Skip

Hail Mary, full of....
October 14, 2002 1:32 PM   Subscribe

Hail Mary, full of.... um.... what was that, again? The only Pope many of us have known, John Paul II, has decided that a millenium is long enough to change a prayer. Odd that two millenia are not enough to revisit female and married priests.
posted by dwivian (39 comments total)

 
Odd that two millenia are not enough to revisit female and married priests.

Do you really think that a religion should change it's beliefs because of social pressure?
posted by oissubke at 1:46 PM on October 14, 2002


I grew up Catholic, and kids were changing the words to the rosary long before the thought ever occurred to His Holiness:

Hail Mary, full of grease
The Lard is with thee
Flaccid are you among women
And blessed is the Fruit of thy Loom

...I'm goin' to hell, aren't I?
posted by MrBaliHai at 1:50 PM on October 14, 2002


"He is the fifth-longest serving Pope in history, and, if he lives five more months, will become the fourth-longest."

Yipes, Reuters. Just yipes.
posted by Danelope at 1:54 PM on October 14, 2002


oissubke, perhaps dwiv's premise is that those beliefs were coined by "social pressure" to begin with and has no real religious validity in a different social context. To me, that is an all together quite reasonable assumption, if you choose an unfundamentalistic reading of the Scriptures.
posted by cx at 1:57 PM on October 14, 2002


Do you really think that a religion should change it's beliefs because of social pressure?

How else would a religion change over time?
posted by stifford at 2:00 PM on October 14, 2002


CX... somehow, I doubt that: the current xeitgeist is to write-off any paradigm that claims any allegiance to a non-relative truth (and calls by laity and the outsider for churches to change doctrine or practice based current social constructs are fundementally a denial of such a claim), and I'm guessing that comment came from there.

I'm not Roman Catholic, but I have little tolerance for folks demanding that they "get with the times"... now, if you want to talk about how female priests might fit within their theology, well... that's a different story altogether.

As for the rosary, I'm kinda stoked: I wonder what the changes will be?
posted by silusGROK at 2:07 PM on October 14, 2002


I always thought it was "Hail Mary, full of grapes . . ."

But then again, I was never catholic.
posted by yesster at 2:07 PM on October 14, 2002


Is the rosary a prayer or a series of prayers? He's not changing the Hail Mary (or what ever the name of that prayer is) - he's just adding some more prayers to the rosary.

More interesting (I think) was when they changed the lords prayer to "forgive us our trespasses" rather than "forgive us our debts".

After all, we can't have a bunch of Xtians running around taking out home mortgages and then expecting that every few years they can declare a spiritually enforced bankruptcy and move on with a clean slate.

At least I find that a lot more interesting since Yoder makes a pretty convincing case that if there was a jesus, honoring the Jubilee is what he was really on about (that's why he was so pissed at the money changers in the temple). So the sect that sprung up around this guy basically said yeah, that's nice and all, but wicked inconvenient, so no, we'll have to change that.
posted by willnot at 2:08 PM on October 14, 2002


The rosary is a series of prayers - not that I have said it since grammar school - but if I remember correctly it is a Lord's Prayer, a bunch of Hail Marys, and groups of Jesus' 'mysteries' interspersed.

The Pope is adding a new set of mysteries, so now there will be 20 instead of 15. This probably means there will be a new group. (5 mysteries to a group)

If I remember correctly, each day of the week has a specific group of mysteries that are said. Guess the Pope will scramble the order a bit to add in the new set.
posted by birgitte at 2:14 PM on October 14, 2002


There are 5 levels of mutability in the Catholic faith. From least mutable to most mutable, we have the Five D's:

Deposit (of faith)
Dogma
Doctrine
Discipline
Devotion

(Deposit is unchangeable, compared to Devotion, which is highly mutable). Since the Rosary is a Devotion, the Pope (and really just about anybody) can adapt it at will pretty much. Priestly celibacy is a Discipline, so it can be changed but is done so infrequently (there are married Catholic priests, by the way - just not ROMAN ones. Try the some of the eastern Catholic rites). A male priesthood is probably Dogmatic (Dogma is the part of the Deposit that we know of) and is certainly Doctrinal if not that, so it will probably never change.

