Monday, May 11, 2009

Who Cares About the 16th Century?

The door on the right is the door of the Wittenburg church in Germany. The 95 Theses were nailed here which spelled out church abuses during the Renaissance. Is any of this relevant for the church today? This is the beginning of a short series on some of the main reforms and why we should care.

Clergy marriage

Prior to the Reformation and even in today’s Roman Catholic Church, clergy were/are not allowed to marry. The choice was clear; you could either get married or serve God in the church as a priest. This excluded a number of people with genuine calls of God, yet who did not have the gift of celibacy. It was a requirement the church had put upon candidates for the priesthood that scripture did not. Even before Luther’s time, there were those who were against this prerequisite.

Those who were already priests, but lacked the gift of celibacy, because they could not marry, often had mistresses and children by them. Though this ran counter to their vows, it was overlooked. With the reforms of the 16th century, one did not have to choose between a spouse and service to God. For many today, it is why they have left the priesthood in the Roman Catholic Church. It is a distinct advantage the Protestants have with this freedom. This is one I am personally grateful for!

flickr foto


LawAndGospel said...

And you have been spared having to be a nun to serve the church for which I am sure Ray is grateful!

Ivy said...

Indeed, Law and Gospel. And when I was a little Catholic girl, I wanted to be a nun. And Ray wanted to join a monastic order in RI, but they said no because of his sight. We are grateful and thankful and now both Lutheran.