A post-Vatican American Catholic church

(Two issues, I think: (1) gambling, (2) process. No one seems to approve of the Speaker's current conduct with respect to the latter. - promoted by Bob Neer)

Boston’s own Andrew Bacevich, a self-described “Catholic Conservative”, writes a provocative opinion piece in today’s Globe — “Don’t look to Rome for the true Catholic voices“. For those like jconway and Christopher who seek insight into what the unfolding scandal means for American Catholics, this strikes me as a must-read. For example (emphasis mine):

Why would anyone choose voluntarily to affiliate with such an organization? In offering his own answer to that question, the novelist Walker Percy, himself a convert, once wrote: “The reason I am a Catholic is that I believe that what the Catholic Church proposes is true.” Yet if truth exists and if a Catholic Christian interpretation of truth retains any potential for illuminating the human condition, its advocates will henceforth have to come from somewhere other than Rome.

Here lies the challenge facing present-day believers. Members of a discredited hierarchy are no longer capable of articulating the truth entrusted to the Church. So people of faith must assume responsibility for doing so, interpreting the message of the Gospels for our time and thereby fashioning a much needed critique of the cultural confusion that modernity has wrought.

In this undertaking, Catholics in this country have a large role to play. Preoccupied with keeping discipline and order and with preserving their own status (no ordination of women!), American bishops will have little to offer.

The main burden of engaging the world from an authentically Catholic perspective will fall elsewhere. We must look to universities like Notre Dame and Boston College that remain seriously committed to their Catholic identity; to independent publications such as Commonweal magazine and the Jesuit weekly America; to grassroots lay organizations such as Voice of the Faithful or to the radical Catholic Worker movement founded by Dorothy Day; and to the communities of religious men and women, their numbers in decline, who in forsaking worldly ambition pursue lives of quiet holiness.

This church — the real church, not the institutional one — will necessarily speak with many contending voices. Out of introspection and before discernment comes disagreement and dissent. A season of debate is upon us, with the outcome revealing what — if anything — a movement based on the teachings of Jesus Christ still has to say to a post-Christian world. The prospect of that debate — which the hierarchy will seek to suppress — is something that serious Catholics should relish.

Seldom has the summons to witness to truth been clearer. Whether we Catholics will answer that summons now becomes the issue.

Andrew Bacevich has laid down the gauntlet — the question is whether self-professed American Catholics (especially lay Catholics) will take it up. This is why whining about “anti-Catholic bias” is so infuriatingly counter-productive — the abuse is real, the conspiracy is real, the moral bankruptcy is real and apparent.

The implications for the Catholic church in America are profound.


Meanwhile, Christopher has asked several times what steps secular authorities can take to address the criminal conspiracy to protect clergy sex abusers.

Another piece in this morning’s Globe offers a glimpse of how secular authorities must properly protect our communities from sex abusers (emphasis mine):

[The accused abuser] pleaded not guilty yesterday to one count of child rape, the Middlesex district attorney’s office said in a statement. Cambridge District Court Judge Michelle Hogan ordered that [the accused] be held on $5,000 cash bail.

If released, [the accused] must stay away from the victim and the victim’s family, have no contact with witnesses, and have no unsupervised contact with children under 16. He cannot work with children and must report to a probation office weekly.

[snipped]

“These are troubling allegations against a man who we allege took advantage of and sexually assaulted the young vulnerable victim,” Leone said in the statement. “Compounding the troubling nature of the allegations is the fact that the defendant, until this incident was reported, worked directly with young children.”

This is the way a society that truly cares about its children protects them from predators who cruelly exploit them. This is what the Vatican shields its protectorate from. Had such policies been in place in Massachusetts, secular authorities might have saved thousands of lives from destruction at the hands of priests who “took advantage of and sexually assaulted the young vulnerable victim[s]“.

Secular authorities in Massachusetts and America must step up to the plate and stop shielding religious figures who prey on our children. Simple human decency demands it.

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35 Comments . Leave a comment below.
  1. OK, since you called me out...

    ...I will reiterate that I have ALWAYS supported prosecuting the offenders like in the example described above.  Action against local priests who abused and local Bishops who act contrary to applicable reporting laws is the easy part, and I think we can all be in agreement on that.  I have NEVER advocated treating these offenders differently from anybody else who commits the same crimes based on their religious status.

