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Letters

Clerical Celibacy (letter)

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 Contents - Feb 2006AD2000 February 2006 - Buy a copy now
Editorial: Catholic schools: how much accountability? - Michael Gilchrist
Cardinal Arinze on the Liturgy: the Mass is not entertainment - Cardinal Francis Arinze
News: The Church Around the World
Catechesis: Latest research on Catholic school leavers - Michael Gilchrist
Education: Catholic Church and her schools face a 'wake-up call' - Bishop Geoffrey Jarrett
Liturgical Music: The spiritual impact of Msgr. Richard Schuler's priestly leadership and example - Fr John T. Zuhlsdorf
Priestly vocations: the key role of bishops - John Mallon
New Age paganism's creeping influence within the Church - Wanda Skowronska
Blessed Charles de Foucauld: seeking nothing but God's will - Dr Frank Mobbs
The Church of England: beyond satire? - Rev Peter Mullen
Letters: Clerical Celibacy (letter) - Fr Adrian Head
Letters: All Saints Day (letter) - M & L Morrissey
Letters: Ars priests retreat - Fr Robert Markey
Letters: Wrong chord? (letter) - John Daly
Prayer: The Abandonment Prayer of Charles de Foucauld
Letters: Beautiful music (letter) - Josephine Landsberg
Letters: Cardinal von Galen (letter) - Denise M. Cameron
Letters: Survival of the fittest (letter) - Arthur Negus
Letters: Evolutionism - Fr G.H. Duggan SM
Letters: Intelligent design (letter) - Paul MacLeod
Letters: Homilies (letter) - Robert Prinzen-Wood
Letters: Catholic magazines needed in India - Fr A. Joseph
Letters: EWTN tapes available - Harry and Antoinette Zwaans
Books: Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church - Peter Westmore (reviewer)
Books: The Pope Benedict Code, by Joanna Bogle - Michael Gilchrist (reviewer)
Books: For the Life of the World:St Maximilian and the Eucharist, by Fr Jerzy Domanski - Michael Gilchrist (reviewer)
Books: CATHOLIC FAMILY CATECHISM: Disciples' Edition and Apostles' Edition, Fr Tierney - Michael Gilchrist (reviewer)
Events: Virtus - Retreat for Young Men
Events: Lecture on the Compendium of the Catechism - Msgr Peter Elliott
Books: Stimulating reading from AD Books
Reflection: The hidden treasure of the Holy Mass - St Leonard of Port Maurice

Philip Holberton, in his letter in the December-January AD2000, quoted from the Catholic Encyclopaedia about the intervention of a Bishop Paphnutius in the Council at Nicea.

However, in the April 2003 issue of Homiletic and Pastoral Review, in an article by Hugh Ballantyne called "The Origins of Priestly Celibacy", we read:

"Scholarly doubts about Paphnutius date back to Bernold of Constance and Pope Gregory VII in the eleventh century. In the sixteenth century Cardinals Baronius and Bellarmine both argued that the legend was untrustworthy. In 1761 the Bollandist scholar Stiltnick concluded that it was a forgery.

"Finally in 1968 Friedhelm Winkelmann showed that the Paphnutius episode was a 'hagiographic fabulation'. There was indeed a monk called Paphnutius, but he was probably not a bishop and he was certainly not present at the Council of Nicaea. However, if the Paphnutius episode is now dismissed as a fake, then the one and only real argument for a married clergy in the early Church collapses.

"In 1969 Christian Cocchini SJ completed his doctoral thesis at the Institute Catholique, on the history of clerical celibacy. The president of the examiners who approved his dissertation was Cardinal Danielou. Fr Cocchini's mastery of the sources from the New Testament to the seventh century is unequalled.

"After Fr Cocchini it is no longer possible to believe the old conventional wisdom based upon Funk (cf. the Bickell-Funk public debate). The contrary is now clear. From the beginnings of the Church, and throughout the Greco-Latin world, a single rule prevailed: priests were celibate; or else, if they had married before ordination, they and their wives promised to live together thereafter without the use of the marriage. This rule was an Apostolic norm; it was proclaimed and practised by the Apostles; and that norm in turn was founded upon the example of our Lord himself.

"Besides Fr Christian Cocchini SJ, one can refer to books written by Alfons Cardinal Stickler and Stefan Heid."

FR ADRIAN HEAD
Quorn, SA

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Reprinted from AD2000 Vol 19 No 1 (February 2006), p. 14

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