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How The Church Lost Its Wives

For the first thousand years of Roman Church history, most priests were married. Only in 1074 did the church rule that all priests must either throw out their families or lose their jobs. Pope Gregory VII called it a “sundering the commerce between the clergy and women through an eternal anathema.”[i]

Naturally, people ask why the church dumped its wives. Why did it turn from opposing divorce to requiring it? At the Council of Nicea in 325, the bishops ruled that any priest who divorced his wife “on pretext of piety” should be kicked out of the church. But in 1074, the church reversed this ruling, and threw out any priest who would NOT dump his family. And since most priests were still married at the time, this was the greatest mass divorce in world history.

The Normal Religious View of Marriage

In first century Palestine, as in the modern Middle East, it was an expected mark of maturity for adults to be married. This was especially true for men acting as leaders, which is why almost all Jewish rabbis, Muslim mullahs, and most Eastern Orthodox priests have been married. In surveying the hundreds of recorded Jewish rabbis living in the first centuries of the Christian era, historian Schalom Ben-Chorin finds only one, a certain Ben-Asai, in 100s AD, who was not married. And this one unmarried rabbi was constantly badgered as to why he avoided the responsibilities of family life. Ben-Asai said his devotion to the scriptures left him no time for a family, but the people of his community were not impressed. Their attitude, Ben-Chorin believes, prevailed among all first century Jews, including the first Christians: “This needs to be kept in mind when we look at Jesus’ career … If he scorned marriage, then his opponents among the Pharisees would have reproached him with that, and his disciples would have asked him about this sin of omission.” Since no one is recorded asking Jesus any such question, Ben-Chorin feels it probable that Jesus was married like the other rabbis.[ii] If he got married at the usual age of budding adulthood, and later church officials wanted to purge all relations with women from his record, this would give a plausible reason why the gospel accounts omit everything about his life between ages twelve and around thirty. One possibility is that he was married for some time, then his wife died, and later he devoted himself completely to his religious quest.

Later, the Roman Church made it an article of faith that Jesus shunned marriage, which suggests he viewed it as spiritually degrading. But in that case, why did he teach romantic ideals about marriage? Why did he celebrate the wedding at Cana? Was it an alteration of Jesus’ teaching to say he taught celibacy? Was he the only rabbi in recorded history to treat marriage as a corruption? If so, why did Paul say, “On the question of celibacy I have no instruction from the Lord”? (I Corinthians 7:25) And why did Paul ask “Have I no right to take a Christian wife about with me, like the rest of the apostles and the Lord’s brothers, and Cephas [St. Peter]?” (I Corinthians 9:5)

The Denial of All Hanky-Panky in the Infant Church

In the early church, most clergymen still believed that having wives was a good thing. As Jews expected their rabbis to be married, so most Christians expected it of their priests. Marriage was a school of life, and if a priest wasn’t married, people would think there was something wrong with him. As Paul’s question (I Corinthians 9:5) suggests, probably all the original apostles were married. But when the early church faced accusations of being a free love cult, the leaders’ fear of sexual scandal sometimes grew extreme. In refuting allegations of sexual mixing in church, some clerics began preaching, not just sexual discretion, but complete chastity. These clerics increasingly insisted that virginity was a primary Christian value. John of Patmos claimed a vision from the Lord in which a mere 144,000 souls would be saved from an upcoming Apocalypse, and these would be pure males “who have not defiled themselves with women, for they are virgins …” (Revelation 14:4)

To promote claims of sexual innocence for their church, some scribes or translators of New Testament texts altered the words of scripture. Translation errors like St. Jerome’s use of “virgin” for “young woman” reflected a certain agenda, as when Jerome insisted that heroes of the Old Testament like Daniel or Miriam were also celibates, though the book didn’t say so. A worse change happened to I Corinthians, to make Paul say “It is a good thing for a man to have nothing to do with a woman …” (7:1–2) The New English Bible’s, footnote to this verse says that earlier versions of the text were written as follows (with the later omitted elements in bold): “You [Corinthians] say, ‘It is a good thing for a man to have nothing to do with a woman,’ but because there is so much immorality, let each man have his own wife, and each woman her own husband.”

