The Scandal of the Catholic Priesthood (1 of 2)

John F. MacArthur, Jr.

Well, thank you for coming tonight. I am going to put on the hat of sort of a professor and historian tonight. I am so used to getting up and saying “take out your Bible,” but that wouldn’t help, since the Catholic priesthood isn’t found anywhere in scripture, so we can’t start there. I want to talk about the scandal of the priesthood, because obviously we are all made very much aware of the tremendous tragedy that is playing out before us in the immorality of the Catholic priesthood. And what I would like to do is to give some historical perspective to that, some sense of the bigger picture of what’s going on in the priesthood. And in order to do that, I have to talk a little bit about the scandal of the priesthood itself. So it’s a bit of a play on words. It’s a bit of a pun, if you will, when I talk about the scandal of the priesthood.

I’m not just talking about the current scandal. I’m talking about the whole scandal of the priesthood itself, as the hierarchical structure of the Roman Catholic church. Let me give you a little bit of background.

There’s a lot that could be said about Roman Catholic theology. We could expose its errors, which are numerous; we could talk about its sources of revelation or divine truth that are outside the pages of scripture, or we could talk about the corruption of the mass. We could talk about the idea that Mary is the co-redemptrix which, of course, is really a blasphemous concept. We could talk about the idea that God is a tough guy, and if anybody wants grace out of God, it’s only Jesus who could get it from Him; but you can’t expect to go to Jesus because He’s pretty tough himself, so you need to go to Mary, because nobody can resist his mother. And so she’ll talk to Him and he’ll talk to the father, and Mary
will get you what you need, or some saint. We could talk a lot about those things; concepts of purgatory, concepts of the sinlessness of Mary, the virgin birth of Mary, a lot of things about Catholic theology that we could speak about; most notably their erroneous doctrine of justification, which cuts people off from the kingdom of God. But what I want to talk about is the scandal of the priesthood, and give you some sense of what the priesthood really is all about.

We are all very familiar with Catholic priests. We’ve grown up seeing them in our society, along with nuns, and we see them on the television all the time. We read about them in the newspaper before there were any scandals. We’ve been very much aware of them. Many of you in your youth were affected or impacted by the image of the priest in his black robe going through the machinations of ceremonies in the Catholic church that you attended as a kid. So we all know that. There’s this sort of idea that there’s a holy aura about these men; that somehow, they’re almost unearthly and transcendent. And we need to kind of put that in perspective.

So let me start by just talking about the divine origin of the hierarchy. There is in Catholic dogma the confidence that the hierarchy of the Catholic church is from Christ; that it is Jesus Christ Himself who granted to the Catholic church its hierarchical structure. And essentially, what that boils down to is an office of clergy, sort of across-the-board, that has three categories of power. Roman Catholics talk about teaching power. They talk about pastoral power, and they talk about sacerdotal power.

Teaching power is what you would think it is. They speak authoritatively for the church; church being the only true interpreter of scripture. They don’t speak for the scripture. They speak for the church. That is their teaching power.

They also possess pastoral power, and the way they define that is quite interesting. In the Catholic dogma, it is refined as — defined as legislative, judicial and punitive. Their idea of pastoral work is not comfort and care and compassion. It is legislative, judicial and punitive. They make laws to which they hold people. They adjudicate as to whether people have violated those laws, and they mete out punishment. And through the years, that punishment has been everything from excommunication to execution.

Thirdly, they possess sacerdotal power. And what that simply means is the power to impart grace through the sacraments. They would say in their dogma that these three parallel the threefold office of Christ as prophet, priest and king.

Now, their dogmas have been crystallized very well, thanks to the Reformation. It was the Reformation that caused them to pronounce anathemas. When — we’re all familiar with the whole story of the Reformation to one degree or another, when Martin Luther and Zwingli and Calvin and Malanchthon all came along and assaulted the system. The system had to respond. And one way it responded was by, of course, digging its heels in the ground, changing nothing, and affirming what it had always held to be true, and then damning everybody who didn’t believe it. But out of that came some very clear articulation of their unchanging dogma. One of the primary things that they stood against with regard to the reformers was the priesthood. The reformers rejected completely the idea of a special priesthood. And with it, they rejected the Catholic hierarchy, which essentially is the Pope, and then the bishops, from whom the cardinals are chosen, and then the priests, and under them the deacons.

