Monday, 13 February 2017

A Brief History of Celibacy in the
Catholic Church


First Century
Peter, the first pope, and the apostles that Jesus chose were, for the most part, married men. The New Testament implies that women presided at eucharistic meals in the early church.
Second and Third Century
Age of Gnosticism: light and spirit are good, darkness and material things are evil. A person cannot be married and be perfect. However, most priests were married.
Fourth Century
306-Council of Elvira, Spain, decree #43: a priest who sleeps with his wife the night before Mass will lose his job.
325-Council of Nicea: decreed that after ordination a priest could not marry. Proclaimed the Nicene Creed.
352-Council of Laodicea: women are not to be ordained. This suggests that before this time there was ordination of women.
385-Pope Siricius left his wife in order to become pope. Decreed that priests may no longer sleep with their wives.
Fifth Century
401-St. Augustine wrote, Nothing is so powerful in drawing the spirit of a man downwards as the caresses of a woman.
Sixth Century
567-2nd Council of Tours: any cleric found in bed with his wife would be excommunicated for a year and reduced to the lay state.
580-Pope Pelagius II: his policy was not to bother married priests as long as they did not hand over church property to wives or children.
590-604-Pope Gregory the Great said that all sexual desire is sinful in itself (meaning that sexual desire is intrinsically evil?).
Seventh Century
France: documents show that the majority of priest were married.
Eighth Century
St. Boniface reported to the pope that in Germany almost no bishop or priest was celibate.
Ninth Century
836-Council of Aix-la-Chapelle openly admitted that abortions and infanticide took place in convents and monasteries to cover up activities of uncelibate clerics.
St. Ulrich, a holy bishop, argued from scripture and common sense that the only way to purify the church from the worst excesses of celibacy was to permit priests to marry.
Eleventh Century
Benedict IX dispensed himself from celibacy and resigned in order to marry.
1074-Pope Gregory VII said anyone to be ordained must first pledge celibacy: priests [must] first escape from the clutches of their wives.
1095-Pope Urban II had priests wives sold into slavery, children were abandoned.
Twelfth Century
1123-Pope Calistus II: First Lateran Council decreed that clerical marriages were invalid.
1139-Pope Innocent II: Second Lateran Council confirmed the previous councils decree.
Fourteenth Century
Bishop Pelagio complains that women are still ordained and hearing confessions.
Fifteenth CenturyTransition; 50% of priests are married and accepted by the people.
Sixteenth Century
1545-63-Council of Trent states that celibacy and virginity are superior to marriage.
1517-Martin Luther.
1530-Henry VIII.
Seventeenth Century
Inquisition. Galileo. Newton.
Eighteenth Century
1776-American Declaration of Independence.
1789-French Revolution.
Nineteenth Century
1847-Marx, Communist Manifesto.
1869-First Vatican Council; infallibility of pope.
Twentieth Century
1930-Pope Pius XI: sex can be good and holy.
1951-Pope Pius XII: married Lutheran pastor ordained catholic priest in Germany.
1962-Pope John XXIII: Vatican Council II; vernacular; marriage is equal to virginity.
1966-Pope Paul VI: celibacy dispensations.
1970s-Ludmilla Javorova and several other Czech women ordained to serve needs of women imprisoned by Communists.
1978-Pope John Paul II: puts a freeze on dispensations.
1983-New Canon Law.
1980-Married Anglican/Episcopal pastors are ordained as catholic priests in the U.S.; also in Canada and England in 1994.


