Pope resigned to purge “the filth”?

John Cornwell, a recognized Catholic journalist, says that the real reason the pope is resigning is because in doing so the whole Curia–the Vatican bureaucracy that is reportedly rife with financial and sexual corruption–must step down when he does.  Thus, the pope is sacrificing himself to clean up the Vatican.

From John Cornwell:

Resignation isn’t in Benedict’s vocabulary. The real reason he has quit is far more spectacular.

It is to save the Catholic Church from ignominy: he has voluntarily delivered himself up as a sacrificial lamb to purge the Church of what he calls ‘The Filth’. And it must have taken courage.

Here is the remarkable thing you are seldom told about a papal death or resignation: every one of the senior office-holders in the Vatican  – those at the highest level of its internal bureaucracy, called the Curia – loses his job.

A report Benedict himself commissioned into the state of the Curia landed on his desk in January. It revealed that ‘The Filth’ – or more specifically, the paedophile priest scandal – had entered the bureaucracy.

He resigned in early February. That report was a final straw. The Filth has been corroding the soul of the Catholic Church for years, and the reason is the power-grabbing ineptitude and secrecy of the Curia – which failed to deal with the perpetrators. Now the Curia itself stands accused of being part of The Filth.

Benedict realises the Curia must be reformed root and branch. He knows this is a mammoth task.

He is too old, and too implicated, to clean it up himself. He has resigned to make way for a younger, more dynamic successor, untainted by scandal – and a similarly recast Curia.

Benedict was not prepared to wait for his own death to sweep out the gang who run the place.

In one extraordinary gesture, by resigning, he gets rid of the lot of them. But what then? . . .

Rivalries between departments, vendettas between individuals, naked ambition, calumny, backstabbing and intrigues are endemic. . . .

Not surprisingly, some of the bureaucrats let off steam in unpriestly ways. Some are actively gay men who cannot normalise their lives with a partner because of Catholic teaching.

They frequent discreet bars, saunas and ‘safe houses’. On another level there are individuals known to have a weakness for sex with minors.

It appears the people who procure these sexual services have become greedy. They have been putting the squeeze on their priestly clients to launder cash through the Vatican. There is no suggestion that the bank has knowingly collaborated.But in January, Italy’s central bank suspended credit-card activities inside Vatican City for ‘anti-money-laundering reasons’.

The Pope was already furious over the theft by his butler of private correspondence and top-secret papers last year. The thefts were probably an attempt to discover how much the Pope knew of malfeasance within the Curia.

Then news of a Vatican sex ring and money scams reached his ears late last year. Benedict should not have been surprised. Hints of a seamy Vatican underworld have been surfacing for years.

In March 2010, a 29-year-old chorister in St Peter’s was sacked for allegedly procuring male prostitutes, one of them a seminarian, for a papal gentleman-in-waiting who was also a senior adviser in  the Curial department that oversees the church’s worldwide missionary activities.

Last autumn Benedict ordered three trusted high-ranking cardinals to investigate the state of the Curia. This was the report that was delivered to him just weeks ago.

It was meant for Benedict’s ‘eyes only’ but details of a sex ring and money-laundering scams last week reached the Italian weekly Panorama. Then the daily La Repubblica ran the story.The timing of the report has coincided with fresh allegations of priestly sexual abuse in Germany. Meanwhile, Cardinal Roger Mahony of Los Angeles and Cardinal Sean  Brady of Ireland have been accused of covering up paedophile abuse.

Benedict has resigned to ensure that the whole ‘Filth’ from many countries of the world right up to the Vatican centre is cleansed. He has given up his job to kick out all the office-holders and start again.

Gay sex rings, ‘The Filth’ corrupting the Vatican…and why the Pope REALLY quit | Mail Online.

But surely it would have been within the pope’s power to just sack everybody without resigning.  I suppose it isn’t clear who is guilty and who is innocent, so his gesture–if this analysis is correct and perhaps it isn’t–would just wipe the slate clean, leaving it to his successor to appoint all new people, if he would take the opportunity instead of just reappointing everyone as often happens.

When a cardinal–or Protestant pastor–who has been teaching against homosexuality is caught succumbing to homosexuality himself, the media charges “hypocrisy.”  But while those who fall into such scandals show their lack of personal integrity, we can see a larger institutional integrity.  Would we respect a cardinal or pastor more if, because of his personal proclivity, he changed the message of his church to say that there is no moral problem with homosexuality?  It’s surely better to teach against one’s own sins.

That is to say, hypocrisy is indeed a grievous sin when one’s behavior contradicts one’s beliefs.  But to deal with the hypocrisy, the solution is to change one’s behavior (which is not easy) so that it accords with  one’s beliefs.  Some people advocate changing the beliefs to accord with the behavior, thus being consistent while leaving the moral issue undealt with.

At any rate, the conclave of cardinals that will elect a new pope starts this week, with preliminary meetings scheduled to take place before they get down to voting.

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • tODD

    Okay… If all this is true, then are we meant to believe that “The Filth” somehow only crept into the Curia since Benedict became Pope? If not, then why didn’t JPII’s death likewise clean things up? Either the proffered motive wasn’t effective last time we got a new Pope, or the then-new Pope (i.e., Benedict) didn’t do a very good job of overseeing the new Curia hires, and let The Filth right back in. If so, then why wouldn’t that happen again with the Pope-to-be-named-later? I suppose one could argue that the next Pope would be more aware of the problem, but, honestly, didn’t Benedict also have reason to be alert?

  • fjsteve

    With people like Mahoney who are themselves entangled in the coverup actually casting a vote, I’m not hopeful that the new lot will be any better. But, to Rome’s and Benedict’s credit, there has been quite a lot of house cleaning in the last few years to maybe at least the percentages will be better.

  • http://acroamaticus.blogspot.com Mark Henderson

    Are we sure the entire Curia steps down upon the resignation of a Pope? That would make the Vatican even more dysfunctional than it apparently is. I suspect the grain of truth in the report is that the Pope Emeritus hopes that the new Pontiff will use the opportunity given to him to clean house. And I hope he does so with gusto – for the victims primarily but also because these serial scandals are hurting all of us. I’m afraid there are more to come, too.

  • tODD

    Mark (@3), according to Wikipedia:

    It should be noted that all members of the Curia except the Cardinal Camerlengo and the Major Penitentiary resign their office immediately after a papal death or resignation

    It’s just not clear to me how likely it is for those who recently resigned to be hired right back into their offices, which can happen, for example, in a similar fashion to cabinet heads in an administration change in our country.

  • http://acroamaticus.blogspot.com Mark Henderson

    Thanks Todd. It seems it is the heads of the various secretariates or dicasteries that resign, not the Curia bureaucracy itself, which is the larger part of the problem if Vatican watchers are to be believed. And I can believe them – did you get ‘Yes Minister’ and ‘Yes Prime Minister’ on US TV?

  • Advocate

    First consider the source, John Cornwell is an angry ex-seminarian with an axe to grind. As the author of Hitler’s Pope, a calumny against Pope Pius XII that has been repeatedly denounced for factual error and lack of balance in his analysis, Cornwell made a series of accusations that were more aimed at attacking the authority of the papacy than presenting any sort of historical record.

    Then consider the lead sentence: “Resignation isn’t in Benedict’s vocabulary.” False. Cardinal Ratzinger has written about the possibility of a papal abdication (the correct word for the action) for over a decade, starting with the slow decline in the health of John Paul II.

    I have no doubt that there is a “Lavender Mafia” at the Curia. It was well entrenched in Catholic seminary circles decades ago – much like the ELCA has made it own rapid decline into filth. Yet Benedict did not resign because of it. If anything, he realized that he lacked the strength to purge the Augean Stables and that the task must fall to a younger man.

