6.01.2009

Celibacy and divorce

I've been reading John P. Meier's latest volume in his Marginal Jew series, and came across this passage, which I thought was worth sharing:
[O]ne wonders whether there is any connection between the celibate lifestyle of Jesus and his absolutist view on divorce. I remember with a smile how, after discussing the possible celibacy of Jesus during a lecture at the University of California, San Diego, the wife of my professor-host told me that the best proof that Jesus was celibate was that he totally forbade divorce--something no married man would ever have done. This may at first seem just a joke, but I invite the reader to reflect on the different approaches to divorce in the Catholic and Protestant churches and to ponder whether there is a correlation between the legal status of divorce and the marital status of the hierarchy in the discipline of each group. Celibate Catholic bishops and priests teach the Catholic laity that divorce is not permitted, while a mostly married Protestant clergy--though certainly not happy with the high divorce rate--generally do allow divorce and remarriage in their churches. (4.118)
I think it's very likely that there is a correlation. I would also point out that the Eastern Orthodox churches, where married priests are common, also have a greater acceptance of divorce than in the Catholic Church.

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2 Comments:

Blogger crystal said...

I saw a lecture by Keith Ward that mentioned what Jesus said about divorce - interesting.

10:02 PM  
Blogger PrickliestPear said...

Thanks for posting that, Crystal. Very interesting.

I think I'm going to be exploring this a lot more in the next little while.

10:46 PM  

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