The reformers rejected that in favor of the general priesthood of all believers. And the Council of Trent said that anybody who rejects the special priesthood, “let him be anathema,” and pronounced the curse of damnation on that. They had to preserve their hierarchical structure. That was critical to them in order to preserve the power. Their view is that Christ, of course, is ultimately the divine head of the church, but he mediates his real authority through one man, who is the Pope, who then disseminates that down through the bishops, and the priests carry out the functions determined by that hierarchy. The Pope is where you start in the Catholic hierarchy, and the Pope is supposed to be the direct successor to the apostle Peter. Christ appointed the apostle Peter to be the visible head of the church, and then determined that that succession would pass down through Peter to a line of apostles, if you will, who would bear that same authority.

Council of Trent said: “If anyone says the blessed apostle Peter was not constituted by Christ our Lord prince of all apostles and visible head of the church, a primacy of honor and true jurisdiction, let him be anathema.” So you’re damned if you assault the priesthood, and you’re damned if you assault the papacy of Peter. According to Christ’s law in their dogma — and I’m drawing most of this from a book by Ludwig Ott. It’s called Catholic Dogma. It is one of their own systematic theology books which I have read through the years.

But according to Christ’s law, Peter is to have successors in his primacy over the whole church for all time. And the Council of Trent says if anyone denies that, “let him be anathema.” If anyone says that the Roman pontiff is not the successor of blessed Peter in the primacy, “let him be anathema.” So the Council of Trent pronounced a hundred or more damnations on anybody who questioned anything about the Catholic church. And they were particularly concerned about anybody questioning the hierarchy, because if you question the hierarchy, you can — you could literally bring down the system.

The Pope, according to Catholic dogma: “Possesses full and supreme power of jurisdiction over the whole church, not merely in matters of morals” — and I’m reading — “and faith, and also in matters of discipline and government.” Council of Trent says if anybody says he doesn’t, “let him be anathema.” “The Pope” — I’ll read it again — “possesses full and supreme power of jurisdiction over the whole church.” They would even look at the Protestant as disenfranchised brethren who should be lining up in submission to the Pope. “Supreme power is his,” says Catholic dogma. “There is no greater power than his and there is no equal power. His power transcends both the power of each individual bishop or cardinal and also of all bishops put together. Collectively, they are not equal to the Pope. Singularly, they are not equal to the Pope. “The Pope can rule independently on any matter under the church’s jurisdiction. The church rejects all attempts by the state to rule over the Pope and the church.” That’s why they created their own state, the Vatican, so that the Pope would be the king of his own empire.

Quoting from Catholic dogma: “The Pope is judged by nobody.” Now, that gives you a pretty clear idea of the role that he plays. He is unilaterally responsible to have jurisdiction over all matters of church life. The dogma says the Pope is infallible when he speaks “ex cathedra.” Have you ever heard that expression? It simply means “out of the chair.” All that means is when he speaks and it’s not some kind of formal occasion, it means when he speaks in the discharge of his duties as pastor and doctor over all Christians. “He defines doctrine regarding faith and morals to be held by the universal church, and is possessed of that divine infallibility and, therefore, definitions by the Roman pontiff are irreformable. “He never makes a mistake, and nothing he says, therefore, can ever be altered. “The source of his infallibility,” says the dogma, “is the supernatural assistance of the Holy Ghost, who protects the supreme teacher of the church from error. God in heaven will confirm the Pope’s judgment. He is preserved from error.” Quote.

So you have this leader who has total power over the entire church; not in their view just those who are faithful Catholics, but anybody else who claims to be a Christian and has wandered astray. He has total power to judge over all matters of faith — that’s doctrine — and morals — that’s conduct; all matters of discipline, all adjudications in the life of the church. And when he makes any such judgment at any point, he is infallible and God Himself in heaven confirms the Pope’s judgment, because he is “preserved from error.” And therefore, whatever he says stands permanently as the truth of God and cannot be reformed or changed. Under him are the bishops, and they possess divine right. But theirs is called an ordinary power of government over their dioceses; an ordinary power, rather than an extraordinary power, such as the Pope has, of infallibility. “They have an ordinary power,” as their dogma says it, “of government over their dioceses. Only Popes and bishops possess this power by divine right. All others possess it by the church’s granting it. It is therefore that the Pope and the bishops are like the apostles, appointed personally by Christ, and the priests and deacons appointed by the church.” Bishops are seen as successors of the apostles, who receive their power not from Christ directly, but from Christ mediated to them through the Pope, who once was one of them. The Pope then acts for Christ, infallibly in all matters of the church, including appointing and empowering the bishops. And the clergy, as they’re called, the priests, come along to obey this hierarchical structure. The bishops do not determine the dogma. In the end, it is the Pope and the collective council affirmed by the Pope that determine the doctrine.