  • Orianna Laun

    It seems as though this will likely not curtail the problems. After all, Rome has had similar issues since Luther’s time. He was disgusted with the brothels and such in the Holy City 500 years ago. This will likely lead to a power vacuum of sorts, not to mention that it begs the question: will the people who come in next be more upright and godly? If not, then the resignation was for naught.

  • SKPeterson

    Something of that is hinted at here: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/mar/04/catholic-cardinals-pope-benedict, though the article is much more benign than the rather misleading title. There is a “mess,” but not too much about what that “mess” is, or even a surmise as to why Benedict may have been unable to deal with the mess. It is not as if the abuse scandals suddenly came out of nowhere under his tenure.

  • Gary

    They need Gods law and gospel to clean out the filth, not a regime change.

  • http://thinkingwithareformedmind.blogspot.com Steven Mitchell

    The fact that the story ran in the Daily Mail should be the first indication that one needs to read it with an enormous dose of salt.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com bike bubba

    I’m with the others on this; if there is a problem, why not just deal with it? On the flip side, in the business world, I’ve all too often seen companies that were incapable of dealing with known problem people, and it was left to the successors of the “reigning executives” to clean house. I would guess the reason is that if executive A admits that person B was incompetent by firing person B, others will doubt the decision-making ability of executive A. So in the interest of maintaining the image of executive respectability, the decent subordinates are allowed to suffer and executive A hopes and prays that his bad hires quietly go away or make themselves irrelevant.

    One would, of course, hope that the “Vicar of Christ” would indeed know how to clear out a temple, but apparently not. I guess we’re just left with Sola Scriptura, then.

  • fws

    The gift of The Conservative Lutheran Reformation is that it was not a push for moral or structural reform.
    indeed,

    The central insight was that NO Holy Spirit and NO Christ was needed for such (necessary!) reform.
    ” Nothing can be demanded for morality beyond, ALONE, The Ethics of Aristotle”
    (Apology IV “On Justification).

    They taught that first alone about morality so that a second alone could truly be alone:
    “Christianity is useless on earth except to God and a guilty conscience” (Martin Luther, sermon, 9th sunday after trinity, marburg 1528)
    [Christ and The HS are,alone, necessary for new heart movements that trust, alone in Two Words, "given and shed For You! For the forgiveness of sins".
    Alone human free will and natural man can know and do all morality (rom 2:15).] This distribution is useful to show where the Holy Spirit is necessary. (Apology , art 18, “free will”)

    All church moral betterment, as with personal betterment can only achieve, at best..
    a death. The death of old Adam, the natural man with his natural law.
    Luther: “Life is mortification (latinate for deathing).

    Life is death. It does not follow that death is Life.
    This is the confusion of old Adam.
    this is the confusion of Rome.
    there is no Life in the Law, not Natural Law either.
    The only result of natural law Is death.
    Rome (and now some Lutherans) look for life in doing something in order to conform to the Divine Natural Law possessed by…the natural man. And what spiritual things does St Paul say that the natural man is capable of knowing and doing? Nothing but death. (rom 8). Flesh and natural man must be born again. Must receive new heart movements that no DOing can bring about.

    Only then can the prophecy in Jer 31 be fulfilled (apology III “on love”).
    the divine law is written in the mind but not the heart of natural man. (rom 2:15)
    in new man only.
    And so the mind of natural man is continually at war with the hearts desires. That conflict is etched in the heart of natural man (rom 2:15). The law is constantly killing and accusing the heart.

    this war ends in new man only.
    now the divine law is once again written in the heart in fulfillment of jer 31!

  • http://www.cyberbrethren.com Rev. Paul T. McCain

    Already in the Middle Ages it was a well known fact that a celibate priesthood provided a haven for homosexuals and a breeding ground for sexual sins of all description. This is mentioned in the Lutheran Confessions. So, the problem has been around a long time. The ever increasing “gay agenda” however has exacerbated the problem, enormously. The so called “pedophilia” scandal was really simply the homosexual problem rearing its ugly head. Older men, praying on younger men and boys.

    This is why the Roman teaching that priests are not to marry is an entirely non-Biblical teaching and has caused great harm. Even the “first Pope” had a wife, for heaven’s sake.

    Now, whether the speculation in this article is correct, or not, I can not say. It certainly makes for a wonderful conspiracy theory, to be sure.

    I actually believe Benedict simply is resigning due to the reasons stipulated: declining health has made it impossible for him to serve the Church the way he believes a Pope in the modern era must serve. He has, apparently, done nearly deaf and has developed blindness in one eye, not to mention any other infirmity that would be expected in a man who is nearly 90 years old.

  • fws

    The gift of The Cons
    conservative Lutheran Reformation is that it was not a push for moral or structural reform.
    indeed,

    The central insight was that NO Holy Spirit and NO Christ was needed for such (necessary!) reform.
    ” Nothing can be demanded for morality beyond, ALONE, The Ethics of Aristotle”
    (Apology IV “On Justification).

    They taught that first alone about morality so that a second alone could truly be alone:
    “Christianity is useless on earth except to God and a guilty conscience” (Martin Luther, sermon, 9th sunday after trinity, marburg 1528)
    [Christ and The HS are,alone, necessary for new heart movements that trust, alone in Two Words, "given and shed For You! For the forgiveness of sins".
    Alone human free will and natural man can know and do all morality (rom 2:15).] This distribution is useful to show where the Holy Spirit is necessary. (Apology , art 18, “free will”)

    All church moral betterment, as with personal betterment can only achieve, at best..
    a death. The death of old Adam, the natural man with his natural law.
    Luther: “Life is mortification (latinate for deathing).

    Life is death. It does not follow that death is Life.
    This is the confusion of old Adam.
    this is the confusion of Rome.
    there is no Life in the Law, not Natural Law either.
    The only result of natural law Is death.
    Rome (and now some Lutherans) look for life in doing something in order to conform to the Divine Natural Law possessed by…the natural man. And what spiritual things does St Paul say that the natural man is capable of knowing and doing? Nothing but death. (rom 8). Flesh and natural man must be born again. Must receive new heart movements that no DOing can bring about.

    Only then can the prophecy in Jer 31 be fulfilled (apology III “on love”).
    the divine law is written in the mind but not the heart of natural man. (rom 2:15)
    in new man only.
    And so the mind of natural man is continually at war with the hearts desires. That conflict is etched in the heart of natural man (rom 2:15). The law is constantly killing and accusing the heart.

    this war ends in new man only.
    now the divine law is once again written in the heart in fulfillment of jer 31!

  • fws

    The gift of The conservative Lutheran Reformation is that it was not a push for moral or structural reform.
    indeed,

    The central insight was that NO Holy Spirit and NO Christ was needed for such (necessary!) reform.
    ” Nothing can be demanded for morality beyond, ALONE, The Ethics of Aristotle”
    (Apology IV “On Justification).

    They taught that first alone about morality so that a second alone could truly be alone:
    “Christianity is useless on earth except to God and a guilty conscience” (Martin Luther, sermon, 9th sunday after trinity, marburg 1528)

    [Christ and The HS are,alone, necessary for new heart movements that trust, alone in Two Words, "given and shed For You! For the forgiveness of sins".
    Alone human free will and natural man can know and do all morality (rom 2:15).] This distribution is useful to show where the Holy Spirit is necessary. (Apology , art 18, “free will”)

    All church moral betterment, as with personal betterment can only achieve, at best..
    a death. The death of old Adam, the natural man with his natural law.
    Luther: “Life is mortification (latinate for deathing).

    Life is death. It does not follow that death is Life.
    This is the confusion of old Adam.
    this is the confusion of Rome.
    there is no Life in the Law, not Natural Law either.
    The only result of natural law Is death.
    Rome (and now some Lutherans) look for life in doing something in order to conform to the Divine Natural Law possessed by…the natural man. And what spiritual things does St Paul say that the natural man is capable of knowing and doing? Nothing but death. (rom 8). Flesh and natural man must be born again. Must receive new heart movements that no DOing can bring about.