    There are a couple of different models the Church could adopt (though I'm not holding my breath).  One is the Anglican Communion model whereby national churches are more or less independent of each other, though see spiritual unity in the Pope/Vatican.  The other is the United Church of Christ model which is more lay-driven and democratic.  Just don't go blaming every Catholic who doesn't up and leave the Church tomorrow.  After all, we didn't all move to Canada during the Bush administration when many of our country's policies and actions were abhorrent and embarrassing.

  2. Andrew Bacevich Is Absoultely Correct

    as is the liberal theologian, James Carroll.

    As a practicing Roman Catholic I am not leaving but fighting to restore a moral center of my church.

    The Pope and the Vatican are acting more like local Hack politicians fighting to retain their turf and their jobs.

    The actions out of the Vatican read like the worst of both Massachusetts and Chicago machine politics.

    • Just curious...

      ... What does "fighting to restore a moral center of my church" while "The Pope and the Vatican are acting more like local Hack politicians", given the nature of the Church's official doctrine.  Wouldn't fighting somehow entail usurping papal authority in some measure?  What are lay-Catholic options given doctrinal authority?

      • The Pope Has Only LIMITED Infallibility

        And "infallibility"  has nothing to with the Hackarama that has developed over the centuries as the operational mechanism of the Church The coverup of the raping and sodimizing of little boys and girls by priest, NUNS - Yes, Nuns, Bishops and Cardinals is an abhorance and the Pope cannot claim "Infallibility" to shut up his critics. He can try but it will not work.

        Sorry, but as Cardinal Ratsinger, the Pope was just being ' A good German.

        Jesus said something to the effect that anyone who hurts a child would be better off having a millstone around his neck and be thrown into the river than continuing to hurt children.

        The Vatican and its henchmen would rather protect its own asshole pedophiles than protect the little children. Anyone who allowed this to happen in any degree has to go. If that includes the Pope.... don't let the door hit your cassack on the way out.

        Is that clear enough as to what a Vatican Hack is for you?

        Professional Catholics are blind or choose not to see the evil before them.

        I see the hand of Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit in this expose. Seems He wants to clean house as well and no human will be able to stop it.

        • I'm just asking...

          ...what the mechanisms are.  I'm assuming there is no impeachment procedure, yes?  Or is the note that infallibility is limited an indication that there is a way to do this without usurping papal doctrinal authority?  I don't know of any.

          Of course there is always hoping that 'public pressure' would have him resign.  I know that there have been abdications before, but could any of them be said to have happened because of public pressure?  The reason I ask is because such a situation (as far as I can tell) would be tantamount to recognition of 'lay-authority' in a way that is antithetical to Catholic doctrine.

          • You are correct that there are no impeachment proceeding ... except

            by God Himself.

            The Vatican is just showing its age and creekiness. All old men hacks who it appears think less of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and more about protecting their flanks, flacks and hacks.

            The best tool is for the Faithful to withhold any contributions to the Church - specifically Peter's Pense which goes directly to the Vatican. That is one thing they still understand... the power of the purse.

  3. Nostrodamus is going to be dead-on.

    • What was it he said?

      The Prophecy of St. Malachy has Benedict being the last Pope. http://www.catholic-pages.com/...

      • Ratzinger Covered Up A Pedophile Priest In Oakland California For Years

        A letter to and from Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger surfaced today which is close to a smoking gun.

        The San Francisco Oakland Diocese had a pedophile priest in its midst and wrote to Cardinal Ratzinger to have this criminal defrocked from the priesthood. Ratzinger refused for fear that it would hurt the "Universal church" and he allowed this pedophile priest to be transferred out to another parish to be of all things a ' youth worker'. Six years later after other allegations  Ratzinger finally relented and had the priest defrocked.

        Pope Ratzinger The First has no credibility with the flock and has to go. Maybe he can share a bed with the other pimp in Rome Bernie Law for that is all that Ratzinger is by his action . . . a PIMP !

  4. Do any of you remember the Borgias?

    Those Popes were supposed to end the Church too.

    The Roman Catholic Church has, over millenia, had virtually every kind of saint and criminal as Pope.

    Many people have left the Roman Church, or were left by it.  Orthodox, Protestant, Calvinist - all found a relationship with Christ and God which did not mean deferring to the authority of the Bishop of Rome.  But to expect the Church to fall based on defections is unrealistec.

    I can understand the desire to reform from within - groups like Voice of teh Faithful are doing this.  But thinking that a protest movement is going to tumble the papacy is wrong.

    • Agreed

      I think you're correct about the Vatican.