So you get down to the priests. The dioceses are broken down into parishes. And you’re familiar with that, I think. And in the parishes are the priests, and they have responsibility to conduct seven sacraments. This is basically what they do. By law, there are seven sacraments and only seven: Baptism; confirmation, which is something that happens around the age of 12 when your baptism into the kingdom of God, your baptism, which is an expression of divine empowering grace, is confirmed. Then Eucharist, which is the communion, the mass. Then penance, which is the process by which you atone for your sins by the payment of some price or some act; extreme unction, which is what you give somebody when they’re dying, and you see the priest rushing in; holy order. And holy order, one of the seven sacraments, is that sacrament by which the priests and bishops are set apart. The other one is matrimony or marriage.

So the responsibility of the priests then fall into those seven sacraments. I want to pull out of that the holy order, because here we begin to see more into the priesthood. Priests are consecrated by this sacrament. It is a sacrament; that is, it is a sacred ceremony. “Sacramentum ordines,” it’s called; the sacrament of ordination, is what officially puts priests into their positions of ministry. Below them are deacons, who also have their own sacrament of ordination. But we’re talking about the priests.

Ordination confers — this is quite interesting — sanctifying grace on a priest. And you have to understand this, because this is critical. You’ve got the infallible Pope. You’ve got the nearly infallible bishops and, coming down the food chain a little bit, you’ve got the priests. And the priests at the sacrament of sacramentum ordines, of ordination, are literally spiritually invested with sanctifying grace. And I’ll quote from the dogma. “By the sacrament of order, the priest receives a new and special grace, and a particular help by means of which he can cope in a worthy fashion and with unfailing courage with the high obligations of the office he has assumed and fulfill the duties.” Now, they believe that a sacrament dispenses grace.

We have baptism. We don’t think it dispenses any grace. We think it’s a commemoration. It’s a public affirmation, public testimony. We have communion, the Lord’s table. We don’t think it dispenses any grace, any justifying grace or even sanctifying grace. We see it as a — as a memorial, a remembrance of the death of Christ. But for them, a sacrament dispenses grace. And the sacrament of ordination dispenses a certain grace to the priests. What is that? As the dogma says: “The sacrament of order imprints a character on the recipient, a new character.” And I’m quoting: “The character of order enables the possessor to take an active part in Christ’s priesthood. It obliges him to dispense the saving treasures of Christ and” — here’s the key — “to lead a morally pure life.” At the time of his ordination, which can never be repeated, can never be reverted or rescinded: It is once for good. That’s why they don’t know what to do with priests who abuse people.

Furthermore, the sacrament itself is to infuse them with a sanctifying grace to enable them to lead a morally pure life. One statement in the dogma that struck me was: “The sacrament of order confers a permanent spiritual power on the recipient.” So the system teaches that this individual has received grace, permanent spiritual power, in which he has literally entered into the priesthood of Jesus Christ, is then obliged to dispense the saving treasures of Christ, he mediates the treasures of Christ to people, and he is empowered to “lead a morally pure life.” Now, this priest then has taken on really almost an aura of holiness. When it comes down to his duties, let me just kind of read you something.

John O’Brien has a popular work called the Faith of Millions. And in that, he has written this. I think it’s really fascinating. “When the priest announces the tremendous words of consecration at the mass, he reaches up into the heavens.” You’ve seen that image. “He brings Christ down from his throne and places Him upon our altar to be offered up again as the victim for the sins of man.” “It is” — listen to this — “a power greater than that of saints and angels, greater than that of seraphim and cherubim.” We’re talking about a priest now. We’re talking about somebody really who is considered supernatural. He has to be, if he has a greater power than angels, including seraphim and cherubim. And why do they say that? Not only because of this grace and this empowerment for a moral life and this engagement in the priesthood of Christ, but because the priest can reach into heaven, bring Christ down from His throne, place Him on our altar to be offered again as the victim for the sins of man. He literally brings Christ down for the sacrifice of the mass.