    Only then can the prophecy in Jer 31 be fulfilled (apology III “on love”).
    the divine law is written in the mind but not the heart of natural man. (rom 2:15)
    in new man only.

    And so the mind of natural man is continually at war with the hearts desires. That conflict is etched in the heart of natural man (rom 2:15). The law is constantly killing and accusing the heart. There can be no end to sin by the Law. There can only be the endless self sacrifice that the Law works and demands. (Hebrews)

    this war ends in new man only.
    now the divine law is once again written in the heart in fulfillment of jer 31!
    Holy Baptism then, alone, marks the true End of sin that is ,alone by the One Sacrifice that is alone Mercy. The ending, forever, of all self sacrifice of the Law.

  • fws

    Sorry for the multiple duplicate posts.

    McCain @13

    that’s not quite the argument presented in augustana/apology 23.
    The confessors assumed that ALL men are born with a desire and inclination sexually towards women.
    The categories homosexual would have made no sense, and so there was also no category called heterosexual either.

    so their argument is this:

    1) men desire women as the natural ordering of God (“Gods ordinance”).
    2) them women with vows of celebacy doesn’t change that fact. And Gods ordering is irresistible short of a “singular divine intervention”.
    3)therefore mandatory celibacy inflames those natural desires to sin.
    4) therefore elimination of mandatory celebacy would mean that the priests in monasteries would naturally desire women and get married and be aided by marriage, in resisting from sexual sinning.

    you commited an anachronism and lost their argument.

  • http://www.cyberbrethren.com Rev. Paul T. McCain

    Spelling error, “praying” in my post should be “preying.” Interesting error. Perhaps a Freudian slip!

    The root sin of homosexuality is exchanging the worship of Creator for worship of self, hence homosexual behavior, in which “they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than he Creator, who is blessed forever.” And it is “for this reason” that God “gave them up to dishonorable passions….” i.e. homosexual behaviors “men committing shameless acts with men.”

    A celibate priesthood provides a haven for those who think that by devoting themselves to service of Christ in a life of celibacy they can resist their homosexual tendencies and lust. Sadly, we have seen how that does not work out in practice as well as one would hope.

  • http://www.cyberbrethren.com Rev. Paul T. McCain

    Frank, I’m not going to respond to any of your endless wordy, rambling and ultimately pointless comments. Your desire to misinterpret and pervert the plain sense of both Scripture and the Lutheran Confessions is simply foolish and the Scriptures direct us to avoid engaging a fool in the midst of his folly, Proverbs 14:7: “Leave the presence of a fool, for there you do not meet words of knowledge. The wisdom of the prudent is to discern his way, but the folly of fools is deceiving.”

  • fws

    Paul @ 18

    you often resort to as homem. It is your reputation now on the net.
    you are a better man than that. It harms all the truly wonderful work you have done thus far.
    I wish you’d chose to stop doing it.

    simply don’t respond if you find nothing on what I wrote in post 16 to be in error, or correct what I wrote by referencing the same text of ac/ap 23.

    love you pastor Mc Cain!

  • SKPeterson

    Frank – There is a mention in the BOC or Luther (and I cannot remember where) in which a particular monastic order is condemned precisely for homosexual behavior. Granted, the word ‘homosexual’ is a relatively recent invention, but that does not mean that we cannot use the word to describe the behavior that is observed. The actions and the condemnation are/were not anachronistic any more than the general human condition is anachronistic. There truly is nothing new under the sun, though the words and phrases may change in time and place.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com bike bubba

    If we assume that most adults require a spouse per 1 Cor. 7, but a medieval organization categorically denied that to its “employees” and put them in male-only situations, why would we be surprised if the penalties of this rebellion against God’s order included those of Romans 1?

    Or, perchance, if a modern organization did the same, would we not expect the same?

    If we think Biblically, I think we have to come to the conclusion that even if the resignation of “Papa Ratzi” got rid of the problem in the higher orders in Vatican City, it would quickly reach the same point it at attained before simply due to the un-naturalness of denying marriage to pastor/elder/overseers. The system will always create the results it’s designed to reach.

  • fws

    skp @ 20

    I would ask you to carefully parse my post at 16 once again.
    There is no agenda at work other than to preserve the chain of logical argument presented in art 23.
    Nothing I presented really furthers a gay agenda. Quite the contrary I think.
    It is important, to be faithful to a text, to not do eisegesis.

    As to the rest of what you said, let me try to show you how that is unhelpful in exegeses this way:
    To translate the biblical and moral commandment “Be joyful Always !” as “Never be clinically depressed!” is to introduce anachronism and so introduce ideas, and especially medical categories, that biblical folk would not understand and would not make any sense at all to them.

    Did clinical depression exist in biblical times? I assume that the answer is yes. They were human after all. But does scripture speak , categorically, to clinical depression in any way? Nope.
    To the Point> Do we really need to argue THIS point to identify the sin or sins that would violate that biblical commandment? No. Is making my observations in any way an attack upon Biblical integrity or an assertion of relative morality? No. Am I advocating for the ideal that clinical depression does not have its direct roots in the sinful human condition. Nope.
    So what in all of this is there to argue about? Who is being more faithful to the texts?

  • fws

    bike @ 21

    You just very loosely presented an argument found in the Lutheran Confessions Augsburg Confession and Apology art 23.

    But it still misses the MAIN argument made.
    That argument is the difference between the morality that requires, alone, the human powers of natural man, versus that thing, alone, that natural man cannot do with natural law, that ALONE can put a true end to sin forever.

  • Nils

    A good point that my RC roommate came up with here is that Benedict may have resigned because he didn’t want to be hamstrung by age and infirmity like JP II was at the end of his life. Apparently, near the end of JP’s life, corruption among the Vatican bureaucracy increased, and JP II couldn’t really do anything but sit by and watch. Perhaps Benedict wants someone else who can really kick the bums out to come in sooner rather than later.

  • sg

    It would actually be more reasonable to require priests to be married. Unmarried ones would have to stay at the monastery till they married. Kind of hard to meet women in a monastery. Okay just musing.

  • fws

    skp @ 20

    i am asking you to reparse my outline of art 23 in post 16.
    The ref to the carthusian monks is illustration of logical argument they make.

    1) ALL men are born with a natural inclination and desire for women as the ordering of God.
    2) Therefore , if the monks were allowed to marry, the monks (assumed to be naturally inclined and attrated to females) would be aided by the mortification in marriage to resist the inflaming of those natural urges and the sins of monkery would be greatly abated.

    Today most, maybe also you, believe there is a class of humans recently labeled “homossexual” who do not seem to have or , even start out with a natural inclination and desire for women romantically or physically.

    This runs totally contrary to the text.
    Here is just one sylogistic argument in art 23 as an example how that is so:

    “ALL men are born with attraction to women. Priests are men. Therefore priests are born with an attraction to women.”

    Nothing in what I am presenting is an argument, not even for or from silence, for a gay agenda. I am just urging faithfulness to the text in its historical-grammatical context.

  • fws

    sg @
    25

    the Confessions say what you do with this chain of argument in art 23 of the apology and augustana. this follows st paul in 1 cor 7:

    1) God has created all men with a natural urge and desire for women.
    2) this natural urge and desire is irresistable since it is the very ordering of God, short of a “singular divine intervention “(art 23).
    3) THEREFORE, God “commands” (art 23) to be found within the bounds of matrimony who do not have that singular divine gift.
    4) celebacy is a gift . It is given and not one acquired by prayer. (you should read the roman confutation to see the contrary Roman argument that celebacy can be received if one only Works at it and prays for it hard enough ) You can find this all at http://www.bookofconcord.com including the roman confutation.

