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Thread: The Catholic Church and celibacy

  1. #21
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DonTom View Post
    That's never been an issue. A church can refuse to marry anybody they wish. No reason is even necessary. But when they try to force their nonsense on those who are not a member of that church or religious group, it's way over the line.

    But the USA federal government is even worse. Do you know about the so-called
    DOMA?

    -Don-


    I think it's a question of the issue being confused - at least for many people for purposes of public debate.

    What I mean is, "marriage" has both a religious and civil/legal definition. The former should be a strictly private matter as defined by whatever religious institution the couple happens to be affiliated with (if any). The latter should be strictly a legal (without religious connotation) recognition of partnership status for purposes of such things as joint ownership of property, custodial rights, inheritance, power of attorney, and so on.

    But of course, it's not that way in practice. "Marriage" has strong religious overtones, despite the fact that there are millions of straight couples who have no religious affiliation (or who are atheists). Yet they're "married" in both the religious and civil/legal sense!

    Of course, such couples (like us) have no problem with the concept of gay marriage. It's the religious people who get frantic about it.

    I'm not sure why. The standard answer is that gay marriage is some kind of assault on their marriages, or their values. But how does (as an example) the fact that a gay couple down the street decided to get married in any way cause harm to my marriage?

    The only real threat I see (to people who are religious and oppose the notion of gay marriage) is that some gays do want to force religious people to accept gay marriage as legitimate/equal within the context of their religion (in the same way that the Boy Scouts are under pressure to allow openly gay scoutmasters, etc.)

    I personally have no problem with either thing - as such - and agree that opposition is pretty silly. But I will defend the right of any private entity to define the "terms and conditions" of membership, etc. however it likes, even if it offends some. People are free to join - or not.

    So, I think the nut of it is semantics. "Marriage" continues to have religious connotations (even though many married couples are irreligious or at most perfunctorily religious). "Civil union" doesn't quite have the same ring to it, which is why even irreligious people like to say they are married - even though they may never go to church at all.

    It'd be nice if there were a word/term we could use in place of "civil union" that people like as much as "marriage."

    But since there isn't, we have this battle over who can get married - and what a marriage ought to mean - both as a religious and a civil question.

  2. #22
    Senior Member DonTom's Avatar
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    "The only real threat I see (to people who are religious and oppose the notion of gay marriage) is that some gays do want to force religious people to accept gay marriage as legitimate/equal within the context of their religion (in the same way that the Boy Scouts are under pressure to allow openly gay scoutmasters, etc.)"

    I have not heard of any non-religious gays trying to get a church to accept and do same sex marriages. But I have heard of fights against churches that try to use the legal system to fight against making same sex marriage legal.

    For those gays who are religious, as long as the battle stays within their own religion, I see nothing wrong with that. But if the church rules against them and kicks the gays out, I see nothing wrong with that either. Most can find another church that will accept them, but some were raised in a certain religion and try to change it, since they themselves cannot change.

    You probably don't know the real story (so few do) about the BSA and James Dale, the Eagle Scout Master. Most people don't even realize what caused that mess. James Dale Won his case and that's why the BSA decided to be a private club.

    James Dale was a college student at Rutgers. He was 19 years old at the time. He has been a scout for 12 years, or since he was seven years old.

    The local newspaper ran an article on the front page of the Accent:
    HEALTH/FITNESS section of the Sunday issue. The Accent section is buried way back beyond Sports, Business, Weekend, and etc. The article headline said:
    "SEMINAR ADDRESSES NEEDS OF HOMOSEXUAL TEENS". The accompanying article was 25 paragraphs long. Dale is mentioned and quoted only in a couple places. There is also a picture accompanying the article, with Dale and two other people.

    The article was not about James Dale, nor was it about activism, it was about the mental health needs of gay teens and the resources available to help gay teens.

    But after the article was published, someone sent a copy anonymously to the local BSA chapter. Dale was summarily expelled.

    James Dale negotiated with the BSA for two years to return to scouting. It was a major part of his life. The BSA refused to readmit him. So he finally sued.

    The first court dismissed his case without hearing it. He appealed. The next court up determined that he was entitled to his day in court. He sued, he won, and the NJ State Supreme Court unanimously ruled that the BSA had violated his civil rights by expelling him.

    So then the BSA became a private club, much like the KKK, so they can discriminate against anybody they want to.


    Dale getting kicked out for being "outed" is what caused that mess with the BSA.

    And nobody can say he broke any of the BSA rules. Nobody can even say he wasn't virgin. He got kicked out for who he was, not for anything he did. Just like a race issue, IMAO.


    -Don-

  3. #23
    Senior Member DonTom's Avatar
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    It'd be nice if there were a word/term we could use in place of "civil union" that people like as much as "marriage."
    I could not care less about the name used. Just get rid of the DOMA.