Popes who were married

St. Peter, Apostle
St. Felix III 483-492 (2 children)
St. Hormidas 514-523 (1 son)
St. Silverus (Antonia) 536-537
Hadrian II 867-872 (1 daughter)
Clement IV 1265-1268 (2 daughters)
Felix V 1439-1449 (1 son)


Popes who were the sons of other popes, other clergy

Name of PopePapacySon of
St. Damascus I366-348St. Lorenzo, priest
St. Innocent I401-417Anastasius I
Boniface418-422son of a priest
St. Felix483-492son of a priest
Anastasius II496-498son of a priest
St. Agapitus I535-536Gordiaous, priest
St. Silverus536-537St. Homidas, pope
Deusdedit882-884son of a priest
Boniface VI896-896Hadrian, bishop
John XI931-935Pope Sergius III
John XV989-996Leo, priest

Popes who had illegitimate children after 1139

Innocent VIII1484-1492several children
Alexander VI1492-1503several children
Julius1503-15133 daughters
Paul III1534-15493 sons, 1 daughter
Pius IV1559-15653 sons
Gregory XIII1572-15851 son

History sources:
Oxford Dictionary of Popes; H.C. Lea History of Sacerdotal Celibacy in the Christian Church 1957; E. Schillebeeckx The Church with a Human Face 1985; J. McSorley Outline History of the Church by Centuries 1957; F.A.Foy (Ed.) 1990 Catholic Almanac 1989; D.L. Carmody The Double Cross - Ordination, Abortion and Catholic Feminism 1986; P.K. Jewtt The Ordination of Women 1980; A.F. Ide God's Girls - Ordination of Women in the Early Christian & Gnostic Churches 1986; E. Schüssler Fiorenza In Memory of Her 1984; P. DeRosa Vicars of Christ 1988.

Myths and Facts

Myth: All priests take a vow of celibacy.
Fact: Most priests do not take a vow. It is a promise made before the bishop.
Myth: Celibacy is not the reason for the vocation shortage.
Fact: A 1983 survey of Protestant churches shows a surplus of clergy; the Catholic church alone has a shortage.
Myth: Clerical celibacy has been the norm since the Second Lateran Council in 1139.
Fact: Priests and even popes still continued to marry and have children for several hundred years after that date. In fact, the Eastern Catholic Church still has married priests.
     In the Latin Church, one may be a married priest if:
  • one is a Protestant pastor first; or
  • if one is a life-long Catholic but promises never again to have sexual relations with ones wife.
In our discussions of celibacy and priestly sexuality it is good to have the perspective of history to help us understand.
Celibacy should be optional.
Most priests would be dood priests and happily married men.
A small number of priests and seminarians would be Jack the Lads.
However with more married priests in the Church the Church could show the Jack the Lads to the door more easily.


  1. I have always had a sense of vocation outside of being married which I am with 4 lovely kids.

    But I have always felt a call to serve in Gods church. I thought by living in an order at least I'd have the company of a brotherhood to help with the lost I'd suffer under the celibacy promise.

    I couldn't live that lie not that I was hetrosexually active or in any relationship but I knew I needed LOVE in my life.

    The life of a Diocesan ptriest then was definitely too lonely for me. I was not prepared to live that type of life with fringe benefits from the house keeper if it were to happen.

    So God created us to be sexual and yet to serve him I am required by my Roman Catholic faith to be sexless. I was not aware of the Eastern Rite and their ability to be a married priest until last year. I strongly object to mans celebacy rules.

    So it goes many are called and few get choosen, good men are destroyed by the rules. I would say my life so lacks what I believe I have been called to because of my LOVE for my wife. So I wonder am I following my true faith does it deserve to be given elsewhere,

    I can't be a Protestant for I believe too much that is Catholic and yet I cannot accept these canons that discriminate in every way. I am in tge so called life begins at 50 stage and yet I might aswell not have lived at all. The pain of not serving because of these rules is hard to live with.

    Of course much more could be said but really whats would it gain me. Anybody with a viable suggestion I'd gladly listen to..

    1. You are one of many many, many, brother, who are in the same place. We have so much to offer, including perhaps seminary training and qualifications. However " the Church" would rather deprive the people of ministry, sacraments and the comfort of keeping their own little bit of Church, their parish, fully functioning.