    May I point out that this excelent confessional resource was created by our own pastor Paul Mc Cain! How can I not love a guy who does stuff like this!!!!
    3) God theref

  • fws

    skp @ 20

    the other problem with your post is this:
    Useful communication is impossible without both sides of a conversation having the same definition of terms.
    I assume , for example, that the LCMS ´s CTCR paper on homosexuality says that homosexuality = those who engage in sex acts with the same gender. But that would not be true if you read the paper. At times that seems to be the definition, at other times the definition seems to be about “lifestyle” (whatever that is) or a state of being or something else.

    I double dare you to find one, just one, “conservative” christian publication on the issue that even attempts to clearly define their terms. They just assume everyone knows what the term means.

    That this is not merely an obsfuscating argument can be seen by the fact that the current medical definition of the terms are as recent as 1980! And the medical community really does own the term. Not surprisingly, their definition is not one that you would find in any of those “conservative ” publications. And why not?

    here is the current description and definition. You tell me how there is even a single paragraph here that unrings the bell on sin as many (like NARTH) claims that the medical community is conspiring to do….

    http://www.apa.org/topics/sexuality/sorientation.pdf

    I raise this issue not to defend one point of view or another, but rather to suggest that the usual definition of terms that usually Lutherans are so very careful to do have somehow gotten thrown out the window… I guess because of the emotionalism surrounding all this? And that is not at all helpful to produce light rather than heat.

  • SKPeterson

    Frank – I was simply responding to the charge of anachronism vis a vis ‘homosexual’ activity. It is condemned in the BOC or Luther (the Carthusians?) without necessarily using the term ‘homosexual activity’. All I’m saying is that calling Pr. McCain’s statement anachronistic doesn’t really apply to the use of the term ‘homosexual” to describe the behavior in question when the behavior can be accurately described as homosexual in nature. That does not invalidate any of the rest of you argument /summary of the passages dealing with priestly celibacy.

  • fws

    skp @ 29

    Could you please comment on my analogy in post 22 where I try with that analogy to demonstrate what I am meaning to say. thanks!

  • fws

    skp @ 29

    “…when the behavior can be accurately described as homosexual in nature. ”

    It is doing eisegesis.
    you are saying that … what… is 1) homossexual 2) in nature?
    same gender sex acts? all of them?

    it is not real clear from the text what they were doing but…
    … it was something our confessor felt certain that marriage could greatly prevent! ” homosexuality?”

    So then marriage is the cure for “homosexuality?” perhaps. no need to rule that out.
    I doubt you believe that SKP. Why is that?
    Something seems like a disconnect here right?
    I am merely trying to help folks not take such a wrong term by doing anachronism and eisegesis.

    read the medical definition from the apa i linked previously and get back to me please.
    feel free to tell you disagree with their definition. in that case:

    what is your definition of the term, based upon what authority? and how would that differ from the medieval german definition of things and their categories?

  • fws

    paul mc cain @ 17

    A celibate priesthood provides a haven for those who think that by devoting themselves to service of Christ in a life of celibacy they can resist their homosexual tendencies and lust. Sadly, we have seen how that does not work out in practice as well as one would hope.

    Hammer hits nail.
    And this sort of dealmaking with God is precisely what we ALL have in common with these people.
    We offer our selfsacrifice seeking propitiation by such good Works.

    This doesn´t really ever work. Not even outside the priesthood.
    Yet even Lutherans propose this as the only solution to avoid sin and even to be saved.

    What are the alternatives for such persons ?
    I am sure Pastor Mc Cain has none to offer
    So its sort of amazing he would make such a statement.

  • Cincinnatus

    fws@16:

    Since you’ve more or less hijacked the thread, I have a question for you. You claim the following:

    The categories homosexual would have made no sense, and so there was also no category called heterosexual either.

    Do you have any historical evidence for this claim whatsoever? Of course, previous ages did not use the precise terms homosexual and heterosexual–indeed, the first recorded usage of “heterosexual” didn’t occur until 1892, and the term didn’t enter common parlance into the 1960s. But, as I understand it, human beings have basically always understood that there exists a small minority of men who maintain an attraction for other men. Most cultures previous to were more “high context,” and thus they referred to homosexuality by way of euphemisms. But they certainly knew of it.

    Everyone knows that premodern cultures were cognizant of homosexual conduct (as opposed to homosexuality)–which produced a vocabulary of “sodomy” and “faggotry” and so on. In other words, everyone knows that human beings have always acknowledged disordered/sinful/taboo actions. But you seem to suggest that these cultures were not also aware that human beings can also have disordered desires upon which they may or may not act.

    If that’s what you’re suggesting, you’re quite frankly and flatly wrong. The distinction (but interrelation) between action and desire if of ancient vintage. It entered Christianity at least as early as St. Paul, and it was systematically articulated by St. Augustine, among others.

    I don’t know where you would get the idea historical cultures/people didn’t “know” about homosexuality. It’s not as if gay people only “discovered” that they existed in the twentieth century. I realize maintaining your historical fiction–that we’ve only recently realized that homosexuality is a state of being, blah blah blah–is very important for protecting your rather revisionist account of Biblical sexual ethics. But it’s just false. Human beings have always known that those of a homosexual predilection exist among us. The only difference is that, until recently, such men or women were regarded either as sinful/corrupt, eccentric (common in the Deep South and in other aristocratic societies, by the way), or as evolutionary dead ends. I’m not suggesting that we should return to such notions, just pointing out, again, that you’ve got your facts wrong.

  • fws

    cincinnatus @ 33

    ‘CINN: categories such as homosexual would have made no sense, and so there was also no category called heterosexual either.’
    Do you have any historical evidence for this claim whatsoever? …human beings have basically always understood that there exists a small minority of men who maintain an attraction for other men.

    There are no equivalent category pair to homossexual-heterossexual that I am aware of. You say there are? No. You know better. We think in categories usually don´t we? And those categories mould and shape our thinking in turn. The actual current medical category was cast in 1980. Why? Before then the only study subjects representing the “class” were persons in mental hospitals. When that changed, the category also changed.

    CINN: premodern cultures were cognizant of homosexual conduct (as opposed to homosexuality)–which produced a vocabulary of “sodomy” and “faggotry” and so on…

    Yes. Behaviors vs an indentifiable descreet group of persons being classified. One proof: Sodomy laws could be used to prosecute husband and wife. I think you made my precise point Cinn.

    But you seem to suggest that these cultures were not also aware that human beings can also have disordered [or not] desires upon which they may or may not act

    I would have to have not read Aristotle, St Augustine, St Paul or St Aquinas to assert such a thing eh? So no. I am not asserting that.
    Again: The Biblical assumption (and Lutheran Confesssional assumption) iALL men start out, at birth, with a natural inclination and romantic-physical attraction and desire for the opposite gender. Read the texts. What I say has the texts make sense. For a man to commit sodomy , in those texts, means for him to go, perversely against his own natural desires, inclinations, and appetites.
    To get a flavor for that, what would it feel like for YOU to do that Cinn?
    Proof: Rom 1:27 The “they” class are men who left their women and their own natural inclinations.
    We would identify such men, today, as heterosexuals. It is extremely uncommon for homosexuals to start out with a natural inclination for females and then change.

    I don’t know where you would get the idea historical cultures/people didn’t “know” about homosexuality.

    I am saying, merely this:

    Homosexuality contrasted with heterosexuality were two contrasting categories that would have bafflled persons till around 1930. This is somewhat the same way that the category “bipolar” or “clinically depressed” were totally unknown categories to them Cinn.
    Or, in somewhat the same way that the category of people known as “White” was a totally foreign category to anyone until the advent of race based slavery.

    CINN It’s not as if gay people only “discovered” that they existed in the twentieth century.

    When I was a Young pre-pubescent gay child growning up in the dakotas, I knew i was diferent. I didnt have a label for it, and I assumed that I was the only one. But yes, I still knew. But…. and again my point… I did not think in categories of homossexual heterossexual. And…. There is no point behind that point actually cinn. Other than that we need to know such historical-gramatical things to properly read a text.