In the original version, Paul criticized other people for advocating sexual segregation in the church. He urged church members to work as couples, the way he claimed the apostles did. But his defense of families working together seemed to disappear in a puff of smoke with the simple deletion of a phrase. And in its place stood a corrected statement of naked contempt for all women. As St. Jerome then explained, “If it is good not to touch a woman, it is bad to touch one, for there is no opposite of goodness but badness.”[iii]

In a holier-than-thou competition for higher church office, growing numbers of bishops began claiming that all contact between men and women was corrupting, and such pollution was especially serious for a priest. With a pious ashamed-to-have-a-penis attitude, Saint Ambrose (d. 397) argued that all priests who loved their wives “pray for others with unclean minds as well as unclean bodies.”[iv] Ambrose’s disciple Augustine bemoaned that, “Nothing is so powerful in drawing the spirit of man downwards as the caresses of a woman and that physical intercourse which is part of marriage.”[v] Ambrose, Jerome, and Augustine all managed to interpret the story in Mark 4 (of the seed which fell on barren ground compared to the seed which fell on fertile ground) to mean that celibates were the good soil, and couples who loved each other were the barren ground.[vi]

In 388, a cleric called Jovian tried to argue that family people were just as spiritual as celibate ones. He asked pro-celibates, “Are you better than Sarah, Susanna, Anna, and many of the holy women and men in the Bible?” But for arguing like that, Pope Siricius threw Jovian out of the church.[vii] Another cleric named Helvidius (also 380s) tried to defend wives and mothers, claiming that Mary was holy as a virgin when she bore Jesus, and equally holy as a wife and mother of additional children after that. Saint Jerome hotly replied that Mary never had sex in her life, and any reference to Jesus’ “brothers” and “sisters” (Matthew 13:55–56) had to mean “cousins.” Women, Jerome wrote, could only be holy if they “cease to be married women [and] imitate the chastity of virgins within the very intimacy of marriage.”[viii] With that understanding of the Bible’s “real” message, Jerome left the flesh pots of Rome to live with anti-worldly monks in the Palestinian desert. From there, he wrote that priests who had wives and children were “no longer any different from pigs.”[ix]

Augustine was less insulting towards lovers. He was simply perplexed as to what women were created for. Aside from the somewhat lamentable function of reproduction, he saw no benefits to their existence. Later this became the orthodox view of the Roman clergy:

I don’t see what sort of help woman was created to provide man with, if one excludes the purpose of procreation. If woman is not given to man for help in bearing children, for what help could she be? To till the earth together? If help were needed for that, man would have been better help for man. The same goes for comfort in solitude. How much more pleasure is it for life and conversation when two friends live together than when man and woman cohabitate.[x]

Still, all was not lost. When Pope Sixtus III (430s) was brought to trial for seducing a nun, he said “Let him who is without sin throw the first stone.”[xi]

The Rising Celibate Party

As the Christian community developed, it divided into three main orders, namely a) the lay people, b) the all-male clergy, and c) the celibate “religious.” Then, as in the first disciples’ arguments over status, arguments arose over which order of Christians ranked highest. At first the lay people were most important, since they chose and supported all church leaders. Later the professional clergy gained state backing as supervisors over the laity. But by early medieval times, the celibate monks emerged as the Christians of highest rank. With their isolation from the world and from sex, they seemed to be holier than either the local clergy (who were still mainly married), or lay families. In both the West and East, higher clerics were increasingly drawn from the ranks of male monks. It was an important change. As Robert Markus explains, “The ascetic take-over [roughly in the time of Pope Gregory the Great (590–604)] signals the end of ancient Christianity.”[xii]

In the Greek, Russian, Egyptian, or Ethiopian churches, things remained at roughly this stage down to the present. Most common priests remained married, and the rules of celibacy applied only to monks, nuns, and sometimes higher clergy. For local priests, marriage remained the standard. As Demetrios Constantelos explained of Greek Orthodox tradition, “The fact that the Church has not made an official pronouncement placing celibacy above marriage indicates that the conscience of the Church has accepted marriage as a more courageous state of being.”[xiii]