    2. The Church deprives no one of grace since it is not (indeed, cannot) be confined to sacramental ritual.

      It is not ritual that is important, but the potential conferring of grace that ritual signifies.

    3. Maybe some form of " fellowship/society/fraternity" along Ecumenical lines could be developed by +Pat, perhaps in conjunction with the ACP which would give a space for exploration of possibilities? There are, without doubt, lots of men who feel the same. Ok for exProtestant Pastors, Ministers and Episcopalians, for Eastern Rite men, but not for honest ordinary heterosexual men who made the right decision when faced with a stark choice, such as above.

    4. Many Protestants are Catholic and say the Creeds. When I was in Birmingham many years ago my PP told me that the Vicar depended on his wife's salary to survive. Many vicars I know are married and God or the Church do not loose out to the best of my knowledge

    5. Here's a couple of other churches that might interest you. These two are liberal in theology. google search for more. Hope these will be an interesting read for you. Wishing you peace and fulfilment.

      Google search

  2. Most helpful as a study aid. Thanks Pat. The facts speak for themselves

  3. I am sick of the lie that Peter was the first pope. Jesus may have called him rock but that is far from calling him the ruler and supreme bishop. No bishop of Rome ruled the Church until several centuries after the Church appeared. The papacy is a fraud and todays priests and popes are complicit in it. Sad especially when you consider the amount of blood spilt because Catholicism cannot tell the truth.

    1. Anon at 12:49, you need to get over your bigotry.

      Peter was given primacy over His Church by Jesus. The word 'Pope' is from the Greek for 'father'.

      The Gospels, Scripture, Tradition, the early Church fathers and early Church history, show that the primacy of Peter is not a "lie".

      I strongly suspect, therefore, that you are "sick" for other reasons.

    2. I am sorry but while I give you as,I hope, a sincere poster, the respect you deserve, I cannot allow that to pass as truth.
      I am well aware of the amount of spurious latter day writing that has come out, all of it one way or another trying to deny that Christ established his Church and appointed Simon Peter to be first Pope,who is always then Bishop of Rome. There is a huge vaulted and archived body of historical literature to the effect that Peter certainly did hold that position until his martyrdom, also by crucifixion.
      Historians studying very early history of the first few centuries AD are well aware of this and though many of them may not be present day Catholics, they work and research along lines of authentic evidence and truth, not hearsay or conjecture.
      Many of these people have published their own works of scholarship. As I say, the list is long and includes writers from the earliest centuries onwards, too numerous to mention here --but the works of Iraneus (AD 190) and Tertullian would be good starting points for you, perhaps also the writings of Eusebius (AD 211) and there is Lactantius. To the present day, the Bishop of Rome has always extra authority and the title of Pope. I hope that gives a little food for sincere thought and that it helps to clarify the confusion.(I wish you well but normally wouldn't feel the need to get into a fruitless further discussion on the matter and so I will leave it with you on that note - - -) Cecily

    3. Did Jesus intend THE VATICAN BANK?

      Did Jesus intend THE VATICAN RICHES?

      Did Jesus intend the VATICAN STATE?

      Did Jesus intend the Pope to wear gear worthe Eur0 30,000 at one outing?

      Did Jesus intend THE CRUSADES?

      Did Jesus intend THE INQUISITION?

      Did Jesus intend THE COVER UP OF CHILD ABUSE?

      etc, etc ..................

      THE CHURCH OF ROME as an institution has more in common with Satan than it has with Jesus Christ.


    4. 13:26, your argument for the primacy of Peter is a moot point. The scriptural passages which appear to have Christ confer this status on Peter are likely to have been embellished by figures in the early Church, since they have Peter respond in Greek ('Christos') to Jesus' question: ' Who do men say that I am?' Peter spoke Aramaic, not Greek. And Jesus would not have asked such an important question in a language (Greek) in which the Apostles were highly unlikely to have been fluent. Besides, Jesus makes it crystal clear that it will not be Peter who builds the Church, but Jesus himself. The foundation of the Church is, therefore, Jesus, not Peter. Paul the Apostle makes this very point in his letters.

