/11 04:57 PM
Joined: Nov 2007
Posts: 450
D
danman916 Offline
Member
Offline
Member
D
Joined: Nov 2007
Posts: 450
Thanks for the article!

Re: Vatican Website: Orthodox Churches & Priestly Celibacy [Re: DTBrown] #372258 11/22/11 05:32 PM
Joined: May 2009
Posts: 1,208
S
sielos ilgesys Offline
Member
Offline
Member
S
Joined: May 2009
Posts: 1,208
Makes sense to me.

Re: Vatican Website: Orthodox Churches & Priestly Celibacy [Re: DTBrown] #372401 11/29/11 02:14 AM
Joined: Aug 2002
Posts: 4,678
Logos - Alexis Offline
Member
Offline
Member
Joined: Aug 2002
Posts: 4,678
What are the pastoral reasons for which Orthodoxy has "favored" (rather a weak word) celibacy for bishops, and how do these pastoral reasons not apply to priests?

Alexis

Re: Vatican Website: Orthodox Churches & Priestly Celibacy [Re: Logos - Alexis] #372402 11/29/11 02:22 AM
Joined: Jul 2005
Posts: 2,735
Slavipodvizhnik Offline
Member
Offline
Member
Joined: Jul 2005
Posts: 2,735
Because all bishops are monastics, and monastics, by virtue of their very nature, are celibate.

Alexandr

Re: Vatican Website: Orthodox Churches & Priestly Celibacy [Re: DTBrown] #372403 11/29/11 04:16 AM
Joined: Jan 2011
Posts: 610
J
JDC Offline
Member
Offline
Member
J
Joined: Jan 2011
Posts: 610
That's inaccurate. Some bishops are widowers. Because most celibates are monastics, most bishops are monastics, but the existence of widowed bishops demonstrates that the qualifying fact is celibacy, not monasticism.

Re: Vatican Website: Orthodox Churches & Priestly Celibacy [Re: DTBrown] #372404 11/29/11 04:18 AM
Joined: Nov 2001
Posts: 7,309
S
StuartK Offline
Member
Offline
Member
S
Joined: Nov 2001
Posts: 7,309
The first pastoral reason was the power and wealth entrusted to the bishop, which, it was felt, would pose an "organizational conflict of interest"--can the bishop be trusted not to put family interests ahead of the interests of the Church? The consensus was, better not put him in the way of temptation. As it turns out, not even celibacy could prevent nepotism--look at the Renaissance Popes.

The second pastoral reason had to do with monasticism as the ideal Christian vocation, which applies to everyone according to his status and gifts. The status of monastics rose very high in the 7th-8th centuries, and it was felt that this ideally suited them for the highest pastoral office.

As it turns out, this was an ideal seldom met in real life, and in any case, many bishops were only nominally "monastics", having either been widowed, or having (by mutual agreement) taken monastic orders along with his wife. But many took the tonsure and donned the schema only when it was apparent they would be elected bishop. They had never, before that time, lived as true monastics.

In the West, of course, the insistence on monastic orders was considered redundant--it was the celibacy they wanted, not the monasticism.

Re: Vatican Website: Orthodox Churches & Priestly Celibacy [Re: DTBrown] #372413 11/29/11 01:03 PM
Joined: Jul 2005
Posts: 2,735
Slavipodvizhnik Offline
Member
Offline
Member
Joined: Jul 2005
Posts: 2,735
A clarification to the precise relationship to the monastic life that is required of bishops: it is not precisely correct to say that all bishops are tonsured monastics. Tonsure corresponds to a certain degree of entry into the monastic life (generally at the giving of the schema); but non-monastics who become bishops are made rassophore monks - a stage which does not necessarily involve tonsure (only 'clothing' in the rasson). This is, for example, particularly common in Russia.

In such cases, the bishop in question is not a tonsured monk, but is still a monastic: a rassophore.

(As an aside, the rules on rassophores not living in a monastery are often quite less strict than for tonsured monastics; namely, one can often eat meat, etc.)

The main point here is that there might be some confusion as to certain traditions vis-a-vis the monastic stature of their bishops. It is simply not the practice for bishops not to be monastics, at least 'technically' vis-a-vis having been clothed in the rasson prior to (or, in some cases, as part of) their episcopal consecration. Is the thought that some traditions have non-monastic bishops a confusion over the stature of the rassophore vis-a-vis full tonsure?

Re: Vatican Website: Orthodox Churches & Priestly Celibacy [Re: DTBrown] #372420 11/29/11 06:46 PM
Joined: Nov 2007
Posts: 450
D
danman916 Offline
Member
Offline
Member
D
Joined: Nov 2007
Posts: 450
Here's a dumb question:

Why did Christians come to believe that monasticism was the ideal Christian vocation?

Is this the reason why sexual activity (at least in the west) even between married couples was always tinged with sin.

There was an old picture in the Baltimore Cathechism – a picture of a married couple is labelled as “good” a picture of a priest is labelled as “better.”

Where do they think the priests came from, the stork???

I don't understand the thinking here.

Re: Vatican Website: Orthodox Churches & Priestly Celibacy [Re: DTBrown] #372421 11/29/11 09:19 PM
Joined: Nov 2001
Posts: 7,309
S
StuartK Offline
Member
Offline
Member
S
Joined: Nov 2001
Posts: 7,309
The earliest Christians believed that the martyrs were the ideal Christians, bearing witness with their blood and their lives to the truth that Jesus Christ is Lord. After Constantine legitimized Christianity, that sort of martyrdom became more rare, and some men, like Abba Antony the Great, wishing to witness to Christ in a similar fashion, decided the best way to do so was through renunciation of the world, so that they could fulfill the commandment to "pray constantly" and without distraction.