But in the Latin West, the ascetic takeover went one big step further. There, the monastic leaders managed to impose their celibacy on the common priests, forcing them to divorce their wives en masse. And this struggle between celibates and clerical families involved the longest, bitterest struggle in church history. In 1074, after about 700 years of theological warfare, the pro-celibate hierarchy managed to impose a sort of sacramental apartheid between the priesthood and womankind. They not only reserved priestly roles for men alone, but also made the sanctity of priests depend on isolation from females. Since the other churches of Eastern Europe, Asia, or Africa retained marriage for ordinary priests, we have to wonder: why did this great divorce happen only in the West?

The War on Sex in Clerical Families

One of the first efforts to enshrine an anti-family policy came in at the Council of Elvira (about 309), where a majority of bishops called for priests to give up sex with their wives. This ruling came under review at the Council of Nicea in 325, and there the majority of bishops rejected it. Though Bishop Paphnutius of Egypt was a celibate monk himself, he successfully defended marriage as honorable according to all the scriptures. He said the church would commit a great wrong to force separation on married families.[xiv] The Eastern churches upheld this Nicean ruling ever afterward. And this became their most important disagreement with the Roman Church. Because while the Eastern churches continued affirming family life for priests down to the present, many leaders of the Roman Church embarked on a long campaign to ban it as a crime.

We can imagine how clerical families felt as church council after council debated the validity of their marriages for over seven centuries. In 340–41the Synod of Gangra defended married priests and denounced fanatics in the cause of asceticism. The Gangra synod also condemned fanatics for celibacy who called for public boycotts on services by married priests. The Apostolic Constitutions (ca. 380) ruled that any priest who repudiated his wife for the sake of piety should be cast out of the church. But then the councils at Carthage (in 390 and 401) insisted that priests must be pure from pollution and stop having sex with their wives. At a 402 Rome synod, Pope Innocent I tried to annul the marriages of priests. Then the council of Arles in 433 proposed a compromise: priests must continue honoring all commitments to their wives, but eliminate sexual love. In the mid-400s Pope Leo I endorsed this, ordering that “in order to make their carnal marriage a spiritual one, while they may not dismiss their wives, they must however possess them as if they did not possess them …”[xv] If the married priests did not obey, this only confirmed Leo’s conviction that the priests’ wives were seducing them to impurity. And as if family love was a diabolical plot, Pope Gregory I (d. 604) warned his priests to “love their wives as if they were sisters and beware of them as if they were enemies.”[xvi]

By the 500s, the notion that sex was pollution for priests grew dominant among bishops in the Western Church. But most common priests still loved their wives despite all official correction. In 567, the council of Tours threatened to excommunicate any cleric found in bed with his wife. It said: “The Bishop may look upon his wife only as his sister. Wherever he stays, he must always be surrounded by clerics, and his and his wife’s dwelling must be separated from one another, so that the clerics in his service never come into contact with the women serving their bishop’s wife.”[xvii] This was a proposal of sexual segregationmore drastic than any invented in Arabia. The council, however, admitted that if it enforced this rule, the Western Church would lose almost all its priests. Since it wouldn’t do to leave the churches empty, the bishops compromised. When they caught a priest loving his wife, the most common penalty was 100 lashes for the wife.[xviii]

How could the church actually catch clerical families having sex in their bedrooms? The council of Toledo in 633 advised watchdogs in the bedroom: “Since the clergy have caused not a little scandal on account of their way of life, the bishops should have witnesses in their rooms, so that all evil suspicions may be removed from the minds of the laity.”[xix] Some fanatics for chastity wanted to castrate priests who loved their wives.

In the 700s, St. Boniface wrote to Pope Zachary, requesting help in forcing celibacy on the married priests of Germany. But on checking the scriptures, Zachary said he could see no such instruction from the Lord. Near as he could tell, the scriptures just said that husbands should love and be loyal to their wives, rather than throwing them out in the street. Many church leaders complained that the real problem was “celibates” in the church who furtively had several concubines.