    5. Magna Carta, is that so significant given that there is plenty of direct speech in the gospels but so few Aramaic words or phrases (seven instances according to something I've just found on Google)?

    6. M C Right again. Christ did found his "church" not known as such in his day. The management committee worked out the logistics through the ages for better or worse

    7. Magna Carta, The Catholic Church DOES NOT TEACH that Peter is the foundation of the Church! NEVER has the Church taught that! Jesus Christ is the Foundation of His Church. And your arguments about Greek and Aramaic hold no water and have long since been dealt with by Catholic apologists.

      Peter is not the Church's "foundation". He is, however, the Lord's appointed visible primate - His Prime Minister - as it were.

      And no amount of tired and convoluted cant can change the clear meaning of the NT which God, in His Providence, has allowed to be handed on to us, inspired by the Holy Spirit.

      And YOU, Pat, I have come to have a lot of respect for you - but you really need to get over your adolescent, immature nonsense that the Catholic Church "has more in common with Satan than it has with Jesus Christ". That is hysterical OTT claptrap, unworthy of an intelligent man.

      We all know the problems that exist - have always existed in Christ's Church - SINCE DAY ONE! And you, Pat, are doing a fine job of highlighting the contemporary problems and scandals.

      At the same time, Christ is present in His Church with His grace and He will be until the end of the world, when He Himself will remove out, of His Kingdom, every cause of hurt and scandal.

    8. "At the same time Christ is present... with His grace.." says the poster at 19.12 and that's it really... and who knows why He permits the loud scandalous clamour of the darnel to grow alongside the often overshadowed good works of the wheat in his harvest. He does permit it but He explains clearly to us that there will be time of reckoning and that the chaff will be burnt in accordance with His justice.(Matt 13) The Church has many people who bring it into disrepute, but also thank God,it has in every country on the globe millions of good people who, though well aware of their imperfections and limitations,try to carry out His will in their many walks of life, in the Missions, in nursing, teaching, clerical and lay etc etc. They are part of the Church too.

    9. 18:04, I think it is significant, because it suggests that certainly modern understanding of the primacy of the papacy is purely canonical, that is, notional, realistically based on anything Christ may have said to Peter the Apostle.

    10. The Roman Institution is not a good barrel in which there are some bad apples.

      It is a rotten barrel in which there are some good apples.

    11. I9:12, the Church may not, in so many words, have taught that Peter is its foundation, but it has, down the centuries, effectively done so in other ways. For example, the loyalty that ordinands today must pledge to the pope, a pledge that should be made to none other than Christ himself. And, of course, traditionally ordinary Catholics have been expected to exercise personal conscience through the application of 'Church' (in reality, papal) teaching, not in doctrinal isolation from it.

      My argument about Greek and Aramaic holds no water? That is a risible riposte, totally ineffective. Of course it holds water! Don't be naive. The Greek word 'christos', in the post-Pentecostal period, meant much more, in christological terms, than the Hebrew word for messiah, 'meschiah', which had zero christological content. Peter was not aware of Jesus' true nature before his crucifixion, and, if asked what he thought of Jesus himself, Peter would have used the Hebrew term for messiah, not the Greek. The Hebrew word had no supernatural meaning nor denotation, because the Jews did not expect the messiah to be divine, but fully and exclusively human.

      This argument has been dealt with by Cathoilc apologists? Really? Produce your evidence.

    12. You are letting yourself down, Pat and showing yourself to be no better than some of the worst bigoted and irrational Anti-Catholics. So catch a grip.

      The Catholic Church is neither a good barrel nor a rotten barrel. It is a barrel in which good and bad coexist- just like any other Church or organisation.

      You can rant all you like about the Church being the "adversary of Christ" but the lived, graced experience of countless multitudes throughout history, show you to be a bigot and a bearer of false witness against the Church.