    And then Tom & I won't have to do our income taxes this way besides paying a lot more than a married couple in all the exact same situations as us.

    But some gays want the name "marriage" because they do not like to be "separate but equal".

    There are many issues there too. Such as the countless forms that ask if you're married. We should be able to answer without even saying we're gay (not that I would care).

    -Don-
    Last edited by DonTom; 05-30-2010 at 04:28 AM.

  4. #24
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Well, a couple of points... I think I can speak on the scout issue, as an Eagle Scout myself, etc:

    The BSA has always been a private organization. Local troops typically have a sponsor-type relationship with a church (or school) which allows the troop to use the facilities for meetings and such. I think that was the bone of contention, vis-a-vis the gay issue.

    The BSA, as an organization, never explicitly/officially said anything about homosexuality (at least when I was a Scout back in the early 1980s). However, the Scout Oath does demand that a Scout be "reverent" as well as "morally straight" - and this is taken, implicitly, to mean no same-sex stuff.

    My opinion: Dale had to know that the BSA is opposed to homosexuality, period. Anyone who has been a Boy Scout knows this. He therefore should have expected - and accepted - his dismissal for having made a public issue of his homosexuality.

    Do I personally agree with the scout policy on gays? No. Would I personally be ok with allowing gay men to serve as scoutmasters? Sure. (Unlike Gail,I do not equate being gay with being a kid toucher!)

    But, I also accept the BSA's right to make whatever rules it wishes, for membership and otherwise. And I strongly believe people should respect such rules - and if they don't like them, walk away or form your own organization with rules more to your liking. Or just shut up.

    For example, even though I personally have no specific religious faith, I went along with that aspect of the BSA's program - its requirements - to get my Eagle Scout. I understood that, had I stated openly my lack of any religious faith, I would not have been eligible to become an Eagle Scout. So I kept my mouth shut. And I would never in a million years expect the BSA to change its rules on religion/faith to accommodate me.

    Dale should have done the same.

  5. #25
    Senior Member DonTom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eric View Post
    The BSA has always been a private organization.
    Then why the court case AFTER Jame Dale where the courts decided that the BSA can become a private club?
    For example, even though I personally have no specific religious faith, I went along with that aspect of the BSA's program - its requirements - to get my Eagle Scout. I understood that, had I stated openly my lack of any religious faith, I would not have been eligible to become an Eagle Scout. So I kept my mouth shut.
    Are you saying you never told ANYBODY about your lack of religious faith? Or are you saying you kept your mouth shout in the BSA as James Dale did?

    BTW, I was in the BSA too, but in the 1950's

    -Don-

  6. #26
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    "Then why the court case AFTER Jame Dale where the courts decided that the BSA can become a private club?"

    If I recall correctly, the legal issue revolved around use of public facilities by the Scouts, such as schools. Tax-exempt status may have been involved, too.

    In any case, the BSA was always a private club, in the plain English meaning of that term. I know that since the (so-called) "Civil Rights" movements of the 1960s, the law has tried (and succeeded) in calling obviously private businesses, clubs, property, etc., "public accommodations" subject to being forced to admit/serve everyone, etc. But the BSA was never a "public" entity in the plain (legitimate) meaning of that term, such as a court building. It was (and is) a private club, like the Masons.

    "Are you saying you never told ANYBODY about your lack of religious faith? Or are you saying you kept your mouth shout in the BSA as James Dale did?"

    The point is, the Scouts would have had every right to decline my candidacy for Eagle Scout had they discovered my lack of any religious belief.

    Dale (an Eagle Scout himself, if I recall correctly) knew that his being gay would cause problems for him with the organization and should have had the grace to bow out without making a fuss.

    Again, I personally don't have a problem with gays in Scouts. But that's beside the point. The point is that the Scouts has every right to set down whatever rules/requirements it wishes, like 'em or not. This business of trying to forcibly change a private organization's rules, entrance requirements, etc,. is a hideous affront to human liberty and just plain bad manners.

    Dale is welcome to try to convince the Scouts to change policy by peaceful, non-coercive means. I fully support that. But when he decided to attack the BSA through the courts - costing them probably millions of dollars in legal fees - because the organization didn't cater to him, he became another Maggot as far as I am concerned.











    BTW, I was in the BSA too, but in the 1950's

    [/COLOR]
    -Don-
    [/QUOTE]

  7. #27
    Senior Member DonTom's Avatar
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    The point is that the Scouts has every right to set down whatever rules/requirements it wishes, like 'em or not.
    So you're saying that they have always been a private club and therefore can discriminate on race or anything else they wish, right?

    Okay, I can accept that. But then shouldn't the BSA be treated much like any other private club and have no more governmental support than the KKK can get? If you don't agree, what standards should be set?

    Or, IYO, should the BSA have a totally different set of rules from other private organizations that discriminate in the exact same ways? And if so, why?