In reporting the endless lapses in priestly continence, most church officials expressed dismay at the clergy’s moral depravity. But the Eastern Orthodox clergy upheld traditional family values, and in 867, Patriarch Photius of Constantinople accused the Roman Church of heresy for repeatedly ordering celibacy in church families. For Photius, the Roman Church had succumbed to a Manichaean belief that matter and flesh were evil.[xx] And this was probably the flash point that formally split the Greek and Latin churches in 1054. Because by then, Pope Leo IX was determined to stamp out sex in clerical marriages by any means necessary. His ambassador to Constantinople, Cardinal Humbert, berated the Orthodox leaders, accusing them of sexual depravity: “Young husbands, just now exhausted from carnal lust, serve at the altar. And immediately afterward they again embrace their wives with hands that have been hallowed by the immaculate body of Christ. That is not the mark of true faith, but an invention of Satan!”[xxi] Photius replied that it was sad indeed how forced celibacy resulted in “so many children who do not know their own fathers.”[xxii]

Despite all efforts by the celibate party, the drive to stamp out love in church families was still getting nowhere. As Bernard of Clairvaux admitted in the 1100s, “To be always with a woman and not to have intercourse with her is more difficult than to raise the dead. You cannot do the less difficult: Do you think I will believe that you can do what is more difficult?”[xxiii] If this was the case, then either the whole idea of policing clerical bedrooms was futile, or else the priest’s wives had to go. Maybe Bernard sympathized with first solution. Because when the Albigensian heretics claimed that God calls his elect to renounce marriage, Bernard thundered back prophetically, “Take from the Church an honorable marriage and an immaculate marriage bed, and do you not fill it with concubinage, incest, homosexuality, and every kind of uncleanness?”[xxiv]

If this war on love in church families was so hard to win, what was the problem it was supposed to solve?

Controlling Church Property through Childlessness?

According to some church historians, the rule of priestly chastity arose to prevent any hereditary dynasties within the church. And Pope Gregory VII (1073–85) did argue that the political divisions and wars of Europe’s history happened mainly due to squabbles over inheritance. If the church allowed its clergy to have babies, then the children would fight to own the church as well.

Pope Gregory claimed (contrary to the biblical record) that all the original apostles were celibates, and that all their property was pooled in one commune. And since this commune supposedly had no children, its members were loyal to the movement alone. This, Gregory argued, was the true Christian way, to which his holy monks of Cluny had returned. Now, all local priests must conform to that ideal.[xxv] In that case, all lands and wealth belonging to God’s church would remain under one corporate administration, without risk of being subdivided among heirs like landed estates.

If this was the real reason for enforcing celibacy, then why didn’t Jews, Muslims and Eastern Orthodox Christians outlaw clerical families? Why was this measure not needed in Islam, Judaism, or Eastern Christianity? Even in the Roman Church, Pope Pelagius II (in 580) arranged to keep control of church wealth without destroying the staff’s families. Pelagius simply ruled that no wives or children of priests could inherit any church property. To enforce this, he ordered each priest to make an inventory of all property in his church on taking office, and then account for it on his departure.[xxvi] In the Greek Church, Justinian’s Code of the 500s forbade any member of the clergy from giving or selling anything that belonged to the church. So it was possible to block inheritance to clerical families without destroying the families themselves. On the other hand, the rules against privatizing church wealth could still be violated even with all clerical families destroyed. Long after the great divorce of 1074, Pope Boniface VIII (1294–1303) channeled about a fourth of all church income to his extended relatives.[xxvii] His subordinates felt they couldn’t protest, due to the supposedly Christian principle of unquestioning obedience to superiors.

If the existence of church families was so irrelevant to managing church wealth, was this really the reason for destroying church families? After all, corruption existed everywhere. And if people were usually corrupt in order to favor their own families, few leaders in world history ever proposed to correct the problem by banning families. But that’s just what the Roman Church did. Was it possibly more concerned about eliminating women than controlling property?