By the way, a religion that claims to teach Truth should never change. If it did change, it would be admitting that it believes Truth is relative. But to say that Truth is relative is to admit to at least one absolute truth; you would be saying that the statement "Truth is relative" is absolutely and always true. Hence that religion would be admitting that there some absolute truth. And if there is some Truth that is absolute, that's what religion should be focusing on - who cares about Truth that changes when there is Truth that does not.

And since the Catholic Church claims to teach Absolute Truth, its teachings should never change (remember the Five D's -- don't get confused into thinking that the Church's teaching is changing when it is really a Devotion or Discipline that is changing).

Cheers
Tim
posted by timbley at 2:14 PM on October 14, 2002 [1 favorite]


Do you really think that a religion should change it's beliefs because of social pressure?
posted by oissubke at 1:46 PM PST on October 14


Oissubke, not to draw your own religion into this, but what about the relatively recent change in position of African Americans in the LDS church? Regardless of revelation, wasn't that change due in part to social pressure? (I'm really asking, this isn't a "Take that, Lamenite scum!")

Or do I mean Nephite? Can't remember.
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 2:21 PM on October 14, 2002


Tim, great explanation. Thanks!
posted by oissubke at 2:22 PM on October 14, 2002


The "changes" are not so much a revision as an addition. Currently there are three sets of five mysteries (joyful, sorrowful, glorious) which focus on different aspects of the lives of Jesus and Mary. Most people choose one of the three sets when praying.

The new changes involve a new set of five mysteries focusing on Jesus' public life. If you're curious, read about how the rosary was originally developed as a way of giving monks who could not or who had not yet memorized all 150 psalms a way of praying along with their brother monks.

On preview, thanks timbley for a great explanation of why this isn't an earth-shaking matter.
posted by donnagirl at 2:22 PM on October 14, 2002


Oissubke, not to draw your own religion into this, but what about the relatively recent change in position of African Americans in the LDS church? Regardless of revelation, wasn't that change due in part to social pressure? (I'm really asking, this isn't a "Take that, Lamenite scum!")

Pink, I'll e-mail you. I don't want to turn this into another Mormon thread. :-)
posted by oissubke at 2:23 PM on October 14, 2002


There was a really amazing discussion on KQED called "A CRISIS OF FAITH: The Crisis in the Catholic Church (on the program Uncommon Knowledge), in which they discussed this (women in the priesthood) and other problems in the Catholic Church. (I think that this is the link here. You can search on the page for it, but it doesn't look like the streaming audio is up yet)

Anyway, according to the speaker, a male-only priesthood and the vow of celibacy were not scripturally induced but indeed socially motivated. In fact, both were done to appeal to the masses of believers at the time so as not to lose them as faithful. The Church can easily do the same thing now (if it so chooses) without declaring any part of its Doctine false.
posted by fooljay at 2:41 PM on October 14, 2002


Oissubke... CC me on that, would you? I'd love to hear your take on it! I have some thoughts on the matter that may be germane.
posted by silusGROK at 2:48 PM on October 14, 2002


Do you really think that a religion should change it's beliefs because of social pressure?

Yes. I find that nowadays we're under tremendous pressure not to torture and burn heretics.
posted by chuq at 2:56 PM on October 14, 2002


Tim-

There are, in point of fact, married Roman Catholic priests.

Since the 1980's married Anglican ministers who convert to Catholicism have been allowed to become priests, provided they receive special permission from the Pope.

Many of them even have children.
posted by pjdoland at 3:07 PM on October 14, 2002


The major reason given by the Roman Catholic Church for not ordaining women is that only men were disciples. This brings up the issue of whether Mary Magdalene could be counted among the disciples - an opinion the Church obviously doesn't share. The Gospels certainly don't dictate an all male priesthood. (But even if she wasn't a 'disciple' as defined by the Church, this is still a specious reason for excluding women)
posted by birgitte at 3:16 PM on October 14, 2002


And since the Catholic Church claims to teach Absolute Truth, its teachings should never change

And yet, they have many times since its inception.
posted by rushmc at 3:44 PM on October 14, 2002


willnot: Roman Catholics, as well as Anglicans, say "trespasses"; most Protestants say "debts" (if they're traditional; if they use a modern translation, they say something like "forgive us the wrong we have done"). No change, just differing interpretations of the Greek opheilemata (my New Testament dictionary says 'debt; wrong, sin, guilt').

oissubke: Could you cc me too? Thanks.
posted by languagehat at 3:56 PM on October 14, 2002


oissubke: Could you cc me too? Thanks.