      You are simply displaying bitterness, prejudice and immaturity. Sorry but you need to grow up a bit on this one, Pat.

    13. 21:54, I presume you know that the Roman Catholic Church has not, for many centuries, taught unconditional respect for the sanctity of human life. It still doesn't, since it does not reject recourse to capital punishment.

      Jesus distilled loyal service of God into TWO commandments: first, to make God No. 1 in our list of priorities and, second, to love neighbour as self.

      Officially, Roman Catholic Church teaching does not honour the second of these commandments, since it morally justifies the taking of human life, which, supposedly, the Church considers inviolate (sacred). In this sense certainly, it is bearing, seriously, false witness to Jesus and to his teaching.

    14. For what it is worth, MC, the Aramaic/Greek argument is dealt with here

      Your claim "Jews did not expect the messiah to be divine, but fully and exclusively human" is false.

      There are a number of OT prophecies that more than hint at the Messiah's Divinity.

      Furthermore, when Peter confessed his faith in Jesus as "the Christ, the Son of the Living God", Our Blessed Lord told him that "flesh and blood has not revealed this to you but my Father in Heaven".

      Your arguments about language are utterly false and, if followed, they render Our Lord's words in the New Testament as meaningless gobbledegook.

      You cannot get away from the plain sense of Scripture that God intended to be known and revealed. The realities that God intended to make known are rendered the same both in Aramaic and Greek and any other language.

      You, MC, are something of "a puzzle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma" in any case.

      One moment you are quoting Our Blessed Lady at Fatima (who warned "the Holy Father will have much to suffer") and the next minute you are spouting tired old, long-answered Protestant arguments against the doctrine of the Papacy?

      Perhaps you are some type of doctrinal pack rat? Or a spiritual 'pick n' mixer'? A bit like those "New Age" shops you go into where you find Our Lady and Padre Pio beside Buddha and Krishna?

    15. 00:55, I took the trouble to visit that webpage; I wish I hadn't bothered, since the information on it (calling it 'information' is using the word loosely) was as relevant as some of the comments in your post.

      Do you have trouble paying attention? You know: have you a grown-up form of attention-deficit disorder? That site did not address the issue I raised, and you clearly failed to understand the issue, or you misread it. My point had nothing whatever to do with Greek puns on Simon the Apostle's Greek name: it was more fundamental than that. Jesus would hardly have asked such a serious question about his nature in a language the Apostle's would not have spoken fluently. Simon Peter's supposed answer, 'you are the christos', makes no sense from a chronological perspective either. Simon Peter did not know, at this stage, that Jesus was not just man but God. The word 'christos' has, as I said in a previous comment, post-Pentecostal meaning, which Simon Peter wasn't privy to at this stage. So how on Earth could he have proclaimed Jesus the Christ ('christos'), as we do today. He didn't have our christological knowledge AT THAT TIME. You have forgotten that when Jesus was crucified, the scriptures tell us that the Apostles drifted back to their trades, which for Peter was fishing. They were not expecting Jesus to rise from the dead. It was only at, and after, Pentecost that the disciples' minds were opened to understand the scriptures concerning Jesus' death and ressurrection, and concerning the ontology of Jesus himself.

      And no: Jewish eschatology did not generally and specifically admit the divinity of the messiah; that would have been blasphemous. Er, it was why Jesus' death was sought by the Jews. Jewish prophecy is not Jewish eschatology; you are confusing the two. So no, my claim is not false: the Jews did not expect the messiah to be divine. You need to control your apologetic imagination better.

      When Jesus told Peter that flesh and blood had not revealed to him Peter's insight about Jesus, that, of course, concerned what was Peter's actual response to Jesus' question 'Who do you say that I am?' Peter, being a Jew, would, LOGICALLY, have answered as any Jew would have done on that occasion, with the Hebrew word 'meshiach', not the Greek word 'christos'. Your suggestion otherwise is risible.