Pope Gregory VII wanted his clergy totally loyal to the organization. The church of his dreams was a military-style task force under one commander-in-chief. But the priests who had wives were rooted to their homes. Their devotion to women competed with loyalty to the all-male church.[xxviii] Maybe that competing influence from women was more of a problem in Western Europe than it was in the East.

Finding Strength through Avoiding Strong Western Women

In the old Near East, Jewish rabbis or Muslim mullahs were expected to uphold local traditions, including traditions of male authority over wives. In many cases, the more holy these men aspired to be, the more strictly they tried to control their women. The Near Easterners commonly controlled (or protected) females by imposing a segregation of women from public life, which is known in Arabic as purdah. And where men had long dictated the parameters of women’s lives, this could work. But in Western Europe, the incoming Christian priesthood was in no position to control the boundaries of women’s lives.

In Western Europe, women’s traditional powers were a challenge to the church’s imported Middle Eastern values. When European priests married Western European women, the traditional equality between partners often remained. Church doctrine might teach that a priest must be the family head, but their wives were often leaders as well. Where local people trusted the village wise women more than male priests, the wives could easily eclipse their husbands’ influence. If a priest’s wife had a stronger personality than her husband, she could shape his views more than the bishop. If she supported local women’s traditions more than the all-male church, she would be subverting the parish to paganism. A compromised priest might stand aside to allow the women’s festivals and oracles. He might tolerate their ministering to the villagers’ spiritual and bodily health. But the church hierarchy claimed a monopoly on these services. It expected its priests to take charge and make no deals with the competition.

Either such challenges slowly grew over time, or they just showed no sign of fading away. But obviously, the church hierarchy’s patience ran out. According to church historian Thomas Bokenkotter, the great Gregorian reform for priestly chastity gathered force because the hierarchy realized how strongly marriage assimilated its clerics to Western women’s values.[xxix] In some exasperation, Pope Gregory VII declared, “The church cannot escape from the clutches of the laity unless priests first escape the clutches of their wives.”[xxx]

To solve this problem, the church decreed a kind of purdah in reverse. Instead of trying to enforce a seclusion of women from public life, it segregated its priests from women. Evidently, having strong wives was not so big a problem for clerics in the East.

The Problems of Enacting Mass Divorce

Around the year 1000, the Roman hierarchy shifted from trying to end sex in clerical families, to a goal of ending the families period. But how to do it was still a practical and a moral question. Because speaking on the issue of divorce, Jesus said that if a man and woman really loved each other, they would never find cause to separate. Taking these words legalistically, the Roman Church had long taught that the only moral justification for divorce was adultery. But if that was its doctrine, how could the clergy justify divorcing their mainly loyal wives en masse?

Basically, the monastic popes tackled the means before clarifying the justification. They weren’t, after all, accountable to any electorate of sinners. Pope Nicholas II aimed to make it impossible for married priests to operate. In 1059 he denounced all married priests as sinners, and threatened to excommunicate any parishioner who accepted communion from a married priest.[xxxi] This, however, implied recognition of the old Donatist heresy — that the sacraments were indeed invalid if served by a sinful priest. And at this, the “heretical” critics of church hypocrisy made such hay, that Nicholas withdrew his ruling.

It took a more determined celibate, namely Pope Gregory VII, to make the divorce stick. Gregory renewed the bans on married priests in 1074, and this time there was no backing down. When high-ranking churchmen such as Bishop Otto of Constance refused to enforce the order, Gregory excommunicated them without hesitation. When parish priests ignored the order, Gregory ordered dukes and princes to use armed force or suffer excommunication from God themselves.[xxxii] The married priests found that unless they renounced the sin of loving a woman, they were cut off by both their employers and their customers. With seeming papal approval, gangs of lay people publicly taunted priests’ wives as whores. These women found that their men’s employers presumed to banish them from their homes, as if they had no right to exist. Local officials were authorized to beat offending church wives till they fled for their lives. By such tactics, Gregory won an official victory. Some of the cast-out women killed themselves.

