Author Topic: Can we have an honest debate on Married Priests and Deaconesses  (Read 226 times)

Offline TheReturnofLive

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Can we have an honest debate on Married Priests and Deaconesses
« on: October 22, 2019, 06:14:47 PM »
It's very obvious that agenda of Deaconesses and Married Priests is an underlying ideological motivation with further goals which intend to contradict Church history (the abolishment of hierarchy or female priests). At the same time, however... can we acknowledge the historical reality of these two institutions? While perhaps they were abolished for the better or for the worse, that the Church did actually have them?

In Romans 16:1,
"AND I commend to you Phebe, our sister, who is a deacon of the Church, that is in Cenchrae:"

The Greek word in this text is literally "διάκονον", or "diaconon"

From Pliny the Younger to the Roman Emperor Trajan, 111-113 AD

"They asserted, however, that the sum and substance of their fault or error had been that they were accustomed to meet on a fixed day before dawn and sing responsively a hymn to Christ as to a god, and to bind themselves by oath, not to some crime, but not to commit fraud, theft, or adultery, not falsify their trust, nor to refuse to return a trust when called upon to do so. When this was over, it was their custom to depart and to assemble again to partake of food--but ordinary and innocent food. Even this, they affirmed, they had ceased to do after my edict by which, in accordance with your instructions, I had forbidden political associations. Accordingly, I judged it all the more necessary to find out what the truth was by torturing two female slaves who were called deaconesses. But I discovered nothing else but depraved, excessive superstition."

Let's also not forget that St. Olympias of Constantinople, who was incredibly close to St. John Chrysostom. Who was a Deaconess.

http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/1916.htm


As for married priests, this article sums it up.

http://www.stmaryorthodoxchurch.org/orthodoxy/articles/married_bishops
But I want to go further than that, and point out Pope St. Gregory the Great's Dialogues, and the story of the Priest Ursinus.

"
Neither must I forget that which the reverent Abbot Stephen (who not long since died in this city, and whom you knew very well) told me to have happened in the same province of Nursia. For he said that a Priest dwelt in that country, who in the fear of God governed the church committed to his charge: and although, after he had taken orders, he did still love his old wife as his sister, yet did he avoid her as his enemy: and never would he permit her to come near him upon any occasion, abstaining wholly from all |191 intercourse of familiarity. For this is a thing proper to holy men, oftentimes to deprive themselves of those things which be lawful, to the end they may remain the freer from such as be unlawful: and therefore this man, not to fall into any sin, utterly refused all necessary and requisite service at her hands.

When this reverent man had long lived in this world, the fortieth year after he was made priest, by a great and vehement ague [he] was brought to the last cast: his old wife, beholding him so far spent, and to lie as though he had been dead, put her head near unto him, to see whether he did breathe or no: which he perceiving, having yet a little life left, enforced himself to speak as well as he could, and in great fervour of spirit brake out into these words: "Get thee away, woman: a little fire is yet left, away with the straw." After she was gone, his strength somewhat increasing, he began with great joy to cry out: "Welcome, my Lords, welcome, my Lords: why have you vouchsafed to visit me, your unworthy servant? I come, I come: I thank you, I thank you": and when he did often repeat these and the like words, his friends that were present asked him to whom he spake, to whom with a kind of admiration he answered: "What? do you not here behold the holy Apostles? Do you not see the chief of them, St. Peter and St. Paul?" And so, turning himself again towards them, he said: "Behold I come, behold I come": and in speaking those words, he gave up his happy ghost. And that he did indeed verily behold the holy Apostles, he testified by that his departure with them. And thus it doth often fall out, by the sweet providence of God, that good men at their death do behold his Saints going before them, and leading as it were the way, to the end they should not be afraid at the pangs thereof; and that whiles their souls do see the Saints in heaven, they may be discharged from the prison of this body, without all fear and grief."