Geez, I'm gonna have to set up a listserv or something... ;-)
posted by oissubke at 4:00 PM on October 14, 2002


And yet, they have many times since its inception.

Indeed, after all absolute truths may be mutable. The Anselm of Canterbury-like proof which Tim recounted, does seem to indicate that the Catholic Church's interpretation of matters of faith cannot ever be less than absolutely true, yet despite the infallibility of the Catholic Church these interpretations do change over time, because the society which those interpretations are applied change as well. Thus, what needs to be teached, and what needs to be preached change as well.

Paul wrote that women should keep silent in churches. (Even so there were several women prophets.) However, Paul also wrote that slaves shouldn't rebel. Both of these commandments were as fooljay writes, arguably included to maintain that the Chritian Church was a spiritual movement - not a social movement - that, in other words, the Christian faith shouldn't be used as an argument for revolutionizing the secular world, and more importantly- those in power shouldn't fear that introduction and conversion to the Christian faith would upset the status qvo.
posted by cx at 4:31 PM on October 14, 2002


The major reason given by the Roman Catholic Church for not ordaining women is that only men were disciples.

Yeah, and they were all Jews and fisherman too. How come that's not a requirement anymore?
posted by Wet Spot at 5:02 PM on October 14, 2002


Mr. Oissubke, I also would like to hear, if you could sir.
posted by Lord Chancellor at 5:10 PM on October 14, 2002


most Protestants say "debts"

hmm, I'm a life long Lutheran and I've also worshiped with a number of other Protestant denominations, and i've never heard "debts" before. It's usually "trespasses" although some of the more hip churches say "sins."

It seems unlikely that "debts" would generate much confusion though. God hasn't been known to pay off people's mortgages for them--although I suppose one could make a theological argument that he does, albeit very indirectly : ) In fact, I kind of like "debts." It's a much more relational term then "sins" (which to me always sounds much too much like "rules broken").
posted by boltman at 5:42 PM on October 14, 2002


two millenia are not enough to revisit female and married priests

Actually, the married-priest issue has not been waiting two millennia to be addressed. Priests married happily for 1000 years, whereas the innovation of requiring celibacy of priests dates back to the 12th century at the earliest.
posted by Zurishaddai at 6:37 PM on October 14, 2002


Did you know that you can get both the rosary and the bible for your palm? They're free too. Also my Catholic priest growing up had a wife and kids. He converted from being an Anglican priest and had to get it ok'ed directly from the Pope. He was a great guy. I really think priests are much more relevant to their parishioners as husbands and fathers themselves.
posted by Jubey at 8:21 PM on October 14, 2002


CX... somehow, I doubt that: the current xeitgeist is to write-off any paradigm that claims any allegiance to a non-relative truth
Actually, as far as Priests not marrying go, it was largely caused by social preasure. The CC was tired of having their empire divided up amond the Priest's kin, so they decided they couldn't marry to stop the land from not going to the CC (hence, when the Priest w/ no kin dies, the CC inherites the land). Heck, kneeling is so big b/c people used to kneel on one knee to a king, so tradition was started to kneel on both knees for reverence. I'm what one might consider a devout Catholic, and am free to admit this.
Also, the Rosary's format has changed before now. It used to be to perform a "real" Rosary, you had to do the entire thing 3 times a day (could take an hour or two), where each time is a different mystery. Then, b/c of the time factor, it was changed to doing only 1 Rosary a day was valid. As far as what the Rosary is valid for that the Vatican is referring to, there is a small (though not well known) teaching that you can recieve dispensations for stuff by saying the Rosary, recieving Communion, and confession w/ a Priest w/in an octave of eachother.
Since I've already gone on long enough, as far as the Absolute Truths are concerned. that is related MUCH more to morality and ethics. I don't think that a change in the Rosary is exactly going against absoluteism.
posted by jmd82 at 8:47 PM on October 14, 2002


The Southern Baptist church I grew up in always said "... and forgive us (of) our sins, as we forgive those that sin against us"

In the various other Baptist and Methodist churches I've frequented, I've heard only "sins" and "trespasses".

