Keith Hunt - An Unmarried Priesthood - Page Thirteen   Restitution of All Things

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An Unmarried Priesthood

Sex, black, cut, shave, confess!

                 SPIRITUAL DARKNESS IN THE MIDDLE AGES #13


An Unmarried Priethood 

By Ralph Woodrow


     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." 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
form."
     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
clergy." 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."
     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. Historians tell us that
"all the ecclesiastics had mistresses, and all the convents of
the Capitol were houses of bad fame." 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 prostitution. 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. 
     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"! As with
so many things, we "do not doubt that extremes have existed on
both sides. We realize also that with reports of immoral conduct
there is the possibility of exaggeration." But even allowing for
this, the problems that have accompanied the doctrine of
"forbidding to marry" are too obvious to be ignored. The Catholic
Encyclopedia, though seeking to explain and justify celibacy,
admits there have been many abuses. "We have no wish to deny or
to palliate the very low level of morality to which at different
periods of the world's history, and in different countries
calling themselves Christian, the Catholic priesthood has
occasionally sunk ... corruption was widespread ... How could it
be otherwise when there were intruded into bishoprics on every
side men of brutal nature and unbridled passions, who gave the
very worst example to the clergy over whom they ruled? ... A
large number of the clergy, not only priests but bishops, openly
took wives, and begot children to whom they transmitted their
benefices." 

(Some today would like to say the sexual abuse and immorality by
Priests was just made-up by those opposed to the Roman Catholic
church. But the scandal in 2010, about MANY sexual abuse cases in
the RC church, in different countries, and the cover-ups done
over the previous decades, attests to the sexual sins among some,
certainly the minority of Priests, but nevertheless, it has been
there in the RC church, and in previous ages, much worse - Keith
Hunt)

     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." 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." In these statements from The Catholic
Encyclopedia the careful reader will notice the words "forbid"
and "forbidding." The word "forbidding" is the same word the
Bible uses when warning about "forbidding to marry" - but in
exactly the opposite sense! The Bible terms forbidding to marry a
"doctrine of devils."

     Taking all of these things into consideration, we can see
how Paul's prediction (1 Tim.4:1-3) was fulfilled. Did a
departure from the original faith come? Yes. Did people give heed
to pagan doctrines, the doctrines of devils? Yes. Were priests
forbidden to marry? Yes. And because of this forced celibacy,
many of these priests ended up having their "consciences seared
with a hot iron" and "spoke lies in hypocrisy" because of the
immorality into which they fell.

     History has shown the fulfillment of each part of this
prophecy !
     The doctrine of forbidding priests to marry met with other
difficulties over the centuries because of the confessional. It
is plain to see that the practice of girls and women confessing
their moral weaknesses and desires to unmarried priests could
easily result in many abuses. A former priest, Charles Chiniquy,
who lived at the time of Abraham Lincoln and was personally
acquainted with him, gives a full account of such corruption in
connection with the confessional, along with actual cases, in his
book "The Priest, The Woman, and The Confessional." We are not
suggesting that all priests should be judged by the mistakes or
sins of some. We do not doubt that many priests have been very
dedicated to the vows they have taken. Nevertheless, "the
countless attacks" (to use the wording of The Catholic
Encyclopedia) that have been made against the confessional were
not, in many cases, without basis. That the doctrine of
confession has caused difficulties for the Romish church, in one
way or another, seems implied by the wording of The Catholic
Encyclopedia. After mentioning the "countless attacks," it says,
"If at the Reformation or since the Church could have surrendered
a doctrine or abandoned a practice for the sake of peace and to
soften a 'hard saying', confession would have been the first to
disappear"!  
     In a carefully worded article, The Catholic Encyclopedia
explains that the power to forgive sins belongs to God alone.
Nevertheless, he exercises this power through the priests. A
passage in John (20:22,23) is interpreted to mean a priest can
forgive or refuse to forgive sins. In order for him to make this
decision, sins "specifically and in detail" (according to the
Council of Trent) must be confessed to him. "How can a wise and
prudent: judgment be rendered if the priest be in ignorance of
the cause on which judgment is pronounced? And how can he obtain
the requisite knowledge unless it come from the spontaneous
acknowledgment of the sinner?" Having given priests the authority
to forgive sins, it is inconsistent to believe, says the article,
that Christ "had intended to provide some other means of
forgiveness such as confessing 'to God alone'." Confession to a
priest for those who after baptism commit sins, is "necessary
unto salvation." There is a type of confession that the Bible
teaches, but it is not confession to an unmarried priest! The
Bible says, "Confess your faults one to another" (James 5:16). If
this verse could be used to support the Catholic idea of
confession, then not only should people confess to priests, but
priests should confess to the people! When Simon of Samaria
sinned, after having been baptized, Peter did not tell him to
confess to him. He did not tell him to say the "Hail Mary" for a
given number of times a day. Peter told him to "pray to God" for
forgiveness (Acts 8:22)! When Peter sinned, he confessed to God
and was forgiven; when Judas sinned, he confessed to a group of
priests and committed suicide! (Matt.27:3-5).
     The idea of confessing to a priest came not from the Bible,
but from Babylon! Secret confession was required before complete
initiation was granted into the Babylonian mysteries. Once such
confession was made, the victim was bound hand and foot to the
priesthood. There can be no doubt that confessions were made in
Babylon, for it is from such recorded confessions - and only from
these - that historians have been able to formulate conclusions
about the Babylonian concepts of right and wrong.  
     The Babylonian idea of confession was known in many parts of
the world. Salverte wrote of this practice among the Greeks. "All
the Greeks from Delphi to Thermopylae, were initiated in the
mysteries of the temple of Delphi. Their silence in regard to
everything they were commanded to keep secret was secured by the
general confession exacted of the aspirants after initiation."
     Certain types of confession were also known in the religions
of Medo-Persia, Egypt, and Rome - before the dawn of
Christianity. 