    CINN But it’s just false. Human beings have always known that those of a homosexual predilection exist among us.

    Calm down Cinn!

    We have Always known that there are humans who have a predilection to DO (fill in the blank).
    No one is arguing that. and that is not what you just expressed. You are conflating things.
    thieves, liars, adulterers, sodomizers.
    It is about the act.
    merely thinking about it or having a predilection, does not earn you a spot in the class.
    Even modern classes of pathologies , by definition, are bound by predictable , symptomatic acts.
    That is precisely why homosexuality was removed from the list of pathologies.

  • fws

    cinn

    what you describe in history is 1) acts defining a class, not 2) a class defining acts.

    example:
    the class labeled thieves is comprised of people who do acts of thievery.
    sodomizers (men sodomizing their wives for example) did the act of sodomy.

    You are creating and defining the class quite differently.
    Proof: you distinguish homosexuality from homossexual acts differently and in a quite diferent and modern way than I just did in my example.

    You are working out such classes in a way that would have made no sense at all to anyone before the turn of the 20th century,

    or try it this way:

    persons would be labeled as something like sodomite or thief as a CONSEQUENCE of something they had DONE . The consequence that IS the action establishes their classification.

    We moderns, with the classifications of homosexuality and heterosexuality flip that in away that would have totally confused those other generations.
    We moderns say that homosexuals DO things as a CONSEQUENCE of who they ARE and are classified as.
    Some of us, religious conservatives especially, sort of vascilate between the two methods of classifying ,,I suggest in often a confused and undisciplined way such as your post I suggest does. I guess we are in transition.

    You dont have to accept that there is even a class called homossexual that is NOT defined by acts to see that what I am saying indentifies an área of confusion as to conversing about all this.

  • Grace

    Same-sex marriage was outlawed on December 16, 342 AD by the Christian emperors Constantius II and Constans. This law specifically outlaws marriages between men and reads as follows:

    When a man marries and is about to offer himself to men in womanly fashion [quum vir nubit in feminam viris porrecturam], what does he wish, when sex has lost all its significance; when the crime is one which it is not profitable to know; when Venus is changed to another form; when love is sought and not found? We order the statutes to arise, the laws to be armed with an avenging sword, that those infamous persons who are now, or who hereafter may be, guilty may be subjected to exquisite punishment.”
    (Theodosian Code 9.7.3)

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_same-sex_unions

    Sodomy!

  • fws

    grace @ 36

    diferent culture Grace. If you read the entire code, you would find that there was, oddly to us, no code against the “male” side of the equation. Go read it. Nice to see you can read classical Latin Grace! You will need it to read the entire code.

    at the same point of time in rome, there were other factors that determined whether a law had been broken.
    for example: was the male receptive partner slave or free citizen? that distinction makes no sense to me. (footnote) Maybe it does to you.
    Until around 1970 we gays did not exist in the eyes of society.
    Gays were perverted heterosexuals all bent on restlessly seeking predatory sex.
    that was the view of gays in the middle of the last century when homosexuality first started becoming popularly associated with a group. all the studies done until the 70s were done with homosexuals who were in mental institutions . Imagine defining any group by studying only those committed to mental institutions.

    The reason homosexuality was removed from the list of pathologies was precisely when doctors started doing studies of homosexuals with no known mental illness. It is as simple really as that. No liberal godless plot behind that as NARTH suggests.

    footnote Source: JOhn Boswell: “Christianity, social tolerance, and homosexuality”.
    Especially noteworthy are the lengthy translations of christians such as John crysostom from the period reflecting their views, and the reason for their views on sexuality.

    e

  • Grace

    The men of Sodom:

    4 Before they lay down, the men of the city, the men of Sodom, surrounded the house, both young and old, all the people from every quarter;
    5 and they called to Lot and said to him, “Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us that we may have relations with them.”
    6 But Lot went out to them at the doorway, and shut the door behind him,
    7 and said, “Please, my brothers, do not act wickedly.
    8 “Now behold, I have two daughters who have not had relations with man; please let me bring them out to you, and do to them whatever you like; only do nothing to these men, inasmuch as they have come under the shelter of my roof.”
    9 But they said, “Stand aside.” Furthermore, they said, “This one came in as an alien, and already he is acting like a judge; now we will treat you worse than them.” So they pressed hard against Lot and came near to break the door.
    10 But the men reached out their hands and brought Lot into the house with them, and shut the door.
    11 They struck the men who were at the doorway of the house with blindness, both small and great, so that they wearied themselves trying to find the doorway.
    Genesis 18

    The men didn’t want Lots daughters, they wanted men. Lot knew they wanted men, no women, that is why he offered his daughters.

    Homosexuality is a term to define men with men, or women with women. No one can fool themselves forever about homosexuality, playing with terms, trying to reason the good in homosexuality.

  • kerner

    fws:

    @34 “The Biblical assumption (and Lutheran Confesssional assumption) iALL men start out, at birth, with a natural inclination and romantic-physical attraction and desire for the opposite gender. Read the texts. What I say has the texts make sense. For a man to commit sodomy , in those texts, means for him to go, perversely against his own natural desires, inclinations, and appetites.

    I don’t think I agree with that statement. Because I am not convinced that the Biblical texts or the Confessions are talking about individual nature. Rather, I think they are talking about what it is “natural” for the male (or sometimes female) gender to do. As you say, Frank, some of our modern concepts would have seemed odd to ancients or Reformation era people. One thing that would probably seem odd to them is our modern sense of individuality. Take for example Romans 1:26-27, for which I have found an interlinear translation:

    http://www.scripture4all.org/OnlineInterlinear/NTpdf/rom1.pdf

    I don’t know much about Koine Greek grammar and nuance, but it seems to me that these verses are saying that male-male sex, and female-female sex, were “unnatural” for men, as a catagory, to me doing with men and for women, as a catagory, to be doing with women. It does not seem to me to be making any assumptions about what is the natural thing for any individual to be inclined, or not inclined, to do. Really, the text talks about the “use” (i.e. the act) of one sex for the other to be natural, and the act of same-sex to be unnatural. Whereas the inclinations to do have same-sex are described as vile (of-dishonor) and unseemly (indecent). From this I think that Paul is saying that it is always unnatural for any man to have sex with any other man, regardless of what his individual inclinations may be. Yet clearly Paul realized that some men were in fact so (indecently) inclined. Same-sex is clearly not the only indecent inclination that people have, as the text makes clear in subsequent verses.

    As for the Confessional assumptions you describe, I assume this includes the large Catechism on the 6th Commandment, which, after condemning monasticism and its vows of chastity, says in part:

    And, in short, even though they abstain from the act, their hearts are so full of unchaste thoughts and evil lusts that there is a continual burning and secret suffering, which can be avoided in the married life.

    A statement that I am bound to agree with, but it has to be harmonized with everything else the Bible and the Confessions have to say about sin. And as a Lutheran, you know what that is. You have in the past suggested that marriage is a means of escape God provides against the sin of unchastity. And it is. Some of the “continual burning and secret suffering” can be avoided in married life. How much can be avoided depends upon the marriage and the lives in question. But marriage itself does not take away the unchaste thoughts and evil lusts. These are in all our flesh and will be with us till we die (except for a very few), and those few will have different sinful thoughts and desires in their flesh, not fewer.

    And I don’t believe that Luther thought that marriage was the “cure for homosexuality” Or even a “cure” for unchastity generally, because Luther, and all the Confessions, are pretty clear that they do not consider any human institution (which are wholly of the Law), to be a “cure” for any type of sin. You don’t believe that either. I know you don’t. If I were to suggest to you in any other context that some human institution, a creature of the Law, was capable of making any type of sin just go away completely, well, first you would laugh yourself silly, then you would write so many comments telling me why I was wrong that no one could read them all. And you would be perfectly correct to do so, because such a suggestion would be very un-Lutheran.

