Did not Pope Gregory VII originate it in the 11th century?

The Catholic Answers

No. He merely enforced the already existing law more rigidly in his efforts to correct abuses. Over 300 years before Gregory VII. was Pope, the Greeks met the Latin Bishops at the Council of Trullo, and admitted, “We know that the law of the Roman Church is to demand that married men, from the moment of their ordination, must separate from their wives forever. ” St. Jerome, over 300 years before that, wrote, “The Apostolic See accepts married men to be Priests provided they live no longer as husbands to their wives. ” Marriage was never allowed after ordination. If a single man were ordained, he had to practice celibacy. If an aspirant were already married, he had to practice celibacy from the day he became a Priest. Pope Siricius, in 385 A.D., said, “All we Priests are obliged by an inviolable law dating from our ordination to be continent and chaste, and thus offer the sacrifice of our bodies to God.” This same Pope wrote also, “I have heard that a Priest of Christ has married, defending his action by saying that the Priests of the Old Law married. But the Church, the Spouse of Christ, has always loved chastity. Wherefore any Priest who claims a privilege from the Old Law which is unlawful in the New must know that he is deprived by the authority of the Apostolic See of the ecclesiastical honor he has so misused, nor can he celebrate the divine mysteries. ” Pope Siricius was not beginning a new law in the Church, but blaming an individual for not observing a law that had long been in existence. In 314 the Council of Neo-Caesaria had also said, “If a Priest marries, let him be degraded. ” The Apostolic Constitutions gave the law, in the 2nd century, “If a Priest or Deacon is not already married, he can never contract marriage.” Thus right back to the 2nd century you have explicit testimony that in the Catholic Church once a man became a Priest he had to renounce marriage, and practice celibacy.

Radio Replies Volume 1 by Rev. Dr. Leslie Rumble MSC and Rev. Charles Mortimer Carty

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