While many thousands of church women were driven out to the roads, a conclave of Italian bishops in 1076 tried to excommunicate Pope Gregory for the crime of destroying families.[xxxiii] Sigebert of Gembloux wrote, “Many have seen in the ban on attending mass of a married priest an open contradiction to the teaching of the fathers. This has led to such a great scandal that the church has never been split by a greater schism.”[xxxiv] Again Gregory fired the protesting clerics. In real concern, the Eastern Church Patriarch Petros of Antioch suggested that the Pope must have lost record of the old Council of Nicea ruling on clerical marriage from 325, possibly due to general destruction of records when the Goths or Vandals sacked Rome.[xxxv] That ruling from Nicea read in part, “Whatever presbyter or deacon shall put away his wife without the offense of fornication … and shall cast her out of doors … such a person shall be cast out of the clergy …”[xxxvi]

Many priests grew violent to defend their families. In the Paris Synod of 1074, Abbot Galter of Saint Martin demanded the flock follow its shepherd in celibacy. A mob of outraged priests beat him, spit on him, and threw him in the street. In the same year Archbishop John of Rouen threatened to excommunicate protesting priests, and had to flee for his life under a hail of stones. In furious debate, the celibate party denounced its opponents as fornicators trying to prostitute the church. Married priests hurled back accusations that their foes were sodomites, whose obvious preference for homosexuality made them hate married families.[xxxvii] For decades church synods regularly broke into fistfights, with monks and priests smashing each other’s faces. In 1233, protesters murdered papal legate Conrad of Marburg, who was touring Germany partly to enforce chastity.[xxxviii] In England, furious priests locked their churches, hid their families, and tried to keep them in secret.[xxxix]

As many clerical couples still clung to each other, the hierarchy applied stronger measures. In 1089, Pope Urban II ruled that if a priest did not dispose of his wife, the local prince could enslave the woman. A decade later, Archbishop Manasse II of Rheims asked the Count of Flanders to throw priest’s wives into prison. In London, Archbishop Anselm said that any women found living with a priest would be taken as human property of the local bishop.[xl] The enslavement orders suggest that higher clerics and lord took this opportunity to pick whatever exiled wives and children they wanted as servants, and sold others on the slave markets.

Some decades after the great divorce, the hierarchy gave a theological justification for it. The Second Lateran Council in 1139 re-defined ordination as automatically invalidating any previous marriage. It cursed all relations between priests and women as “fornication,” and ruled that all children of priests were “sacrilegious bastards.”[xli] Pope Alexander III (1159–81) explained that holy vows were more important than marriage, and those called to serve the church could annul their marriages to meet a higher obligation.[xlii] The hierarchy was following a law higher than any words of Jesus in requiring priests to dump their wives and children.

Adapted from Correcting Jesus: 2000 Years of Changing the Story.

Notes:


[i] Ranke-Heinemann, Uta, Eunuchs for the Kingdom of Heaven, 100.

[ii] Ben-Chorin, Shalom, cited in Ranke-Heinemann, Uta, Eunuchs for the Kingdom of Heaven, 44–45.

[iii] Jerome, Against Jovinian, 7, cited by Ruether, Rosemary Radford, Christianity and the Making of the Modern Family, 44–45.

[iv] Ambrose, cited in Ranke-Heinemann, Uta, Eunuchs for the Kingdom of Heaven, 103.

[v] Augustine, Soliloquies, cited, de Rosa, Peter, Vicars of Christ, 444.

[vi] Ruether, Rosemary Radford, Christianity and the Making of the Modern Family, 44.

[vii] Ranke-Heinemann, Uta, Eunuchs for the Kingdom of Heaven, 6.

[viii] Ruether, Rosemary Radford, Christianity and the Making of the Modern Family, 43–44, with of citing Jerome, On the Perpetual Virginity of Mary Against Helvidius.

[ix] Jerome, cited in Ranke-Heinemann, Uta, Eunuchs for the Kingdom of Heaven, 103.

[x] Augustine, (De genesi ad litteram, 9, 5–9), cited by Ranke-Heinemann, Uta, Eunuchs for the Kingdom of Heaven, 88.