    Like any other part of the Law, marriage has a first and a third use. It is a curb and a guide to help keep us from unchastity. But like any other part of the Law, the value of its first and third uses is extremely limited. Like any other part of the Law, its chief use is its second, i.e. the “mirror” that condemns and kills us.

    This is not the kind of talk that is ever going to make it into a “marriage encounter” handbook. But ultimately it’s true.

  • Grace

    ➜  ‏ ” Aristotle praised a same sex couple (Philolaus and Dioclese) who lived their whole lives together and maintained a household together until their deaths when they were buried side by side.”

    http://dictionary.sensagent.com/history+of+same-sex+unions/en-en/

     ‏

  • JH

    Geez, if the all that stuff in the article is both true and public, what has everyone been doing all these years??? So the pope just asked for a report and he’s like “oh darn, that’s terrible, I had no idea about any of this. I better leave.”???
    I’m terribly confused and shocked.

  • http://www.cyberbrethren.com Rev. Paul T. McCain

    Frank is forever hijacking any conversation about homosexuality and simply repeats the bilge he has been pumping out on these subjects for a long time.

    He gets very upset when he is called out on the fact that he has openly supported gay marriage based on his bizarre misreadings and intentional misinterpretation and misapplication of the texts of the Lutheran Confessions.

    The more you respond to him, the more of the nonsense tumbles out.

    Best to ignore Frank. Ceaseless arguing with him is pointless. I’ve seen him do this all over the place as a way for him to work through his own homosexuality struggles. While I’m sympathetic, when he posts on public forums, perhaps misleading people, he simply must be marked as a false teacher and avoided (Rom. 16).

  • fws

    grace @ 38

    what about this then Grace?

    As they were making their hearts merry, behold, the men of the city, base fellows, beset the house round about, beating on the door; and they said to the old man, the master of the house, “Bring out the man who came into your house, that we may know him.” And the man, the master of the house, went out to them and said to them, “No, my brethren, do not act so wickedly; seeing that this man has come into my house, do not do this vile thing. Behold, here are my virgin daughter and his concubine; let me bring them out now. Ravish them and do with them what seems good to you; but against this man do not do so vile a thing.” But the men would not listen to him. So the man seized his concubine, and put her out to them; and they knew her, and abused her all night until the morning.

    (Judges 19:22-25)

  • fws

    Kerner @ 39

    KERNER Because I am not convinced that the Biblical texts or the Confessions are talking about individual nature

    Agreed!

    Your proof in AC-Ap 23:
    1) ALL men, by nature, have a desire for women that is an irresistable ordering of God. 2) Priests are men. 3) Therefore priests also have a desire for women that is irresistable. 4) therefore ALL men are commanded to marry! 5) celebacy, short of a “singular divine intervention ” is impossible. It is a gift, No amount of effort or prayer can acheive it if it is not given as a gift.

    The opposing argument can be found in the Roman Confutation , which quotes Phillipians as their proof. “All things are possible with God”. The AC and Apology presents an argument AGAINST what the Roman Confutation proposes, of course. It is impossible to understand Apology art 23, without contrasting it with the Roman Confutation.
    I am missing your point Kerner. If there is one.

    KERNER Take for example Romans 1:26-27

    The assumption is that ALL men are , by their very nature, desire women. Question: Why would we NOT read the text assuming that Kerner. What is true of ALL men is also true of individual men. So homosexuals do not exist. What exists are some men (no category!) who violently go against their natural instincts to become sexual predators. Just those SAME “those” in Roma 1:27 also were incapable of real love, disobedient of parents (a biblical capital crime….) , gossips, haters, fornicators, etc etc Reading up till…… Rom 2:1! The “they” in Rom 1 are the SAME “they” from verse 1 up until Rom 2:1! Please Discuss.

    Again. What point are you making and to what end?

    KERNER they do not consider any human institution (which are wholly of the Law), to be a “cure” for any type of sin.

    Neither does Luther…

    In order, therefore, that it may be the more easy in some degree to avoid inchastity, God has commanded the estate of matrimony, that every one may have his proper portion and be satisfied therewith; although God’s grace besides is required in order that the heart also may be pure. …this commandment demands not only [chastity]… in thought, word, and deed in his condition,…, but also that every one love and esteem the spouse…. man and wife must … live together in love and harmony, …from the heart and with entire fidelity…. which enkindle love and desire of chastity, so that, where this is found, chastity will follow as a matter of course without any command. 220] Therefore also St. Paul so diligently exhorts husband and wife to love and honor one another.

    So Luther and I agree with you. Again , you have a point to make or a bone to pick with what I said dear Legal Eagle?

  • fws

    kerner @ 39

    you can find Article 23 of the Augsburg Confession, The Opposing argument of the Roman Confutation, and the Apology that answers the objections of the Confutation at this excelent site authored by our own Pastor Paul Mc Cain:

    http://www.bookofconcord.com

  • Grace

    fws @ 43

    The passage regarding Lot in Genesis 19, is mixed and matched with Judges 19:22-25, which is FALSE, there is no correlation.

    Judges centers around the House of Benjamin, many years later You have mixed and matched, thinkiing you can confuse and distort the Word of God.

    Abraham spoken of in Genesis 18 – Do you remember how these men follow one another by birth? Abraham, Isacc and Jacob!

    Jacob is the father of Benjamin, which is the tribe of Benjamin the story from Judges 19 where it has its roots. Abraham was dead, by that time, the story you relate is not connected in any way with Lot.

    The stories are similar but they aren’t the same.

  • kerner

    fws:

    Your first premise is:

    “ALL men, by nature, have a desire for women that is an irresistable ordering of God.”

    And that this is implicit in the Article XXIII AC-Ap.

    I am stopping you there and questioning whether that premise is really true and whether it is really implicit in The Lutheran Confessions and the Biblical texts. I am not sure that I believe that the premise is true, but that may be because we need to define our terms a bit. Is “ALL” to be taken to mean literally “ALL”? What is meant by “nature”? Nature as God originally designed it? Nature in its fallen state now? Where do we get “irresistable” from and what do we mean by it? Irresistable from monemt to moment? Irresistable in the long run? And I’m not sure it is implicit in the Lutheran Confessions or the Bible either.

    Do you believe it is true? Do “ALL men, by nature, have a desire for women that is an irresistable ordering of God”? If it is truly implicit in Scripture and the Lutheran Confessions, we have to believe it, don’t we?

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com bike bubba

    Dropping in again, my take is that the discussion is hinging on, mostly, the contention of whether homosexuality was known prior to 1970. Now please, Frank, what do you think the prosecution of Oscar Wilde was all about, or the mockery of the Florentines in the 1500s, the pederasty of Alexand’er’s army, and the like? Just because earlier, enlightened generations did not have Stonewall, the Village People, and the like does not mean that they did not deal with the consequences of (Romans 1) rejecting God, does it?

    Let’s be serious here, and let’s be Biblical here. Romans 1, as well as Genesis 19 and elsewhere, clearly demonstrate thata consequence of rejecting God can be to become inflamed with lust for those of the same sex. The fact that not every homosexual can point to a personal rejection of God does not change this s a general consequence, no?

    And what DO we expect, Biblically speaking, when we take a population of men who ought to be marrying and we (a) deny them wives and (b) teach them an un-Biblical soteriology (and theology in general), and (c) put them in an all-male situation?

    What do we expect, Biblically speaking, when word gets out among those who struggle with same-sex attraction that there are certain monasteries and seminaries where these behaviors are common, and there is a prestige in the position that prevents prying eyes from disclosing this (then-illegal) behavior?

    It’s a system that’s going to generate some obvious, but not necessarily exclusive results. Per your comment # 23, while it is the Spirit that prevents a man from sinning, that does not mean that leaders in the church bear no guilt if they design structures that lend themselves to sin.

