AN UNMARRIED PRIESTHOOD
THE SPIRIT SPEAKETH expressly, that in the latter times,
some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing
spirits, and doctrines of devils; speaking lies in hypocrisy;
having their conscience seared with a hot iron; FORBIDDING TO
MARRY..." (1 Tim.4:1-3).
In this passage, Paul warned that a departure from the true
faith would occur in later or latter times. "This does not
necessarily imply the last ages of the world", writes Adam Clarke
in his noted commentary, "but any times consequent to those in
which the Church then lived."1 Actually, this departure from the
faith, as those who know history understand, took place back in
the early centuries.
The first Christians recognized the worship of pagan gods as
the worship of devils (1 Cor.10:19,21). It follows, then, that
Paul's warning about "doctrines of devils" could certainly refer
to the teachings of the pagan mysteries. He made special mention
of the doctrine of "forbidding to marry." In the mystery
religion, this doctrine did not apply to all people. It was,
instead, a doctrine of priestly celibacy. Such unmarried priests,
Hislop points out, were members of the higher orders of the
priesthood of the queen Semiramis. "Strange as it may seem, yet
the voice of antiquity assigns to the abandoned queen the
invention of clerical celibacy, and that in its most stringent
Not all nations to which the mystery religion spread
required priestly celibacy, as in Egypt where priests were
allowed to marry. But, "every scholar knows that when the worship
of Cybele, the Babylonian goddess, was introduced into Pagan
Rome, it was introduced in its primitive form, with its celibate
Instead of the doctrine of "forbidding to marry" promoting
purity, however, the excesses committed by the celibate priests
of pagan Rome were so bad that the Senate felt they should be
expelled from the Roman republic. Later, after priestly celibacy
became established in papal Rome, similar problems developed.
"When Pope Paul V sought the suppression of the licensed brothels
in the 'Holy City', the Roman Senate petitioned against his
carrying his design into effect, on the ground that the existence
of such places was the only means of hindering the priests from
seducing their wives and daughters."4
Rome, in those days, was a "holy city" in name only. Reports
estimate that there were about 6,000 prostitutes in this city
with a population not exceeding 100,000.5
Historians tell us that "all the ecclesiastics had
mistresses, and all the convents of the Capitol were houses of
A fish pond at Rome which was situated near a convent was
drained by order of Pope Gregory. At the bottom were found over
6,000 infant skulls.
Cardinal Peter D'Ailly said he dared not describe the
immorality of the nunneries, and that "taking the veil" was
simply another mode of becoming a public prostitute. Violations
were so bad in the ninth century that St.Theodore Studita forbade
even female animals on monastery property!
In the year 1477, night dances and orgies were held in the
Catholic cloister at Kercheim that are described in history as
being worse than those to be seen in the public houses of
Priests came to be known as "the husbands of all the women."
Albert the Magnificent, Archbishop of Hamburg, exhorted his
priests: "Si non caste, tamen caste" (If you can't be chaste, at
least be careful). Another German bishop began to charge the
priests in his district a tax for each female they kept and each
child that was born. He discovered there were eleven thousand
women kept by the clergymen of his diocese.8
"The Catholic Encyclopedia" says the tendency of some to rake
these scandals together and exaggerate details "is at least as
marked as the tendency on the part of the Church's apologists to
ignore these uncomfortable pages of history altogether"!9...
There is no rule in the Bible that requires a minister to be
unmarried. The apostles were married (1 Cor.9:5) and a bishop
was to be "the husband of one wife" (1 Tim.3:2). Even The
Catholic Encyclopedia says, "We do not find in the New Testament
any indication of celibacy being made compulsory either upon the
apostles or those whom they ordained."11
The doctrine of "forbidding to marry" developed only
gradually within the Catholic church. When the celibacy doctrine
first began to be taught, many of the priests were married men.
There was some question, though, if a priest whose wife died
should marry again.
A rule established at the Council of Neo-Caesarea in 315
"absolutely forbids a priest to contract a new marriage under the
pain of desposition." Later, "at a Roman council held by Pope
Siricius in 386 an edict was passed forbidding priests and
deacons to have conjugal intercourse with their wives and the
Pope took steps to have the decree enforced in Spain and other
parts of Christendom."l2
Woodrow gives more examples of Roman Catholic errors of teaching.
1.Clarke's Commentary, vol.6, p.601.
2.Hislop, 'The Two Babylons,' p.219.
5.Durant, 'The Story of Civilization: The Reformation,' p.21.
6.D'Aubigne, 'History of the Reformation,' p. 11.
7.Flick, 'The Decline of the Medieval Church,' p.295.
8.D'Aubigne, 'History of the Reformation,' p.11.
9.The Catholic Encyclopedia, vol.3, p.483, art. "Celibacy."
13.Ibid., vol.11, p.625, art. "Penance."
15.Saggs, 'The Greatness that was Babylon,' p.268.
16.Hislop, 'The Two Babylons,' pp.9,10.
17.Fausset's Bible Encyclopedia, p.291, art. "High places."
18.Clarke's Commentary, vol.2, p.562.
19.The Catholic Encyclopedia, vol.14, p.779, art. "Tonsure."
21.Hislop, 'The Two Babylons,' p.222.
Woodrow does not address and answer the section in the Gospels
where Jesus told His disciples that "whoever sins you remit shall
be remitted, and whoever sins you retain, shall be retained"
I will answer the question that you may have regarding this
Is there ever a time when a disciple of Jesus has the right to
remit or retain a persons sins?
Yes, as surprising as it may sound to some of you, there is such
a time. If fact two times specifically.
The first is when a disciple of Christ is guiding and counselling
someone to "baptism" - such a disciple must make a spiritual
judgment as to the heart and mind of they who are wanting to be
baptized by them. Baptism must be accompanied before-hand with
"repentance" and repentance must involve the subject of sin, what
it is and what to repent of. All the details of these two subject
(repentance and baptism) are covered in depth on this Website.
Someone baptizing another must make a judgment call as to the
heart and mindset of the one wanting to be baptized. It may be
possible the motive for wanting baptism is not what it should be,
and should be refused, hence a retaining of sin in that sense,
towards that person. Then on the other hand, it may be judged the
heart and mind is correct towards God and sin, and so the baptism
goes ahead, and sins are remitted.
The second instance of disciples remitting or retaining sins, is
under the subject of "church disfellowship" which I have covered
in-depth in another study. I refer the reader to that study, for
the full answer.
Some may still want to argue the point of a disciple of Jesus
having the power and right to remit or retain sins. But the fact
is that verse and that instruction was said by Jesus, to His
disciples, hence there MUST be a time WHEN this is within the
right and power of a disciple of Christ.
I have given you how that can be, and it is NOT at all the
"confessional" doctrine of the Roman Catholic church.
Then there is the recent LARGE scandal (2002-03) in the Roman
Catholic church with sexual abuse on boys by some of the "clergy"
of that church organization. It went all the way to the Pope who
had to speak out about it. It has caused meetings of bishops etc.
to try and figure out what can be done to prevent all this, but
at this time, a married priesthood is not being considered. The
doctrine of an un-married priesthood is still firmly entrenched
in the Roman Catholic church - Keith Hunt.
TO BE CONTINUED