      I have no wish to get away from the 'plain sense of Scripture', which is why my knowledge of it is far superior to yours.

      As for Fatima and the warning that the so-called 'Holy' Father would have much to suffer, so too did the children whom successive 'Holy' Fathers abandoned to the wolves (predator priests) in order to protect the 'good' name of the institutional Roman Catholic Church.

    16. Your mean little mind is unable to see the greater picture of Sacred Scripture, MC. You are missing for example the Transfiguration out in your "analysis".

      Christos and Meshiach mean EXACTLY THE SAME THING! The Chosen One, the Holy One of God.

      Your perspective is very limited - and your theology is patchy - but you make up for it in nastiness.

      Like I said - "a puzzle enclosed in a mystery, wrapped up in an enigma".

      Anyhooo, good luck to ya, Maggie .... life is too precious and short to argue, interminably and fruitlessly, with phantoms, on Buckley's blog! ;-)

    17. Oh dear, 15:54. You are smarting, aren't you? Well, you would, since I gave you an intellectual bloody nose.

      As for the Transfiguration, the three apostles with Jesus at the time did not (indeed, could not) grasp the sublime significance of what they had witnessed. Let me spell it out for you: they weren't made aware at the time that Jesus was divine, much less the second person of the Trinity. This would come only, and after, Pentecost. It is what the scriptures tell us after all. Or do you doubt the scriptures? And you with your supposed loyalty to the 'plain sense of Scripture'. Tch, tch

    18. 15:54, you managed to get one thing right: 'christos' and 'meshiach' do translate as 'anointed one'. So, in this respect, they are identical. But (and here is where your argument implodes) the meanings of 'anointed one' in Jewish and Christian eschatology are radically different: the former conceives messiahship as fully and exclusively human; the latter as human AND divine.

      Has any of this gotten through to you? Probably not. (Sigh)

    19. Isaiah 7:14 "God with us" and 9:6 "mighty God", as well as Ps 110, upset your theory that the Jews expected a Messiah who is only human and not also Divine.

      Peter's confession of Faith - "you are the Christ, the Son of the Living God" - is on account of the direct revelation to him by God the Father, concerning the Identity of His Son - the Christ is the Divine Son of God.

      No amount of gymnastics by you, "Magna Carta", or anyone else, can obscure the plain truth of God's Word. Peter has primacy among the apostles - not only on the authority of Matthew 17 - but also the post-resurrection encounter with Peter in John's Gospel - "do you love me MORE THAN THESE OTHERS DO?"

      And in Luke's Passion Narrative the Lord says to Peter alone: "I have prayed for you Simon ..... that you might strengthen your brothers".

    20. I see aul Mag the Nag Carta is back - the waspish oul beg - giving out imaginary bloody noses (couldn't bate her way out affa paper beg!) lol

      If the Messiah wasn't going to be divine, how come God said he would be Emmanuel - "God is with us" then? You poncey arrogant twit.

    21. 17:52, yes, God with us. But the Jews did not interpret this INCARNATIONALLY, much less hypostatically.

      Any of this getting through? No, thought not.(Sigh again)

    22. 17:32, I almost feel sorry for you. Your hermeneutic is appalling.

      None of what you said 'upsets' my 'theory'. Those passages from Isaiah and that reference to Psalm 110 would not have been understood by the Jews as incarnational. Check out my reply to the halfwit at 17:52.

      You really are a slow learner, aren't you? Stubborn, too. Let me spell this out again: SIMON PETER SPOKE ARAMAIC (and some Hebrew)NOT GREEK. Therefore He would never have referred to Jesus as 'christos', but as 'mashiach'.

      I swear some of you people are brain dead.

