I’ve always been interested in religion, religious institutions and the history derived from them, and I’ve always wondered where the idea for celibacy came from as far as in modern Catholic dogma.
I know that historically, celibacy has been part and parcel to being a priest/priestess in a number of religions…the Vestal Virgins come to mind (mostly because of the Mel Brooks movie History of the World Part I)…but I’ve yet to read anything about the other religious sects in Rome with regard to men.
Let’s face facts, Romans were some filthy motherfuckers. If there was a way to abuse yourself or somebody else, they did it and came up with some fancy Latin names for it. So how did that impact the religious orders? Julius Caesar himself was at one time Pontificus Maximus (the equivalent of the Pope) and was not know for his celibacy (granted, he wasn’t known for being particularly lacivious either). Most of the patrician and equestrian classes had ties to the church in Rome prior to Christianity and well after, and at a time where debauchery was the not only the norm, but considered healthy.
So where do these attitudes on sex and being a priest come from? (Don’t get me started on nuns). I’m no expert, and don’t pretend to be, but the little bit I have read (thanks Wikipedia!) suggests that it has something to do with sacrificing the mortal/fleshy world in favor of the etheral. To truly be able to perform as a priest, shaman or holy man/woman in any religion, it was considered necessary to divorce oneself not only from sex, but also gender. Hence the eunuch’s role in many of these religions/cults. The utlimate form of sacrifice and religious commitment was to cut your shit off!
So why then, don’t Catholic priests? The Holy Roman Church is as old as Constatine (circa 300 A.D., right? Actually, my theory is that the Roman Empire never went anywhere, but just morphed into the Holy Roman Empire), and eunuchs were definitely around then. Why didn’t they adobpt this practice? From the lives of the Popes, to current day scandals, that would have eliminated a lot of credibility issues (ok, except for the whole man in the sky, and begotten son zombie stories…it hasn’t really hampered the church’s credibility much) and truly shown the priesthood as a sacrifice. In my mind, and I’m sure I’m not alone, that would certainly speak to the commitment of someone who became a priest. Much respect to anyone who would do that for their religion (ok, those Haley/Bop, cyanide-applesauce eaten motherfuckers excluded).
So I say to you Catholic Church, if you want me to take your priests seriously, and you want to rid yourselves of future scandals, and kind of make amends for the past, (sort of an organizational “act of contrition”, maybe?), you should really cut your shit off.
*In addendum, sell all that property, finery, gold, jewels, art, literature…trillions worth…and give it to the poor. A truly selfless act that would jibe right with those vows of poverty you took (props to Sarah Silverman for that idea).