      On the other hand, I think are immediate and concrete steps that secular authorities can and should take to influence the legal and economic relationship between local parishes and the Vatican, regardless of the spiritual consequences (if any).

      I think secular authorities should pursue prosecution of the extensive international organization under the RICO and perhaps "Kingpin" statutes. I think that the extensive and international conspiracy to shield, enable, protect, and cover up the sexual abuse of tens of thousands of vulnerable adolescents by thousands of priests (several of whom were elevated to positions of power within this organization in the full knowledge of their crimes) makes the Vatican (and its local subsidiaries) a "racketeering enterprise" under the RICO statutes and a "criminal enterprise" under the Kingpin statutes.

      As such, secular authorities can and should do the following:

      1. Freeze their assets
      2. Impose significant financial penalties
      3. Prevent their employees from having access to children
      4. Indict and prosecute those who participate in the cover-up
      5. Arrest and jail indicted officials when and where possible
      6. Impose severe restrictions on material support for this enterprise from U.S. citizens

      As I've written elsewhere here, it seems to me that the Martin Luther approach — an "American Reformation", where American Catholics sever their institutional, business, and legal ties to the Vatican (they can, of course, worship however they choose) — is the only (or at least the best) workable outcome for local parishes who wish to continue worshiping in traditional ways while participating with the rest of the community in protecting vulnerable adolescents.

      • A few replies

        Since you called me out in your initial posting I will have a few replies and I will try and keep this as civil as possible.

        First off the 'Martin Luther' approach would not work, if American Catholics severed their ties to Rome they would cease to be Catholic. Vatican I re-asserted Papal supremacy, and the whole idea of being 'Catholic' is to belong to a Universal world wide church, and a Roman Catholic specifically adheres to following the Bishop of Rome as the Supreme Leader of the Church and the heir to the Throne of Peter. There is a large scriptural and liturgical tradition that dictates that Christ himself established the Church of Rome with Peter as its head. To sever those ties would not be a simple act of switching Church governance but a drastic act severing apostolic succession.

        Also most American Catholics would not support such a move and are standing by the Pope in this time of grave crisis.

        Your point that a radical reformation is the ONLY way to 'protect adolescents' is a bit exaggerated as there is a lot the American church can do on its own, and has done already to address abuse, without severing the ties of apostolic succession.

        That said you do make good points that the American church, which does have some autonomy from Rome, could do a whole lot more to address the sex abuse crisis and protect vulnerable adolescents. And for the most part it has. Under the great leadership of Cardinal George of Chicago and President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (or USCCB as its commonly known) an outside group was brought in to audit the records of the Catholic church, conduct an intensive study to determine just how wide spread the abuse was, and make recommendations to clean house. Among those recommendations include immediately turning over abusers to civil authorities and removing their access to children as soon as an accusation is filed, waiting until the accused is exonerated fully by civil authorities before returning him to service near youth, typically reassigning him even if he is exonerated to a non-youth based ministry, and if he is guilty immediately conducting a Canonical trial to defrock him and remove him from the priesthood. No priest pensions for any convicted priests even after their sentence is restored. It also led to the implementation, under Benedict, of global screening processes by psychologists to ensure no pedophiles entered the priesthood, a move criticized by some as unfairly targeting homosexuals, but that in truth only goes after pedophiles.

        Now besides the screening, the global Church from Rome has already released thousands of documents to civil authorities in Germany, and to the press at large. What it has failed to do IMO, and it should take a page from the American church, is establishing a comprehensive program to eliminate abuse and redress the victims. If Benedict were to announce such a program, and create a distinctly separate internal investigative arm to investigate priests, then I think he would go along way to addressing this crisis. And the faithful should pray that he does.    

        • Joseph Ratzinger has a personal legal problem

          When the thousands of priests who have abused adolescents, spread throughout the worldwide Roman Catholic church, are turned over to secular authorities (it will happen, sooner or later), Joseph Ratzinger and Bernard Law are going to have a very difficult personal legal problem. This is because those thousands of abusers, once in the hands of secular authorities, will no longer have any reason to keep their silence about the many gory details of the virtual "underground railroad" for rescuing clergy sex abusers set up by Joseph Ratzinger and executed in Massachusetts by Bernard Law.

          Secular authorities will offer persuasive enticements to these lower-level abusers in order to obtain the specifics needed to expose the highest level authorities. It only takes a few, and we will then begin to see all the incriminating specifics — names, dates, places, times, processes, euphemisms and code-words — all of them. As in every situation like this, the insiders who dealt with the system day in and day out know (and will reveal) far more than any outside investigators conducting an "audit".