    23. 17:32, I hate to show you up again; I really do. The reference, in your comment, to John's gospel comes in Chapter 21. This is, obviously (well, obvious to anyone with a modicum of intelligence), a post-gospel editing, since the natural conclusion of John is 20:30 through 31. Let me spell it out for you: after John's gospel was written down (possibly as late as AD 112) someone whose pet theological project was papal primacy, decided to enhance the status of Peter vis a vis Christ...and stuck a fictional ending on John's gospel. It points up that fact that sectional politics and vested interests played a huge part in the recording of Jesus' ministry and that, from an early stage, the assembly founded by Christ was the focus of narcissistic ambition and subterfuge. A lot like the Roman Catholic Church today, with its clericalism, toadyism and cronyism. Jesus was right: the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his blessed head.

    24. Stop the lights everybody! Thon aul doll, Maggie Carter, yes, thon angry aul wan that's always writin' in to Pat Buckley, yes - hor! She's made a seismic scriptural discovery that has escaped scholars for 2000 years. St Jerome, Tertullian, Origen, St Augustine, St Gregory the Great, none of them noticed .... but aul Mags is on the ball. LOL

    25. If that's what you think, Magna Carta, then none of the Scriptures are credible. They can all be shredded, rubbished and written off, according to your biased and toxic spin on the Church and history and indeed everything. And God, if He exists, has been leading everyone a merry dance for thousands of years. Mags, if those are your views then dialogue with you is a waste of time. All your insults, bawling and shouting, trying to drown people out and shout them down with your imagined "superiority" - the screeching of a bigoted and venomous old harpy. So see ya, Maggie - wouldn't wanna be ya! :)

    26. 22:11 and 22:20, Jerome, Tetullian, etc. what do these matter, you Roman Catholic slaves and idiots? They are not Christ.

    27. One simple question to all you professed biblical scholars:....
      "Please explain the rationale for your supreme god indicating his/her wishes for us through the medium of a collection of ancient papyri's description of people and events, whose existence,veracity and interpretation have provided such fertile ground for vicious arguements for so long.
      In a nutshell: is this the best the alleged god could do to make himself known?
      I've asked this before, but have yet to receive any sensible answer, or indeed one that does not depend on these same "scriptures", which were only assembled as 'the bible' at the behest of a convert Roman emperor.

    28. I answered you this very question, not long ago, on another of Pat's blogs.

      No amount of 'rationale ' will convince someone like you, any more than it could convince those who witnessed Jesus' miracles and, yet, decided he was possessed by Beelzebub...Satan.

      Have you ever wondered why you won't be convinced? It is because you don't want to be: you are set on NOT believing, so no rationale will ever persuade you of God's existence.

      The reason you ask the rationale for our belief in God is not that your mind is open on the matter, but because you want to sneer, to poke fun. Courtesy precludes my telling you where to go. But I'm sure you can guess.

    29. Sorry MC. My question wasn't answered then, nor does your reply above provide any more light.
      The facts, for me, are that I have somehow acquired an intelligence that earnestly tries to find explanations and answers. Evolution and natural selection appear to me to provide a sensible intelligent understanding of that small part of the universe we can observe. It's not, by any means a complete explanation, but provides the best understanding.
      By contrast, explanations dependent on supernatural deities seem riddled with inconsistencies,counter intuitive non intelligent mythologies, and dubious alleged facts.
      In relation to your last paragraph above, might I say, from your other comments also that recently you seem to have taken a turn for the worse. But it would be good to see you return to your former insightful informative commentating.

    30. Ok, MMM; point taken.

      Before I go any further, I apologise for my rudeness.

      Instead of asking rationale for belief in God, why don't you tell me what kind of evidence would convince you of God's existence? What kind of proof are you looking for? Seriously, I'm not certain that ANY kind of evidence would satisfy you since, with your rationalist mindset, whatever evidence was made available, you would simply seek a rational explanation for. Rationalism has a built-in bias in that it will not admit even the possibility of divinity.