[xi] De Rosa, Peter, Vicars of Christ, 564.

[xii] Markus, Robert, The End of Ancient Christianity, 17.

[xiii] Constantelos, Demitrios J., Understanding the Greek Orthodox Church. 73.

[xiv] Grant, Robert M., Augustus to Constantine, 277.

[xv] Leo I, Letter 167, 3, cited in Ranke-Heinemann, Uta, Eunuchs for the Kingdom of Heaven, 103.

[xvi] Gergory I, Dialogues, IV, 11, cited in Ranke-Heinemann, Uta, Eunuchs for the Kingdom of Heaven, 104–105.

[xvii] Ranke-Heinemann, Uta, Eunuchs for the Kingdom of Heaven, 102–03.

[xviii] De Rosa, Peter, Vicars of Christ, 565.

[xix] Ranke-Heinemann, Uta, Eunuchs for the Kingdom of Heaven, 102–03.

[xx] Durant, Will, The Age of Faith, 528, Christie-Murray, Donald, A History of Heresy, 98.

[xxi] Ranke-Heinemann, Uta, Eunuchs for the Kingdom of Heaven, 107.

[xxii] Durant, Will and Ariel, The Age of Faith, 528.

[xxiii] Bernard of Clairvaux, Sermones in Cantica, Ixv., cited in Southern, R.W., Western Society and the Church in the Middle Ages, 314–15.

[xxiv] De Rosa, Peter, Vicars of Christ, 574.

[xxv] Morris, Colin, “Medieval Christendom,” in The Christian World: A Social and Cultural History, 138.

[xxvi] De Rosa, Peter, Vicars of Christ, 566.

[xxvii] De Rosa, Peter, Vicars of Christ, 570.

[xxviii] De Rosa, Peter, Vicars of Christ, 589.

[xxix] Bokenkotter, Thomas, A Concise History of the Catholic Church, 141.

[xxx] De Rosa, Peter, Vicars of Christ, 569.

[xxxi] Ranke-Heinemann, Uta, Eunuchs for the Kingdom of Heaven, 108.

[xxxii] Durant, Will and Ariel, The Age of Faith, 546.

[xxxiii] De Rosa, Peter, Vicars of Christ, 61.

[xxxiv] Ranke-Heinemann, Uta, Eunuchs for the Kingdom of Heaven, 108–09.

[xxxv] Ranke-Heinemann, Uta, Eunuchs for the Kingdom of Heaven, 107.

[xxxvi] Canon 66, Council of Nicea, 325 CE.

[xxxvii] Ruether, Rosemary Radford, Christianity and the Making of the Modern Family, 57.

[xxxviii] Ranke-Heinemann, Uta, Eunuchs for the Kingdom of Heaven, 109, 111.

[xxxix] De Rosa, Peter, Vicars of Christ, 577.

[xl] Ranke-Heinemann, Uta, Eunuchs for the Kingdom of Heaven, 110–11.

[xli] Ruether, Rosemary Radford, Christianity and the Making of the Modern Family, 58.

[xlii] De Rosa, Peter, Vicars of Christ, 479–81.

[1] Ranke-Heinemann, Uta, Eunuchs for the Kingdom of Heaven, 100.

[1] Ben-Chorin, Shalom, cited in Ranke-Heinemann, Uta, Eunuchs for the Kingdom of Heaven, 44–45.

[1] Jerome, Against Jovinian, 7, cited by Ruether, Rosemary Radford, Christianity and the Making of the Modern Family, 44–45.

[1] Ambrose, cited in Ranke-Heinemann, Uta, Eunuchs for the Kingdom of Heaven, 103.

[1] Augustine, Soliloquies, cited, de Rosa, Peter, Vicars of Christ, 444.

[1] Ruether, Rosemary Radford, Christianity and the Making of the Modern Family, 44.

[1] Ranke-Heinemann, Uta, Eunuchs for the Kingdom of Heaven, 6.