    -Don-

  8. #28
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    "So you're saying that they have always been a private club and therefore can discriminate on race or anything else they wish, right?"

    In principle - yes. That would be my argument based on the concept of free association. If the Scouts (or any private club) wants to exclude the openly irreligious, gay - or non-whites, for that matter - it is their right to do so, just as women and gays and blacks have every right (in my opinion) to form their own exclusive clubs, if they so wish. Live - and let live! People who insist on forcing themselves on others, or trying to make others accept them/their views, etc. - ultimately, at gunpoint - literally ... are loathsome vermin.

    "Okay, I can accept that. But then shouldn't the BSA be treated much like any other private club and have no more governmental support than the KKK can get? If you don't agree, what standards should be set?"

    If you mean funding - no, I don't believe any private club should be provided funds extracted by others at gunpoint (taxes). I'm a Libertarian. I don't believe in using the police power of the government to compel one man to financially support another man, or some group (no matter how "worthy" the group may be).

    If you mean, letting the Scouts (or whatever group) use taxpayer-funded facilities such as schools for meetings and so on, I say all such groups should be allowed to make us of public facilities paid for by everyone's taxes.

    "Or, IYO, should the BSA have a totally different set of rules from other private organizations that discriminate in the exact same ways? And if so, why? "

    The problem disappears if you take government force out of the equation and leave it up to free people to associate (or not) with others, on the basis of mutual affinity or interest.

  9. #29
    Senior Member DonTom's Avatar
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    If you mean, letting the Scouts (or whatever group) use taxpayer-funded facilities such as schools for meetings and so on, I say all such groups should be allowed to make us of public facilities paid for by everyone's taxes.
    I think you're saying treat the KKK and the BSA the exact same way. I have no problem with that.

    BTW, I too am a Libertarian.

    -Don-

  10. #30
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DonTom View Post
    I think you're saying treat the KKK and the BSA the exact same way. I have no problem with that.

    BTW, I too am a Libertarian.

    -Don-
    I am!

    No private group should get a penny of taxpayer money. As Jefferson put it:

    "To compel a man to furnish funds for the propagation of ideas he opposes and even loathes is sinful and tyrannical."

  11. #31
    Eric:

    I've read that the real reason Catholic priests aren't allowed to marry goes back to the late Middle Ages, when the Church was trying to prevent priests (who could then marry and have children) from passing on their wealth (often considerable) to their heirs and families rather than keeping it within the Church.
    You are absolutely correct (and it's interesting that you are one of the few people I've encountered who is aware of that--even most Catholics I talk to are not).

    The RCC (Roman Catholic Church) had encouraged celibacy since the 4th century but never mandated it. Several Popes were married, and there is no Biblical basis for mandatory celibacy for church officials (there were no priests in the New Testament/Apostolic era).

    In the 11th century Pope Gregory VII made celibacy a requirement of the priesthood for the very reason you mentioned--nepotism was taking control of the local parishes (and their wealth) away from Rome and keeping it within local families. Many local priests had numerous 'concubines' and thus very extended families. Of course the RCC's official position is that the celibacy requirement is based on the notion that the priest should be focused on spiritual matters and not on the earthly endeavors of marriage and family.

    Ironically, there is no Church 'law' as such which absolutely requires priests to be celibate--it is 'practice' which means that married men who convert to Catholicism are eligible to become priests without casting off their wives, so there are quite a few married Catholic priests. But as I understand it there is almost no chance of a Catholic man getting married as a Catholic and then becoming a priest.

    Regardless, the policy seems (to me) to be a really bad idea. I think it is at the root of the Church's past (and current) problems with pederast priests.

    It's just not normal for a man, priest or not, to be celibate - all the "holy" stuff about being married to the church notwithstanding. Human urges for sex and intimate personal relationships/companionship are absolutely natural - and to expect any normal man to try to suppress and deny these natural urges and do without for the entire course of his life is like demanding that he go without food.

    So, my sense of it is that the policy discourages normal men from becoming Catholic priests. And encourages abnormal men to become Catholic priests - including men who are self-loathing gays.

    And kid touchers.
    Again, I think you've hit the nail on the head. Most normal people would not volunteer for a profession which requires celibacy. There are quite a few first person accounts which argue that the typical Catholic seminary is a hotbed of homosexual activity. That's not to say that gays are more or less like to abuse kids--many pedophiles are straight. But I completely agree with you that the celibacy policy attracts individuals with sexual hangups.

    Let me add, too, that I'm aware that there are, sadly, child molesters from every walk of life. In my opinion, the main problem with the RCC is not the fact that some priests are child abusers, but rather the way that the hierarchy has dealt (or refused to deal) with the problem by sweeping it under the rug, paying off the victims, moving the abusers from parish to parish instead of defrocking them, etc.
    Last edited by KentAZ; 06-20-2010 at 10:19 PM.

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