          Not only do all the roads in this conspiracy lead to Rome, they lead directly to Joseph Ratzinger. Yesterday's disclosure of Mr. Ratzinger's personal involvement in delaying the laicization of Stephen Kiesle, who pleaded "no contest" to child molestation charges in 1978, is the first of what will surely turn into flood of documentation. Mr. Kiesle admitted "tying up and molesting two young boys in a San Francisco Bay area church rectory." It took four years for Joseph Ratzinger to take action against Mr. Kiesle, and another two years after that before he was finally laicized.

          From the above piece, here's a bit more background on Mr. Kiesle:

          Kiesle, who married after leaving the priesthood, was arrested and charged in 2002 with 13 counts of child molestation from the 1970s. All but two were thrown out after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down as unconstitutional a California law extending the statute of limitations.

          He pleaded no contest in 2004 to a felony for molesting a young girl in his Truckee home in 1995 and was sentenced to six years in state prison.

          The really-smoking gun, a letter from Joseph Ratzinger originally in Latin, has been translated by AP:

          Most Excellent Bishop

          Having received your letter of September 13 of this year, regarding the matter of the removal from all priestly burdens pertaining to Rev. Stephen Miller Kiesle in your diocese, it is my duty to share with you the following:

          This court, although it regards the arguments presented in favor of removal in this case to be of grave significance, nevertheless deems it necessary to consider the good of the Universal Church together with that of the petitioner, and it is also unable to make light of the detriment that granting the dispensation can provoke with the community of Christ's faithful, particularly regarding the young age of the petitioner.

          It is necessary for this Congregation to submit incidents of this sort to very careful consideration, which necessitates a longer period of time.

          In the meantime your Excellency must not fail to provide the petitioner with as much paternal care as possible and in addition to explain to same the rationale of this court, which is accustomed to proceed keeping the common good especially before its eyes.

          Let me take this occasion to convey sentiments of the highest regard always to you.

          Your most Reverend Excellency

          Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger

          Here is the original signature:

          You may, of course, "stand by" Joseph Ratzinger as you wish. There is, however, essentially no doubt left as to his personal role in creating, leading and executing this criminal conspiracy. This is the man elevated to Pope by the College of Cardinals, including Bernard Law.

          • The Call What Ratzinger Did $quot; PImping$quot;

            Sorry and sadly, as a faithful and practicing Roman Catholic that is all you can call his outrageous letter in Latin, English, German or in the original Aramaic.

    • Voices of the Faithful a front

      Aspects of that group are good and I am glad the Pope has met with them, the parts of the group advocating for compensation and justice for the victims. We can all agree that is fine and good.

      But there are other people within that group calling for the typical relativistic 'reforms' including female priests, married priests, and an even more dumbed down liturgy. Those 'reforms' would set the Church back and it would cease to be uniquely Catholic.

      • It's OK to disagree with reform proposals...

        ...but must you demean them by calling the group a "front".  It seems to me that Voice of the Faithful, while motivated to form in part by the abuse scandals, has always been up front about wanting to institute broader reforms.

        • The Voice of the Faithful

          The VotF are rare in having their faith in the Church, not its administrators.  Hope for the Vatican lies with those who work to reform, rather than walk away as millions of others have.

          On the other hand, the Vatican can just use its lengthy pedigree as comfort that it's a wise move to refuse to adapt to a changed world.  That worked out so well for the Egyptian pharaohs.

          sabutai   @   Tue 4 Dec 7:00 PM
          • Alright

            There is no church without the apostolic succession, there is no church without the chair of Peter being filled. If you don't believe in Papal Supremacy than you are in schism with the Church, just ask the Orthodox or the Protestants.  

            • You seem to be saying

              that Protestants and the Orthodox do not have churches. That's pretty extreme.  

              • And also right in line with the Pope

                Benedict XVI was quoted a while back as saying that the others are "not churches in the proper sense".  Needless to say, the rest of us strongly disagree.

            • Huh?