With this evidence, does anybody have any opinions on why things developed the way they did; how important was celibacy in the Early Church in context of these things; and whether these developments were for the better or the worse?
« Last Edit: October 22, 2019, 06:16:20 PM by TheReturnofLive »
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Offline Conclavist

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Re: Can we have an honest debate on Married Priests and Deaconesses
« Reply #1 on: October 25, 2019, 12:03:11 AM »
As far as women becoming deaconesses or priests, for me I admit this is a bit of a blind spot and a question I didn't have an answer to growing up, why women couldn't be priests. "Deaconesses" don't go to the level of priest, so that was maybe allowed simply because it was possible, but then over time maybe abandoned as it gave the wrong impression that women could continue further beyond deaconess to becoming a priest?

As far as married priests goes, I think it might be good to permit them more (?) however it would then probably cost a lot more to support a priest and his family for a parish, and divide the priest's ability to focus totally on spiritual things. It would seem like a lot of responsibility to try to have a large Catholic family, pray the breviary and mass every day, work, and attend to other spiritual issues. It seems like basic "division of labor" that priests can be celibate and focus entirely on working on Church issues, and husbands and wives can focus totally on taking care of their families.
 

Offline Kreuzritter

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Re: Can we have an honest debate on Married Priests and Deaconesses
« Reply #2 on: October 25, 2019, 05:47:37 AM »
Quote
With this evidence

Evidence of what though? Deacon is just a word.
 

Offline Gardener

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Re: Can we have an honest debate on Married Priests and Deaconesses
« Reply #3 on: October 25, 2019, 07:51:07 AM »
Deacon just means one who serves or provides a ministry. But it is not necessary, especially when applied to a woman, that it mean one in the "order" of Deacons. Just like it is not necessary, when applied to humans, that "angel" or "messenger" mean an angel in the order of angels, a la spirits.

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Offline John Lamb

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Re: Can we have an honest debate on Married Priests and Deaconesses
« Reply #4 on: October 25, 2019, 02:16:31 PM »
My understanding is that the sacramental theology of the Church has developed to understand "Deacon" as a participator in the sacrament of Holy Orders, and as one of the chief ministers at the altar during Mass. Deaconesses in the early Church were lower ecclesiastical servants, not ministers to the altar. If we were to accept "Deaconesses" today it would effectively mean women standing at the altar beside the priest throughout the entire celebration of the Liturgy, something clearly opposed to Tradition and the apostolic and patristic practice. Therefore, the term "Deaconess" should be avoided today to prevent this confusion and malpractice.

As for priestly celibacy, my understanding is that in the apostolic and patristic eras, the Church did ordain married men to the priesthood, but subsequent to their ordination they were expected to practice perfect continence (no marital relations after ordination). Obviously not all married priests succeeded in abstaining from their wives and practicing the apostolic clerical continence, which brought on two responses: in the West, the canon law became more strict as to preserve the clerical continence taught by the apostles and fathers, by denying Holy Orders to married men altogether (introducing the law priestly celibacy); in the East, the canon law became more lax, effectively giving up the apostolic and patristic expectation of clerical continence to indulge priests who failed to meet that expectation; however, bishops in the East continued to observe the apostolic practice. All that being said, I think the West was right on this subject in making the law more strict rather than more lax, and should not imitate the laxism of the East in regards to clerical continence. There are sound biblical, evangelical, spiritual, and even practical reasons for the practice of priestly continence, which priestly celibacy safeguards.
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Offline John Lamb

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Re: Can we have an honest debate on Married Priests and Deaconesses
« Reply #5 on: October 25, 2019, 02:25:25 PM »
Also, it made sense in the early Church to ordain married men, because the obligation of men to marry (especially among the Jews) was so strong that you could hardly expect to find sufficient numbers of unmarried men for the priesthood. However, after they were called to the priesthood, they were expected to give up their wives in service of the Gospel. Later on, as the faith spread and the dignity and desirability of virginity and celibacy came to be more and more appreciated by the peoples converted to the gospel, there was now a sufficiently abundant source of unmarried men to make priests of that the early practice of ordaining married men was no longer necessary, and, since it was never the ideal in the first place, it was abandoned (at least in the West, where clerical continence was more rigorously preserved).
As many as received him, he gave them power to be made the sons of God, to them that believe in his name. (John 1:12)
 
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