Celibacy was part of the package not because sex was sinful or defiling, but because marriage was not consistent with the nature of monasticism--that is, to be monas, or alone. Through the solitary life, they attempted to transcend the passions and become "still", in order better to hear the inner voice of the Holy Spirit.

Marriage was not seen as better or worse, as the words of the Fathers indicate. Rather, marriage was one gift or vocation; and monasticism was another. As Saint Paul said, there are many gifts of the Spirit. Where monasticism stands as an ideal is in its single-minded focus upon God, and it is that which all Christians are called to emulate, even those who are married.

Re: Vatican Website: Orthodox Churches & Priestly Celibacy [Re: DTBrown] #372436 11/30/11 05:28 AM
Joined: Jan 2011
Posts: 610
J
JDC Offline
Member
Offline
Member
J
Joined: Jan 2011
Posts: 610
May I say with all respect that I see a massive over-compensation from Eastern Christians on the topic of celibacy?

As long as you've got both Jesus and Saint Paul on record saying that whoever can accept celibacy ought to, it's a bit of a losing battle to say celibacy isn't better, or not particularly valuable, or to dismiss it as a practice that arose late out of practical concerns about property, or from an improper Western fear of sex.

To whatever extent these things are true, they are also irrelevant. Jesus says it's better; so it's better.

Lucky for you, that's not the question that needs settling around the matter of married or celibate clergy, so don't argue as if it is.

Re: Vatican Website: Orthodox Churches & Priestly Celibacy [Re: DTBrown] #372438 11/30/11 06:06 AM
Joined: Jul 2005
Posts: 2,735
Slavipodvizhnik Offline
Member
Offline
Member
Joined: Jul 2005
Posts: 2,735
Celibacy outside of the context of a supportive monastic community is dangerous. This is why Orthodox monks are not often given the role of parish priest, unless they are attached to a local monastery. The pedophilia and homosexual scandals, as well as the many problems associated within celibate priesthood like depression and alcoholism all relate to this. This in of itself would not necessarily call for the elimination of the celibate priesthood, but it would behoove the Latin Church to make it's celibates live a communal lifestyle with other celibates. In Orthodoxy, there are only 2 choices, marriage or monasticism.There is no "single" life without the protection of monastic vows and the support of the monastic brotherhood.

Alexandr

Re: Vatican Website: Orthodox Churches & Priestly Celibacy [Re: DTBrown] #372439 11/30/11 06:50 AM
Joined: Jan 2009
Posts: 978
Nelson Chase Offline
Member
Offline
Member
Joined: Jan 2009
Posts: 978
I think when reading St. Paul on celibacy and marriage it is also important to remember that Christians of that time believed the Lord's parousia was going to happen in their lifetimes. This is important to consider before we label "celibacy is better than marriage."

All Christian vocations are a calling and gift from God. To say one is better or more exalted can lead us into the sin of pride. The Fathers of the Church speak of the beauty and holiness of marriage as does St. Paul.

Re: Vatican Website: Orthodox Churches & Priestly Celibacy [Re: DTBrown] #372449 11/30/11 01:16 PM
Joined: Jan 2011
Posts: 610
J
JDC Offline
Member
Offline
Member
J
Joined: Jan 2011
Posts: 610
Because that whole "scripture is divinely inspired" doesn't really mean *divinely* divinely?

Just one more on the long list of things rationalised away under the heading of "St Paul was a product of his culture so that bit doesn't really apply to us".

And what of Jesus' musings on the topic? Or was he just confused about his itinerary too?

Re: Vatican Website: Orthodox Churches & Priestly Celibacy [Re: JDC] #372450 11/30/11 05:31 PM
Joined: Jan 2009
Posts: 978
Nelson Chase Offline
Member
Offline
Member
Joined: Jan 2009
Posts: 978
I have said nothing of the sort. I am pointing out that it is important when looking at Sacred Scripture to remember that it was indeed written for a specific community of believers.


It was only later that the Church through the guidance of the Holy Spirit decided what letters and Gospels were Scripture and which were not. It is for the Church to decide how best to interpret Scripture and the Eastern and Western Churches have different views (go figure) on celibacy, priesthood, and the like. Both are Apostolic, both are Biblical, and both are equal in dignity.

I place my trust in the Eastern (and Western) Fathers of the Church and I will not presume to know more than they do on Sacred Scripture, marriage, priesthood, celibacy, and monasticism.



Last edited by Nelson Chase; 11/30/11 05:35 PM.
Page 1 of 4 1 2 3 4

The Byzantine Forum provides message boards for discussions focusing on Eastern Christianity (though discussions of other topics are welcome). The views expressed herein are those of the participants and may or may not reflect the teachings of the Byzantine Catholic or any other Church. The Byzantine Forum and the www.byzcath.org site exist to help build up the Church but are unofficial, have no connection with any Church entity, and should not be looked to as a source for official information for any Church. All posts become property of byzcath.org. Contents copyright - 1996-2020 (Forum 1998-2020). All rights reserved.
Powered by UBB.threads™ PHP Forum Software 7.7.3