[1] Ruether, Rosemary Radford, Christianity and the Making of the Modern Family, 43–44, with of citing Jerome, On the Perpetual Virginity of Mary Against Helvidius.

[1] Jerome, cited in Ranke-Heinemann, Uta, Eunuchs for the Kingdom of Heaven, 103.

[1] Augustine, (De genesi ad litteram, 9, 5–9), cited by Ranke-Heinemann, Uta, Eunuchs for the Kingdom of Heaven, 88.

[1] De Rosa, Peter, Vicars of Christ, 564.

[1] Markus, Robert, The End of Ancient Christianity, 17.

[1] Constantelos, Demitrios J., Understanding the Greek Orthodox Church. 73.

[1] Grant, Robert M., Augustus to Constantine, 277.

[1] Leo I, Letter 167, 3, cited in Ranke-Heinemann, Uta, Eunuchs for the Kingdom of Heaven, 103.

[1] Gergory I, Dialogues, IV, 11, cited in Ranke-Heinemann, Uta, Eunuchs for the Kingdom of Heaven, 104–105.

[1] Ranke-Heinemann, Uta, Eunuchs for the Kingdom of Heaven, 102–03.

[1] De Rosa, Peter, Vicars of Christ, 565.

[1] Ranke-Heinemann, Uta, Eunuchs for the Kingdom of Heaven, 102–03.

[1] Durant, Will, The Age of Faith, 528, Christie-Murray, Donald, A History of Heresy, 98.

[1] Ranke-Heinemann, Uta, Eunuchs for the Kingdom of Heaven, 107.

[1] Durant, Will and Ariel, The Age of Faith, 528.

[1] Bernard of Clairvaux, Sermones in Cantica, Ixv., cited in Southern, R.W., Western Society and the Church in the Middle Ages, 314–15.

[1] De Rosa, Peter, Vicars of Christ, 574.

[1] Morris, Colin, “Medieval Christendom,” in The Christian World: A Social and Cultural History, 138.

[1] De Rosa, Peter, Vicars of Christ, 566.

[1] De Rosa, Peter, Vicars of Christ, 570.

[1] De Rosa, Peter, Vicars of Christ, 589.

[1] Bokenkotter, Thomas, A Concise History of the Catholic Church, 141.

[1] De Rosa, Peter, Vicars of Christ, 569.

[1] Ranke-Heinemann, Uta, Eunuchs for the Kingdom of Heaven, 108.

[1] Durant, Will and Ariel, The Age of Faith, 546.

[1] De Rosa, Peter, Vicars of Christ, 61.

[1] Ranke-Heinemann, Uta, Eunuchs for the Kingdom of Heaven, 108–09.

[1] Ranke-Heinemann, Uta, Eunuchs for the Kingdom of Heaven, 107.

[1] Canon 66, Council of Nicea, 325 CE.

[1] Ruether, Rosemary Radford, Christianity and the Making of the Modern Family, 57.

[1] Ranke-Heinemann, Uta, Eunuchs for the Kingdom of Heaven, 109, 111.

[1] De Rosa, Peter, Vicars of Christ, 577.

[1] Ranke-Heinemann, Uta, Eunuchs for the Kingdom of Heaven, 110–11.

[1] Ruether, Rosemary Radford, Christianity and the Making of the Modern Family, 58.

[1] De Rosa, Peter, Vicars of Christ, 479–81.

Written by Brian Griffith

Brian Griffith is an independent historian who’s interested in culture wars and cultural creativity. So far he’s written four books. The Gardens of Their Dreams: Desertification and Culture in World History examines how environmental degradation has affected society across the center of the Old World from ancient times forward. Correcting Jesus: 2000 Years of Changing the Story and Different Visions of Love: Partnership and Dominator Cultures in Christian History reflect on the culture wars that have raged within Christianity from the religion’s beginning down to the present. A Galaxy of Immortal Women: The Yin Side of Chinese Civilization explores the alternative traditions and religions of Chinese women, which offer the world a powerful vision for partnership, health, and spirituality. He lives in a multicultural marriage in the multicultural hub of Toronto.

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