    For example, as a deacon responsible for nurseries, I did not sigh “oh, only the Holy Spirit can prevent nursery workers from molesting a child.” Rather, I put in place a system that worked to make it difficult for pedophiles to have unsupervised access to children. Put gently, I don’t know who is, or is not, indwellt by the Spirit, and the Pope as well needs to take this tack. There are clearly wolves among the lambs in Vatican City.

  • http://a fws

    kerner @ 47

    excelent questions Legal Eagle (nickname applied with true affection!)
    So the answer is threefold:
    1)Are you raising the points I am, understanding them correctly for what they are?
    2)is what I assert really what the Confessions assert as part of an argumentative chain?
    3) finally, IF(!) I am faithfully contexting and reproducing the Confessional arguments, are they correct based upon Holy Scripture?

    It won´t take me long to check your points to see if I have clearly pitched and you catched.
    And it won´t take me long at all to address # 2.

    I am in the middle of a personal crisis today dear Kerner. Can you give me a day or two to get back?

  • fws

    bike @ 48

    I cant answer at length today (mercifully for all of you!) … here goes…

    I agree there are lots of practical common sense stuff that the Roman church should just know. Good points.
    Lots of priests , I am sure, enter the priesthood to make a deal with God “take this thing from me in Exchange for me dedicating my life to you.” As Pastor Mc Cain points out, it doesnt work! What he doesnt talk about is what an alternative solution would be short of castration of all homosexuals.

    my point about categories Bike is not what you think. My best analogy would be translating “be joyful Always”as “never be clinically depressed”.

    did clinical depression exist in biblical times. I am sure it did! would the people in the bible known what to do with such a category? nope. would it be cool to insert such a medical term into the bible translations? no. You know why not. its obvious. it would be anachronism. it would add stuff to the text that isnt there.

    we think in categories, often those categories are is vs is-not stuff. and in turn those categories shape our thinking. It shapes our thinking so much, that it is hard to imagine a culture where those categories would be meaningless. but we do it all the time. and then we think those who dont buy into our exegesis are denying the Scriptures. Not really.

  • Nils

    Taking this thread back to one of its original premises, doesn’t the Pope have power to strip a bishop of his rank if he’s misbehaving? And could he not have thrown out the whole curia and appointed new bishops if he felt it necessary? My Roman Catholic friends tell me he could do this if he wanted to, which makes sense given the historical power of the papacy. Any thoughts or insight?

  • Grace

    Nils,

    I agree with you, but the ‘protection of those of their own, supersedes such discipline – or removal.

    I’ve witnessed those in the conservative Evangelical Church, taken out of the pulpit. It’s not pleasant, but it needs to be done.

  • fws

    kerner @47

    “ALL men, by nature, have a desire for women that is an irresistable ordering of God.”

    1) [is] that premise is really true?
    2) [is] it is really implicit [or explicit!] in The Lutheran Confessions ? and …
    3) [ is it explicit or implicit] in the Biblical texts.?
    4) Is “ALL” to be taken to mean literally “ALL”?
    5) What is meant by “nature”? Nature as God originally designed it? Nature in its fallen state now?
    6) Where do we get “irresistable” from and what do we mean by it? Irresistable from monemt to moment? Irresistable in the long run?

    I count 6 questions Kerner.

    Here is the first order or business Kerner: Context. Ap-AC 23 is ONE side of… a debate between two positions.

    The Assertion that is the Opposite of that found in the Augsburg Confession and Apology , Art XXIII is what we read in the “Roman Confutation” http://www.bookofconcord.org Here appears to be the core point of contention:

    For as to what Paul says, 1 Cor. 7:2: “To avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife,” …the same St. Paul says (1 Cor. 7:1): “It is good for a man not to touch a woman.”

    For a priest has the intermediate position of neither marrying nor burning, but
    of restraining himself
    by the grace of God,
    which he obtains of God by
    devout prayer and chastising of the flesh, by fasting and vigils.

    Furthermore, when they say that Christ taught that all men are not fit for celibacy, it is indeed true, and on this account not all are fit for the priesthood; but
    let the priest pray, and he will be able to receive Christ’s word concerning continence,
    as St. Paul says: “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me,” Phil. 4:13.
    For continence is a gift of God, Wisd. 8:21 [which can be acquired through prayer and hard effort described as follows...]

    [The Lutherans say, falsely] that as a remedy for infirmity rigor should be relaxed, for those who are consecrated to God have other remedies of infirmities;
    as, for instance, let them avoid the society of women, shun idleness, macerate the flesh by fasting and vigils, keep the outward senses, especially sight and hearing, from things forbidden, turn away their eyes from beholding vanity, and finally dash their little ones – i.e. their carnal thoughts – upon a rock (and Christ is the Rock), suppress their passions, and frequently and devoutly resort to God in prayer.

    These are undoubtedly the most effectual remedies for incontinence in ecclesiastics and servants of God.

    St. Paul said aright that the doctrine of those who forbid marriage is a doctrine of demons. Such was the doctrine of Tatian and Marcoin, whom Augustine and Jerome have mentioned. But the Church does not thus forbid marriage, as she even enumerates marriage among the seven sacraments; with which, however, it is consistent that on account of their superior ministry she should enjoin upon ecclesiastics superior purity.

    So dear Kerner, what do you suppose would be the contrary argument of the Augsburg Confession and Apology in this exact context?

    That is our starting point. Agree?

  • fws

    kerner @ 47

    Every text has a CON-text. The context of the Apology is to refute some central theses of Thomist Scholasticism.
    Part of all that are precisely the questions you asked that all lurk behind the argument specific to ac-ap 23.
    It revolves around “natural” and “natural law” etc. Your question I labeled 5)

    Your question that I numbered 5) , I suggest is absolutely pivotal to the entire argument of the Apology.
    It is precisely where the Lutherans butt heads with St Aquinas…. how does one define “natural law” and ….where does it fit into the Telos of mankind? What is pre-fall vs post-fall? All of this comes into play.

    Lutherans say that “natural ” is what existed in mankind both before and after the fall.
    “natural” is defined as ALL that is true of the “natural man”.
    This is to make this point:
    The Image of God and Original Righteousness is, alone, One Thing, that existed in Adam before the fall and,
    now in Old Adam (natural man) no longer exists.
    St Paul says this:

    The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. (1 Corinthians 2:14 ESV)

    So the question then is this: What are those SUPER-natural (spiritual) things that the natural man cannot understand because he lacks that One Thing that existed before the fall that was lost in the fall.

    What is that One Thing ? And how does the natural man acquire this One Thing?
    This contrast is best made in Apology 18 on “Free Will” which aims to make this point:
    “This distribution is useful to show where the Holy Spirit is necessary [by contrasting where he is NOT necessary because natural law is fully sufficient]”
    What distribution Kerner?

    We need to see this central thrust of the Apology, before we dig into the application of their central arguments to particular such as priestly celebacy. The central arguments are unpacked in Apology i-IV. Then they take those arguments and show how they directly DO resolve particular practical issues.

    I hope you agree. I know you like to test theses by practical for instances. That´s all fine. But first we need to get our hands around the central thesis and counter thesis of the Thomists vs the Lutherans.

    Agreed?

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com bike bubba

    Nils, one thing that I’ve heard about the Catholic system is that their “very sacramental” system views priests–and I would assume the bishops and such that inhabit the curia–are empowered to perform those sacraments, and therefore removing them is a theologically somewhat more complicated operation than a board of deacons telling a wayward pastor “you’ve violated the qualifications for leadership in 1 Timothy, you’re fired.”

    So if I’ve understood things correctly, not even the Pope can just clear things out.