    31. Yes MC, indeed I would be obliged to question any evidence produced just as I have questioned past and present 'evidence', and find it greatly lacking.
      In truth, I do not know what would convince me. At back of my mind are the 'elephant in the room' type questions:
      If God exists, and, as in the Christian belief system He created humankind in His image to know and love Him, why does He make it so difficult to know and understand Him?
      Why has He created this vast universe in which earth is but a speck, and caused humankind to evolve from primordial sludge and then wait for countless millenia before 'sending a Redeemer' and thereby adopt such a convoluted incomprehensible means of 'showing His love' through Christ's death and resurrection?
      What about the countless millions of people before and after 'the Redemption' who have/had no knowledge of this (Christian) God, and who have, and still worship, numerous 'other gods': what 'kind of God' is so selective?
      These are just a few of my "questions". And before anyone bring it up; I simply think the original sin explanation and concept is risible.

      So I can only say that my 'mindset' (your word), is perfectly open to believing that indeed there are forces and powers way beyond that of present human knowledge and understanding. Just as in the Middle Ages, 'scientists' of those days had little or no knowledge of current scientific understnding we now take for granted: nuclear power, electricity, mammalian biology; so too there is much as yet unknown to present scientific knowledge which one day future generations, if they survive that long, will undoubtedly discover and take for granted. Indeed future knowledge may help explain such phenomena as alleged 'miracles'.
      So I'm unable to categorically say what might convince me of God's existence. How can I attribute power, cause and effect to a structural concept I do not believe to have any actual existence? I think it is down to believers, should they wish, to 'prove' God's existence. As an unbeliever I feel no requirement to 'prove' 'non-existence'.
      Indeed if I were to insist on some proof sufficient to convince me of God's existence I could well be accused of taking on a certain misguided arrogance.
      So I regard myself as a non believer, but one conscious of how little I do know and understand, but remaining open to the revelation of more nowledge and understanding.
      Perhaps even a 'Damascene conversion'?

    32. MMM, I don't believe that God makes it difficult for us to 'know and understand' him; this would be counter-productive (to say the least) from his point of view. No; but there is indeed such a difficulty, from nature, and we can build on it by refusing to accept nature's limitations: our limited intelligence, our limited capacity to know, our limited wisdom, compassion, and so much else. Paradoxically (and, for us, painfully) these limitations have us ask almost limitless questions about ourselves, others, the universe, about life and death, about whether afterlife exists, about divinity itself. And so endlessly on, not just ofen without the means of obtaining knowledge, but sometimes without knowing how to obtain it. There are types of knowledge and ways of knowing, something philosophy itself acknowledges. Yet, not all ways of knowing are appropriate for the knowledge we seek.

      When Jesus said that we could never enter the Kingdom of Heaven unless we approached it as a child, he wasn't speaking figuratively. In Aramaic, 'Kingdom of Heaven' literally means 'God's sovereign presence'. Knowing God in this way does not require intelligence, empirical evidence, human wisdom, or anything of the kind; it requires implicit trust and dependency, the kind of qualities your own children exhibited towards you when they were little. It is the only way to obtain answers to the kind of questions you're asking.

      God isn't unreasonable. He isn't going to ask you to believe in him, to trust in him, without giving good reason for doing so, any more than he expected the ancient Jews to accept Jesus as God without some evidence (his words and works) that he really was who he purported to be.

      God is not, as the philosopher said, remote, inaccessible, and impossible to know. This statement is, anyway, self-contradictory: how could the philosopher know that God is remote and inaccessible if indeed he is impossible to know?

      Don't be like the philosopher, presumptiously dismissive. Make a patient and perservering effort to find out about God, just as your young children found out about you...through trusting dependency.

    33. "Trusting dependency" seems to me like counter intuitive irrational blind faith: a 'leap in the dark' if you like.
      But such a leap could be compared to jumping off a cliff in the blind hope that somehow all will be well.
      Just doesn't make sense at all, especially with so many consistent counter indications.

  4. 19.12 More in common with Satan.... Interesting point. Does this mean that the (R) Catholic Church is in some ways the adversary of Christ