He goes on writing about the priest and says: “Indeed, it is greater even than the power of the virgin Mary. While the blessed virgin was the human agency by which Christ became incarnate a single time, the priest brings Christ down from heaven and renders him present on our altar as the eternal victim for the sins of man not once, but a thousand times.” “The priest speaks and lo, Christ, the eternal and omnipotent God, bows his head in humble obedience to the priest’s command.” He has the power to go to heaven and pull Christ down, and sacrifice him again on the altar of the church.

In the next paragraph, he writes: “Of what sublime dignity is the office of the Christian priest who is thus privileged to act as the ambassador and the vice-regent of Christ on earth? He continues the essential ministry of Christ. He teaches the faithful with the authority of Christ. He pardons the penitent sinner with the power of Christ. He offers up again the same sacrifice of adoration and atonement which Christ offered on Calvary. No wonder that the name which spiritual writers are especially fond of applying to the priest is that name ‘alter cristus,’ for a priest is another Christ.” Does that bring a verse to mind? If anybody “comes and preaches another” Christ, we have our own Council of Trent. “Let him be anathema.”

They are viewed as another Christ, “alter cristus.” This bizarre mass, this bizarre attempt to put power in the hands of men, has absolutely nothing to do with the scriptures, and is a wicked twisting of spiritual responsibility and pastoral ministry. To Protestant ears, these are really disturbing assertions. They are to me. What is he talking about when he says that Christ is offered as a sacrifice upon the Roman altar, our altar? What does he mean? That Christ, the omnipotent God: “…bows His head in humble obedience to the priest’s command, and comes down from heaven to be offered again and again a thousand times in sacrifice.” Isn’t this guy going too far?

Well, the Council of Trent, in its 13th session in October of 1551, promulgated a decree concerning the most holy sacrament of the eucharist. The mass at the end of the decree was a list of canons providing anathemas for those who would reject the Council’s teaching, since these canons often provide short and — they do provide short and succinct definitions of Roman teaching. As I said earlier, I want to give you some of them, especially in the concept of transubstantiation. You know, when Christ comes down, you know how he comes down, right? They take the bread and the wine, and the priest literally turns that into the body and blood of Jesus. And that’s Christ.

So here are Council of Trent pronunciations.

Canon I: “If anyone denies that in the sacrament of the most holy eucharist are contained truly, really and substantially the body and blood, together with the soul and divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ, and consequently the whole Christ, but says that he is in it only as a sign, a figure or force, let him be anathema.” Pronounce a damnation on anybody who says it’s not actually Jesus Christ in the whole that the priest has brought down.

Canon II: “If anyone says that in the sacred and holy sacrament of the eucharist the substance of the bread and wine remains conjointly with the body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, and denies that wonderful and singular change of the whole substance of the bread into the body, and the whole substance of the wine into the blood, the appearances only of bread and wine remaining,” which change the Catholic church most aptly calls transubstantiation, “let him be anathema.”

Canon number VIII: “If anyone says that Christ received in the eucharist is received spiritually only, and not also sacramentally and really, let him be anathema.”

This is just perverse. Eleven years later in 1562, the 22nd session of Trent was held. This time the decree promulgated was entitled “Doctrine Concerning the Sacrifice of the Mass.” And the decree says this: “In as much as in this divine sacrifice, which is celebrated in the mass is contained and immolated in an unbloodied manner, the same Christ who once offered Himself in a bloody manner on the altar of the cross, the holy council therefore teaches that this is truly propitiatory and has this effect; that if we, contrite and penitent, with sincere heart and upright faith, with fear and reverence draw nigh to God, we obtain mercy and find grace in seasonable aid.” That is to say that there is salvation in the mass. That is what it’s saying. “For, appeased by this sacrifice,” the mass, “the Lord grants the grace and gift of penitence and pardons even the gravest crimes and sins.” So if you go into the mass with the right attitude, you come out pardoned. “For the victim is one and the same, the same now offering by the ministry of priests, who then offered himself on the cross.” There’s no difference between what a priest does and what Jesus did on the cross. “Only the manner is different,” it says.