     Black is the distinctive color of the clergy garments worn
by the priests of the Roman Catholic Church and some Protestant
denominations also follow this custom. But why black? Can any of
us picture Jesus and his apostles wearing black garments? Black
has for centuries been linked with death. Hearses, traditionally,
have been black, black is worn by mourners at funerals, etc. If
any suggest that black should be worn in honor of the death of
Christ, we would only point out that Christ is no longer dead!
On the other hand, the Bible mentions certain priests of Baal
that dressed in black! God's message through Zephaniah was this:
"I will cut off the remnant of Baal from this place, and the name
of the chemarims with the priests"(Zeph.1:4). The "chemarims"
were priests who wore black garments. This same title is
translated "idolatrous priests" in another passage about Baal
worship (2 Kings 23:5). Adam Clarke says, "Probably they were an
order made by the idolatrous kings of Judah, and called kemarim,
from camar, which signifies to be ... made dark, or black,
because their business was constantly to attend sacrificial
fires, and probably they wore black garments; hence the Jews in
derision call Christian ministers kemarim, because of their black
clothes and garments. Why we should imitate, in our sacerdotal
dress, those priests of Baal, is strange to think and hard to
tell."

     Another practice of the Catholic church which was also known
in ancient times and among non-Christian people is the tonsure.
The Catholic Encyclopedia says the tonsure is "a sacred rite
instituted by the Church by which ... a Christian is received
into the clerical order by shearing of his hair ... Historically,
the tonsure was not in use in the primitive Church ... Even later
St.Jerome (340-420) disapproved of clerics shaving their heads." 
     But by the sixth century the tonsure was quite common. The
Council of Toledo made it a strict rule that all clerics must
receive the tonsure, but today the custom is no longer practiced
in many countries.
     It is known and acknowledged that this custom was "not in
use in the primitive Church." But it was known among pagan
nations! Buddha shaved his head in obedience to a supposed divine
command. The priests of Osiris in Egypt were distinguished by the
shaving of their heads. The priests of Bacchus received the
tonsure. In the Catholic church, the form of tonsure used in
Britain was called the Celtic, with only a portion of hair being
shaved from the front of the head. In Eastern form, the whole was
shaved. But in the Roman form, called the tonsure of St.Peter,
the round tonsure was used, leaving only hair around the edges
with the upper portion of the head bald. The Celtic tonsure of
priests in Britain was ridiculed as being the tonsure of Simon
Magus. But why did Rome insist on the round tonsure? We may not
have the full answer, but we do know that such was "an old
practice of the priests of Mithra, who in their tonsures imitated
the solar disk. As the sun-god was the great lamented god, and
had his hair cut in a circular form, and the priests who lamented
him had their hair cut in a similar manner, so in different
countries those who lamented the dead and cut off their hair in
honor of them, cut it in a circular form"! That such was a very
ancient custom - known even at the time of Moses may be seen
right within the Bible. Such was forbidden for priests: "They
shall not make baldness upon their head" (Lev.21:5). And that
such "baldness" was the rounded tonsure seems implied from
Leviticus 19:27: "Ye shall not round the corners of your head."

                          .......................


Let's face it, or no matter how you cut it (pun intended), there
is  MUCH in the RC church, and some others, that does not come
from the people of God in the Bible, and especially the NT Church
of God.


Keith Hunt

To be continued with "The Mass"


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