Then We sent following upon their traces, [many more of] Our messengers. And We followed [them] up with Jesus, son of Mary. So We gave him the Evangel [as a Heavenly Book]. And We placed in the hearts of those who followed him loving-kindness and mercy. But as for [the tradition of] monasticism—they themselves invented it. Never did We prescribe it for them, but only that they seek the pleasure of Allah. Still, they did not observe [this discipline] with its rightfully due observance. So We gave those who believed among them their reward. But many of them were ungodly. [Sûrat Al-Ḥadîd, 57:27]
THE CATHOLIC CHURCH famously (or infamously, depending upon your guidance) disallows its all-male priests from marrying. The law of clerical celibacy, as its Churchmen named this “discipline” (for it is not a Church doctrine, or canon, properly speaking) grew out of the religious way of life of monasticism, or monk-hood. Its practitioners, monks, renounce the world and its pursuits with the purpose of totally devoting themselves to worship, numinous communion, and godly works.
Monk-hood is not all of one piece, there being variations and innovations (and particularly so in our times, when embattled Christians have begun a desperate search for a sanctified way out of the madness of modernity). Nor is it unequivocally errant, causing every hermit and cleric to stray into corruption. The Quran tells us as much when it commends sincere Christians to us as those nearest of them [others] in genuine love to those who believe, meaning Muslims, because there are among them priests and monks—and they do not grow arrogant. [Sûrat Al-Mâ’idah, 5:82]
I attempt no definition of monk-hood here. I aim to connect the dotted shambles that the Catholic Church has publicly revealed itself to be in with this unnatural practice of depriving passionate human beings of high religious desire from lawful sexual union. I further seek to connect this with the Quran’s revelation to us that its worldly motives and ungodly consequences largely undergird this un-prescribed excess, which they have falsely attributed to God.
With the surprise resignation of Pope Benedict XVI, the Bavarian Joseph Aloisius Ratzinger, what has come to the fore is that his departure seems far more about the spiritual-sexual aberrance just rampant among the Church’s “religious” in the abuse of young boys than it is about the somatic well-being of Benedict.
In previous powerful doctrinal enforcement positions and priest oversight offices in the still tremendously rich and influential Church hierarchy, the Pope Emeritus worked to bolster strict celibacy requirements for the priesthood, on the one hand, while knowing full well that homosexualism and its aggression by priests against the Church’s children rampaged.
Non-doctrinal, but compulsory, celibacy decimated the priesthood of young men through the late 20th and early 21st centuries. But far more crucially, some accuse Benedict himself in his former role as priest policeman of covering up massive abuses of defenseless, juvenile parishioners by the Church’s ageing ordained, a direct outcome of the doctrines he was enforcing to begin with.
How in the world can a religion growing out of Heavenly Revelation possibly outlaw such a thing? More pointedly, why would it?
SCHOLARS POINT TO worldly temptation in the form of a huge, steady financial payoff that loomed before a flailing Church as a direct result of instituting a policy of celibacy for the ecclesiastical hierarchy. Its leaders, whose religious enterprise was failing to win converts, understood that if it fashioned its clerical base on the example of hermits sworn to other-worldliness, but who were the object of common charity and mystical interest from a populace that would pay for spiritual services, that they, the Church rulers, would become a logical repository for the capital its ascetics amassed.
The Catholic Church legitimized their policy of celibacy, not originally on scripture, per se, or doctrine, but on the practices of early (mostly Middle Eastern) Christian ascetics and monks who abstained from worldly wealth and pleasure. Focused though they were on the work of the spirit, the massive collections and earnings of these priests through their ecclesiastical duties and as conduits to charity for the sake of God, enabled the Church to aggregate and centralize vast amounts of wealth. This helped transform the Church, according to respected American historian and Catholic Garry Wills in Papal Sin: Structures of Deceit, into a formidable, centralized worldly institution.
Those habits of aggregating charity and the financial product of priestly services into a highly centralized Church leadership live on. One need not look to the authority of Church critics and commentators to know this. Allah forewarned Muslims of this in its Revelation more than 1,400 years ago—both so as to disclose to us the corrupted practices of many of the spiritual leaders of the People of the Scripture and as a forewarning to us not to fall into these same temptations when religious leadership and trust came to us.
O you who believe! Indeed, many of the rabbis and the monks consume the wealth of the people by false means and bar [others] from the path of Allah. Yet as for those who hoard up gold and silver and do not spend it in the path of Allah—give them [heavy] tidings of a most painful torment—on a Day [Hereafter] when [gold and silver] shall be heated in the Fire of Hell. Then their foreheads, and their sides, and their backs will be branded with it [and it shall be said to them]: This is what you have hoarded up for yourselves! So taste [now] what you used to hoard up! [Sûrat Al-Tawbah, 9:34-35]
The exposition of Benedict is instructive for us in more than this. Some 17 months after his elevation to Pope in April 2005, he gave a lecture in his native Germany on “Faith, Reason, and the University—Memories and Reflections.” He saw fit there to besmirch the Prophet ﷺ—knowingly falsely, and knowing the xenophobic, virulently anti-Muslim, and anti-prophetic climate of our times. He hid behind the fig leaf of an obscure quote from 1391 ce taken from one of the last Christian rulers before the conquering of Constantinople by Muslims:
Show me just what Muhammad brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached.
Now we know the answer.
* * * * *
Prophet Muhammad ﷺ did not bring the new.
He brought a timeless Revelation from Allah, Lord of all the Worlds, that reasserted the Eternal Truth.
It upheld the true and original followers of Jesus as having hearts filled with love and compassion, not aggressive hate and warmongering.
It showed that monk-hood never came from the command of Allah. And whatever good impulse may have initiated it, it was never properly observed by a Christian hierarchy that innovated its institutional iterations.
It exposed the worldly incentive and crassly exploitative metastatic nature of monasticism as the hierarchies of the People of the Scripture developed it—especially its inhuman discipline of celibacy, and still they defend it—as opposed to the simple commandment of only seeking the pleasure of Allah.
He brought a Heavenly Dispensation that vindicated Jesus from false claims of divinity and “sonship” that Jesus never claimed, and proved his mother, Mary, in her virgin birth blameless, against all calumny to the contrary, whose perpetrators are destined for Hellfire.
So you see, what Muhammad ﷺ brought was not the new, but rather the old, the ancient, from the Eternal One Himself; namely, the hallowed restoration and supersession of the original and final Word over all innovations in Heavenly religion—no matter how old and established these invented institutions.
He brought a Revelation that showed that such institutions and their religious leaderships were corrupted; and that the former in the hands of the latter inevitably led to things only gravely evil: Like attribution of offspring and parentage to the One and only God—against the first commandment of the Torah and reiterated in the Evangel!
And like the weeping ruination of the flower of the purely innocent, whom common decency and compassion dictate should have been defended and protected.
Yet it is even as the âyah concludes:
But many of them were ungodly.
Originally posted 2015-10-23 03:00:38.