              These two have nothing to do with one another.  VotF has never argued against having a pope...they've argued for respecting apostolic succession by honoring the spirit and ideals of Vatican II, and they've argued for living out the charge Jesus left to the Church, rather than treating it as a money-making protection racket.  A thoroughly reformed Catholic Church would still have apostolic succession.

              sabutai   @   Tue 4 Dec 7:00 PM
        • He is what I call $quot; A Professional Catholic$quot;

          Hear no evil, speak no evil [ except if you disagree with him/her],do no evil [ unless your friends are into little boys]

          • Disagree

            I am what I would prefer to call a Roman Catholic, that is a Catholic and a Christian that believes that the proper authority of the church emanates from the See of Peter, a belief that practicing Catholics believe Christ had, along with over two thousand years of church tradition. There is nothing 'professional' about it. I would even reject the label 'traditionalist' since while I do love the Latin mass I also feel that the majority of the Vatican II reforms were vital to modernize the church, even if it was poorly implemented and, for a time, killed the availability of the Latin liturgy. And Benedict has done a great job restoring the rights of those who want to hear it, of articulating a truly orthodox theology, and, lately, though admittedly not during his time as a Cardinal, has done a much better job than his predecessor addressing the abuse crisis. Can he do a whole lot more? Of course. Was the Oakland letter completely repugnant? Yes and if he was smart he would immediately apologize and release all the information he has. The only solution as I have said before, and as many here agree with me on, even if they disagree with my take on the Church structure, is to turn over the investigation to civil authorities and let them comb over all the documents. This slow trickle of releasing damaging information is doing more harm than good to all sides, and expecting the clergy to police themselves is not only unfair to them since obviously even the most earnest anti-abuse clergy are ill equipped to lead criminal investigations, it also creates profound conflicts of interests that prelates from Cardinal Law to the bishops in Ireland abused to cover up.

            Before writing the church off, or using this scandal to call for a series of radical reforms that would distinctly destroy the Catholic identity of the Church, I would advocate that the faithful wait and see all the evidence before rushing to such hasty judgments. The Church has survived warfare, it has survived corrupt Pope's, and it has survived schisms and infighting before, it can survive it again. So long as you still believe in the redeeming power of Christ revealed through the Scriptures and the Eucharist than there is still a home for you in the Catholic church.  

            • Spiritual authority can be different from secular ownership

              Spiritual authority can emanate from whomever you like, that need have nothing to do with who owns the real estate, who holds the bank accounts, and who is responsible to secular authorities for secular matters.

      • Let See,,,,

        All the original apostles were ..... Oh, My God.... Jewish Men - Married Jewish MEN for the most part.

        So, if your logic follows only Jewish MEN - married or not - can become Catholic Priests.

        • The Pharisee's didn't see it that way

          They didn't crucify Christ for blasphemy for shits and giggles, it is because his teachings violated their understanding of Jewish law. To the Jewish leaders at that time Christ was not Jewish. To most Jewish theologians even today, Christ is not Jewish, at least in the religious sense. Ethnically Jewish there is no doubt, he is an Israelite. But the religious question is a bit thorny.

          Also all the married apostles were celibate after ordination even if they were married, and the Apostle Paul called for constancy amongst the early church clergy, meaning that one could have a wife before ordination, but not after, and no conjugal relations after ordination either. Augustine, Ambrose, Origen, most of the early Church fathers and Popes were also celibate. I have a Protestant friend becoming a minister who wishes to remain a life long celibate. It has nothing to do with sex, but everything to do with living a Christ centered life based around the platonic and stoic schools adapted to Christian theology. Furthermore celibacy and abuse have nothing to do with each other, so anyone saying 'the abuse crisis is solved by married priests' is either lying or ignorant. Allowing priests to marry would have a lot of undeniable benefits, including increasing vocations and connecting priests with their parishoner's family life, but to argue it reduces abuse is fallacious.  

          • They didn't crucify Jesus at all

            It was the Romans.  Read your Bible.

            sabutai   @   Tue 4 Dec 7:00 PM
            • That's like pinning an execution

              on the guy that injects the chemicals rather than the justice system that condemned him.

              • Fail

                At the time of Christ, a Jewish execution would have been through stoning to death. It was the Romans who condemned him and the Romans who executed him.

              • No

                The guy who injects the chemicals is paid to do so -- that is his job and duty.  The Romans never promised to bend to the will of the local elites...that wasn't their job to carry out the desires of their subjugated citizens.  The Romans simply made the cold decision that the life of one man was preferable to corralling the local rabble who were so worked up about this.  Calm and taxes were worth one man's life, but the Romans had no duty to make this decision.

                sabutai   @   Tue 4 Dec 7:00 PM
            • Hmm

              Pretty sure Pilate said the blood wasn't on his hands.  