This is directly quoting out of the second chapter out of the decree called “Doctrine Concerning the Sacrifice of the Mass.” “The fruits of that bloody sacrifice, it is well understood, are received most abundantly through this unbloody one. So far is the latter from derogating in any way from the former. “Wherefore, according to the tradition of the apostles, it is rightly offered not only for the sins, punishment, satisfactions and other necessities of the faithful who are living, but also for those departed in Christ but not yet fully purified.”

So the mass saves the people who are alive there, and the people who are dead and not yet purified. Do you want to debate that? Listen to what Trent said:

Canon number I: “If anyone says that in the mass a true and real sacrifice is not offered to God or that to be offered is nothing else than that Christ is given to us to eat, let him be anathema. If anyone says by those words ‘Do this for a remembrance of me’ — if you say that Christ did not institute the apostles priests, and did not ordain that they and other priests should offer his own body and blood — “let him be anathema.” If you say that Christ did not institute the priesthood to offer the mass, you’re anathema.

Canon number III: “If anyone says that the sacrifice of the mass is one only of praise and thanksgiving, or that it is a mere commemoration of the sacrifice consummated on the cross, but not a propitiatory one” — if you say there’s no propitiation in the mass — “or that it profits him only who receives and ought not to be offered for the living and the dead for sin’s punishment, satisfactions and other necessities, let him be anathema.” That is to say, if you say that the mass isn’t propitiatory for the sins of the living, and if you say it’s not propitiatory for the sins of the dead, you’re cursed.

Canon number IV: “If anyone says,” , “that by the sacrifice of the mass a blasphemy is cast upon the most holy sacrifice of Christ” — if you say the mass is a blasphemy, which we would say — “let him be anathema.”

Canon V: “If anyone says that it is a deception to celebrate masses in honor of the saints, and in order to obtain their intercession with God as the church intends, let him be anathema.”

And as you read down these canons, you can tell by their answer what the reformers were saying.

Canon VI: “If anyone says that the canon of the mass contains errors, let him be anathema.”

That just covers it all, doesn’t it? It’s the blanket provision. So if I could summarize, the teachings of the Roman Catholic church on the mass from the Council of Trent, which preserves the primary role of the priest, the summary would go like this:

1. Jesus Christ is truly, really substantially present in the sacrament of the eucharist.

2. Transubstantiation involves the change of the whole substance of the bread into the substance of the body of the Christ, change of the whole substance of the wine into the substance of the blood of Christ.

3. Since Christ is said to be really present in the eucharist, the elements themselves following consecration are worthy of worship. They worship them.

4. The sacrifice of the mass is properly called propitiatory, in that it brings about pardon of sin.

5. In the institution of the mass at the Lord’s Supper, Christ offered His own body and blood to the Father in the signs of the bread and wine and, in so doing, ordained the apostles as priests of the New Testament, and they passed their priesthood on down.

6. The sacrifice of the mass is properly offered for sins’ punishment, satisfaction and all other necessities not only for the living but for the dead as well.

7. Anyone who denies the truthfulness of any of those proclamations is cursed.

Now, somebody’s going to say, well, that’s the Council of Trent; you know, that’s 1500s. Is that still the teaching of the church? Absolutely. How could it not be the teaching of the church, because the church is infallible and irreformable? That is why in the history of the Catholic church, nothing ever changes. The church absorbs its dissidents. It absorbs its immoral. It absorbs its heretics. It absorbs everybody, and perpetuates the system. The one thing the Catholic church cannot tolerate is any kind of schism. And so it just keeps absorbing the dissidents in the perpetration of the system. And, therefore, it is full of all wretched kinds of beliefs, all levels of immorality and all different kinds of disregard for Catholic law down through the laity.

If you did a poll in America, how many Roman Catholics believe in only using the rhythm method to prevent birth or conception? You would find that it’s a very small percentage. They don’t abide by Catholic dogma or Catholic law. The priests don’t live by Catholic law or certainly biblical law. But those laws never change. They just keep absorbing the dissidents, so there’s never a fracture. That’s is why the Reformation was such an unbelievable assault on the church, because it was a true fracture. You couldn’t even estimate the power that God unleashed through the reformers to deal a devastating blow to the system in the Reformation. In a new catechism,
Catechism of the Catholic church, to show you where the emphasis lies, there are nine paragraphs dedicated to the subject of justification. There are 84 paragraphs dedicated to the mass. That’s what it’s all about, and that’s what the priest does. Now, now you understand the position of the priest. He’s — operates in the area of the sacraments; primarily, the mass.