I've not heard a protestant church use "debts". YMMV
posted by Ynoxas at 10:07 PM on October 14, 2002


Oissubke, there seems to be a lot of interest in what you have to say on the acceptance of black men into the LDS ministry (I'm yet another curious party, having just been discussing this elsewhere). Perhaps you could post an abbreviated version of your email response?
posted by hippugeek at 12:14 AM on October 15, 2002


Not much to add, except to note that Catholics' interpretation of the Bible is non-fundamentalist. That is, many things the Church teaches (Mary's bodily assumption into heaven, for instance) aren't in there at all. Furthermore, the books in the New Testament were put there by a Church council, not by God.

In other words, it's a basic Catholic belief that "Doctrine evolves," as they say, or at least continues to to be revealed. They just wouldn't say that social pressures are what's causing the changes.
posted by oddovid at 5:59 AM on October 15, 2002


FYI, the Presbyterian church I attended as a youngster used "debts" and "debtors" in the LP.
posted by hilker at 9:38 AM on October 15, 2002


boltman, Ynoxas: I should have said most Protestants traditionally said "debts," that being the reading of the King James Bible, which was commonly used when I was growing up; I guess these days most people use more modernized versions. Sorry -- I'm so fond of the KJV I tend to lose sight of present reality. (If I were Catholic I'd prefer Latin masses.)
posted by languagehat at 10:41 AM on October 15, 2002


The real question is, does your version of the Bible call soft drinks "soda" or "pop"? The KJV uses "soda", if I'm not mistaken.
posted by oissubke at 11:12 AM on October 15, 2002


Now that I've tossed this out there and gone away for a while....

I sit here, my Toomey brand clerical shirt a little tight in the neck, and the collar detached and set aside (it's a plastic one, so it doesn't stay on long enough for me to start sweating profusely... *grin* ). I'm from Anglican tradition, and I know of those before me that joined the Roman tradition with their families. Met one of them at the hospital recently as he welcomed his grandchild into the world. So, celebacy among the priesthood is somewhat of questionable merit (though there is a general assumption that there will be celebacy AFTER joining the RCC, I just can't see my wife going for that).

Female priests, as mentioned above, were around for quite a while (and subject of controversy) until rather recently, when it was finally established that men should be the continuing representative force of the apostles. This is a problem to the Anglo-Catholic movement, which seeks to re-create ancient practice, but we'll avoid that like we skip the Mormon discussion (list-serve or Yahoo Group, either is good).

Presbyterians often use debts, Methodists use Trespass, and many Baptists use sins. Catholics and Anglicans use trespass for old rite services, or something else depending on more recent contemporary language (along the lines of "what we have done or aught not to have done").

And, the KJV calls it "Coke."
posted by dwivian at 11:26 AM on October 15, 2002


Weren't abesses saying mass less than 1000 years ago? Anyone know when they did away with them and wasn't it the Gregorian Reforms that set up celibacy in monastic rites? My history is rather rusty on all that.

As for the words to prayers, how long have these things been written in what we call English anyway? What has modern English been around for anyway, 200 years? Could George Washington and I actually have a conversation without a lot of confusion? Did he say sins, trespasses or debts or something completely different?
posted by Pollomacho at 12:49 PM on October 15, 2002


The Gospels certainly don't dictate an all male priesthood.
If you check close, the New Testament doesn't seem to dictate ANY kind of formal priesthood. There's one High Priest (Jesus) and a nation of priests (Christians.)
And I think the "boys only" rule might stem from Paul's instruction that a Bishop (overseer, pastor) be "the husband of one wife."
But, of course, that knocks out the celibacy thing...
posted by agentfresh at 7:01 PM on October 15, 2002


I was under the impression that celibacy came out of the fact that in the 12th century, too many priests were leaving church property to their children. To stop this from happening, the church decided to put the kibosh on priests getting married.

Similiar- in a way- to the reason catholics don't eat meat on Fridays (or didn't), because a Pope's relative was in the Fish business, going through some rough times, the relative asked the pope if he could help him out. He did, by forcing catholics to eat fish (explaining my torture every Friday during lent in childhood).
posted by drezdn at 11:41 PM on October 15, 2002


« Older Just Duct-y.....   |   The Fate of JOHN 3:16 Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments



Post