          • I STRONGLY encourage you to learn more history

            I don't mean memorize Christian tracts, I mean actually study history. Paul was almost certainly a Rabbi. As such, he (like Jesus) was strongly encouraged by his culture to be married. Paul was also strongly conflicted about his sexuality. Many clinicians describe his road-to-Damascus experience as a psychotic "break" — this should not diminish its spiritual impact or the extraordinary vision it provided him and us about the living body of believers he was instrumental in creating. Without Paul, "Christianity" would be just another obscure ancient Jewish sect.

            For all of his many contributions, Paul's misogyny is legendary — his writings about women are among the most offensively toxic in the Christian canon. Your claim that "most of the early Church fathers and Popes were also celibate" is not supported by fact. Celibacy was but one particular expression of spiritually among many.

            The effective widespread implementation of the doctrine of priestly celibacy was imposed by Gregory in the eleventh century — in no small part in reaction to the many failings of the "Saeculum obscurum" between 904 (Pope Sergius III) and 964 (Pope John XII). A significant influence on this decision was the growing number of patrimony suits being brought against clergy — local parishes were both accumulating wealth and being passed from father to son, and clergy were thus tempting targets for legitimate and not-so-legitimate claims of paternity (with the associated payoffs). The doctrine of priestly celibacy solved the financial aspects of this problem.

            As sabutai has so succinctly observed, the Romans crucified Christ. The passion narratives are fundamentally antisemitic tracts inserted decades after the events in order to emphasize, for the benefit of Roman authorities intent on solving Rome's "Jewish problem" in AD 70, the distinction between the early Christian church and Judaism. The events as described would never have taken place during high holidays. The Jewish form of execution was stoning to death; crucifixion was the Roman method. The Eucharist itself is fundamentally antisemitic — Jews abhor drinking blood (as reflected in virtually all of the Jewish dietary laws).

            You write "To most Jewish theologians even today, Christ is not Jewish, at least in the religious sense." You could not be more mistaken. Have you ever attended Jewish services? Have you ever spoken with a Rabbi about this? Jews view Jesus as a not only Jewish, but a Rabbi. Jews reject his claim to be Messiah; they do not reject his Judaism.

            • It was typical empire-running

              Pacify the local elites with something small (one man's life) to keep the rabble calm and the taxes flowing.  Romans did this all the time...doesn't make it right, but they did do it.  People who manage to convince themselves that the Jewish priests were actually running this corner of the Roman Empire, rather than serving as happy quislings to their people, have no idea what an empire is, it seems.

              sabutai   @   Tue 4 Dec 7:00 PM
              • Amen ! This Week's Gospel Reading at Mass Is Particularly Offensive

                It reads that the Apostle were upstairs "in a locked room for fear of the Jews."

                Excuse me but were they afraid of themselves because they were all Jews.

                If there was anyone to fear it was the Romans and not the Jews.

                Then again, if you live in Milton Massachusetts the hack town fathers are performing a little "Final Solution" in that town. The town's only remaining temple, Temple Shalom, is being exiled out of town. The Temple wants to sell part of its property to CVS and CVS will build them a smaller temple on the property. The town will not support the necessary zoning change. So, Temple Shalom will soon shut its doors in Milton.

                A little Kristallnacht in the very Irish Catholic Milton.

            • Not disagreeing

              I am also saying that the Christian theology is that Christ is the Messiah, is a savior, and is the son of God. To Jews, both ancient and modern, the idea that Christ is any of those things is antithetical to their theology. So the idea that 'Christ is Jewish' is a bit simplistic. Also the definition of rabbi changed. To say Paul or Jesus were called rabbi is correct, since rabbi simply meant teacher at that time, it did not mean a Jewish cleric until after the diaspora and the Jewish clergy went from being a separate and exalted cleric caste to a community leader that was simply well read in the Torah within the various Jewish enclaves throughout Europe. Paul also wanted to preach to the Gentiles which was forbidden under Jewish law at the time. To his contemporaries Paul ceased to be a good Jew because of that. Paul was also never married. Peter and James are the only Apostolic fathers known to have been married, and in both cases it is likely they practiced chastity within their marriage. Augustine and Ambrose were also celibate. Though yes celibacy was the exception rather than the norm before the Gregorian period. I never denied that, I did say that to argue celibacy was made in response to those property disputes is also inaccurate, as it was long held as a value not just by Christian clerics but by all Christians.  

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