  • helen

    you can find Article 23 of the Augsburg Confession, The Opposing argument of the Roman Confutation, and the Apology that answers the objections of the Confutation at this excelent site authored by our own Pastor Paul Mc Cain: http://www.bookofconcord.com

    The latest translation of the Book of Concord is edited by the Rev. McCain (with others participating).
    The various articles of the BOC were authored by others, from the 1st century (roughly) to 1580. This history is important; the Lutheran church was not invented in the 21st century, or the 16th either.

  • http://www.cyberbrethren.com Rev. Paul T. McCain

    Just so everyone knows, Frank Sonnett does not, in any way, represent any reputable understanding of the Lutheran Confessions. He is obsessed with a viewpoint he has developed in order to compensate and work through his homosexuality. His views are neither Biblical nor Lutheran. He continues to distort the meaning of both.

    I know some think it is a good idea to keep responding to him, it is not. He has nothing new to say and nothing new to add, he just keeps repeating the same points, over and over, ad naseum.

    My advice to Kerner and Grace is simply to ignore him.

    Do not feel the trolls.

  • http://www.cyberbrethren.com Rev. Paul T. McCain

    Helen, thanks for the clarification.

    : )

    What Frank was attempting to say is that the web site: http://www.bookofconcord.org is a website I created, own, manage, etc. Norm Fisher is the web guru who makes it all work.

    As for the edition of the book of Concord I worked on as General Editor, with a great team of co-editors, here is that edition:
    http://www.cph.org/concordia

  • helen

    Despite the pictured copy of the current translation of the BOC, (which can be purchased) I believe the text on line is older since it is in the public domain. CPH does not freely distribute its copyrighted publications.

  • http://www.cyberbrethren.com Rev. Paul T. McCain

    Oh, Helen…
    : )

    The picture of the Concordia edition, to which you refer in your note, appears under a large header saying, “Where to buy a copy of the Book of Concord” and when/if you click on the picture you are taken to…where you can buy a copy of the Book of Concord.

    And under the very first sidebar header “Lutheran Confessions” there is a line that says “About the translation” which indicates that the text is from the public domain version of the BOC.

  • tODD

    Just so everyone knows, Paul T. McCain was at some point an active pastor, but he long ago forgot how to talk like one, and instead picks fights in a surprising number of online venues.

    While he likely imagines that, in so doing, he is earnestly and tirelessly fighting for the faith, he not infrequently comes across as a bit of a jerk. For this, however, he will not apologize, because he’s convinced that he is right, so anything juvenile or unloving that he has said cannot be apologized for. It would seem.

    While he has done many good things in a professional capacity — namely, overseeing the publication of many useful books, as well as apparently dragging CPH into the modern era — his online activity is, frankly, anything but professional, and should not be taken as exemplary of either CPH or Lutheran pastors.

    My advice is simply to ignore him. Whether you choose to feel him is up to you.

  • Grace

    Rev. McCain @ 57

    His post at 43, was proof of such ‘simple thinking, as I proved at post 46. One had nothing to do with the other (Genesis 19 vs. Judges 19) – that’s how little he knows, and to what extent he will distort the Word of God to justify himself.

    Blessings to you

  • Grace

    Obviously Rev. Paul T. McCain, IS a pastor. The “Rev.” in front of his name would give anyone such information.

  • http://www.cyberbrethren.com Rev. Paul T. McCain

    Grace @62
    Precisely!

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Pastors are shepherds by definition. Just saying.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com bike bubba

    Um, tODD, being something of an online pugilist yourself, you may want to take a look in the mirror, if you catch my drift. As shall I.

  • tODD

    Bike (@66), of course you’re right — it’s not like I don’t know I can be a jerk, too. But I do try to apologize when I’m called out for doing something wrong (generally being unloving, which is the essence of being wrong). Did you have something in mind that you’d like to call to my attention?

    Meanwhile, Paul T. McCain still has yet to apologize for repeatedly resorting to grade-school name-calling on this blog — once on the same day that he separately exhorted pastors to behave well online, no less! Other comments of his in recent weeks — both here and elsewhere — could hardly be characterized as “pastoral” in nature.

    He also doesn’t pay very close attention to what he’s typing for a man with the title of “editor”.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Let me weigh in on this: There is calling someone out based on something they said. In some cases, appropriate designations follow: Someone could demonstrably be a Marxist for instance. As long as you can demonstrate it.

    Someone can make a very stupid remark, and you can call them out, even sarcastically. Someone can bite someone else’s head off, and should be called to order.

    Then there is that issue where someone is being a fool, and refuses to argue the matter, yet just keep repeating their foolishness, ever more shrilly. Or someone could descend into fanaticism (Can’t change their minds, don’t want to change the subject, see else where on this blog for a prime example). ONLY in the latter two cases should a person answer with derision. In my honest opinion.

    As to myself: I’m the first to admit that I’m often to quick and over-the-top with my responses, often because my mind is several steps ahead of the argument I’m presenting, thus the missing steps might seem like I’m ridiculous, which I often am, too. I’ll keep on apologizing for that. But I will not apologize for treating arguments with derision when they are consistently being put forward in foolishness. I will not apologize for calling out evil when it is evil. For instance, some have tried to take me to task when I say something is racist – as if nobody could ever call anything racist. That is just ridiculous.

    Todd is sharp and quick, and just as quick to apologize. Which I cannot claim for the other party: In my opinion, Past McCain cannot handle criticism of any sort – this has happened on other blogs too. Michael Spencer (rest his soul) kicked him off the Boars’ Head Tavern at least twice because he was being an ass. Even the other Lutherans on that group blog was scandalized by his behaviour. He should therefore be treated as a troll, till at such time that he apologizes. We have other examples here too of such behaviour (btw, Grace is NOT one of them – in case someone wanted to point fingers).

    On the internet, one can expect all kinds of behaviour, and people often say things here which they would never say in public. Whether that is because they hide their true selves, or because they just enjoy being ridiculous, one would never no. But I for one try and be as honest as I can. Just because the medium is electronic, doesn’t mean that jerkiness is ok.

  • http://www.cyberbrethren.com Rev. Paul T. McCain

    It’s always such a delight to read the ravings of anonymous commentators.

    Klasie and toaDD, shall I call one of these for you?

    http://lh4.ggpht.com/-bk479NSvSk0/TlGE5QPhIQI/AAAAAAAAC2I/A4oR-Zb7oKA/waambulance_thumb%25255B3%25255D.jpg?imgmax=800

  • fws

    Helen @ 56

    I meant. To say that pastor McCain was the founder and author of the website.
    It is one of the best things (among many excellent thongs) that pastor Mc Cain has done.

    One suggestion for improvement:
    The Formula of Concord, Solid Declaration is heavily peppered with referrals to Luther commentaries and sermons and some other public confessions like the Wittenberg Concord.

    The Formula refers to these writings as a “further explanation” of the briefer explanations found in the Formula. It would be awesome if those key writings could be all posted on the site. Most are public domain.

    Pastor Mc Cain?

  • fws

    I sure would like the old Pastor McCain to come back to us.

    he is that one who posted why he was a Lutheran, and it was so very much his enthusiasm for the love of Jesus Christ unconditionally offered.

    He seems to be bitter and in despair now.

    “The Law, apart from Christ, produces only two kinds of sinners, the proud and the despairing”
    Apology III ” Love and the Law”

  • http://www.cyberbrethren.com Rev. Paul T. McCain

    I sense that this blog site, like most others, tends to experience the phenomenon of “not much good comes of a comment stream longer than a few dozen comments.”

    At that point, it is time to call the Waaambulance.

    :)

  • tODD

    Wow, Paul (@69), choosing to double down, huh?

    What an ass.

  • kerner

    fws:
    Sorry you have been waiting for a response. Personal crisis of my own to deal with.

  • fws

    kerner @ 74

    No problem dear Kerner!
    This is just one part of a great arc of dialog we are sharing dear brother in Christ!
    I will pray that God´s will that is always for mercy will be worked out in, with and under your current situation!


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