As we think about that, let’s go behind the priesthood and talk about the issue of celibacy, because this has been debated. I think the latest statistics I’ve seen in America would be something like 80 percent or 70-some percent of Roman Catholics thinks — think the priests should be able to be married. So they have a hard time swallowing the celibate issue in this country, whereas those statistics might not be the same in other parts of the world. But let me talk about celibacy a little bit.

Celibacy has become an obligatory law of the Roman church imposed on all priests. And they — they try to build that on Matthew 19, where Jesus said: “There are eunuchs for the kingdom” of God. Remember that? Some men are eunuchs from birth; some are made eunuchs and some are eunuchs for the kingdom of God. There are people who are unable to procreate physiologically because of some malformation. There are people who are unable to procreate because they have been wounded, harmed through some violence. And there are some people who choose not to marry. In fact, the apostle Paul says that in some ways being single is better, right? 1st Corinthians 7. Because you don’t have to worry about a wife and the family, and you can devote yourself to the Lord. But he also says in 1st Corinthians 7: “It is better to marry than to” — what? “Than to burn.” “Better to marry than to burn” with passion. And certainly, 1st Corinthians 7 makes it very clear that singleness is not preferable to marriage. To make celibacy mandatory is utterly unbiblical. They try to show that Paul taught celibacy. They try to twist the scripture to make Peter into an unmarried man, so that in 1 Corinthians 9 Verse 5 where he says he has the right to “lead about a wife,” the confraternity version of the Bible, the Catholic Bible, says he has the right to lead about a sister. But it’s not the word “adelphe,” sister. It is the word “gunaikas,” which is wife.

Now what I’ve been saying is that celibacy is not mandated by the scripture whatsoever. In fact, there is a reference to celibacy in the Bible, and I want to read it to you. 1st Timothy Chapter 4, listen to what the apostle Paul wrote: “But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons, by means of the hypocrisy of liars seared in their own conscience as with a branding iron, men who forbid marriage and advocate abstaining from foods, both of which God has created to be gratefully shared in by those who believe and know the truth. For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with gratitude; for it is sanctified by means of the word of God and prayer.”

Now what Paul wrote here is this: Those who forbid marriage are advocating a “doctrine of demons.” They are listening to “deceitful spirits;” they are hypocritical liars whose consciences have literally been scarred so that they’re past feeling. So you can see that the scripture associates celibacy, forbidding marriage, with Satan. And I really believe that’s true. I believe Satan has managed to take control of the Catholic system. In a number of ways, this is manifest. But in clearer terms, one of the ways that he has demonstrated his presence in that system is through the forbidding of marriage; which God has created, the scripture says, “to be gratefully shared in by those who believe and know the truth.” Even marriage, like food, is to be sanctified and received with gratitude because it comes from God.

As a footnote to that, it is also true in Catholicism that there is certain dietary restriction. Everybody who’s in the Catholic system knows about not eating meat on Friday. This, too, is drawn out of paganism. Celibacy kind of grew slowly in the Catholic world. It started in the second century. Prior to that, it existed in Asia. It existed in Buddhism. It existed in some other pagan religions; that is to say not being married, being single for devotion to your deity. It didn’t say anything about sexual behavior; just said something about marriage. There were some who took a vow of utter abstinence from sexual relationships; whether or not they fulfilled them, they took them. But in the second century, this issue of being unmarried came in, and people followed that path, influenced by the third century by Gnosticism, and what’s called Manicheanism; the idea that matter is evil and spirit is good. And therefore, the soul and the spirit of a person is good and the body is wicked, and anything the body does is wicked. And so in this perverted, twisted sort of Gnostic concept, they felt that the highest levels of spirituality were attained by those who literally denied their body all its desires. So they took vows of poverty. They took vows of chastity, which would be different than a vow of celibacy; celibacy having to do with marriage, chastity having to do with sexual activity. They took vows of obedience. Some of them took vows of silence. They didn’t want the body to do anything. They didn’t want to worry about what it wore; they didn’t want to pander to any of its desires. They wanted to eat only meager and austere diets. And some of them didn’t even want to hear the body speak, and so they took vows of silence.

this is part 1 of 2

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