Sunday, May 04, 2008

It's as Old as Catholicism. Older than that really.

No one ever discovers a truth of scripture for the first time. Someone else already had. My definition of a "Cult" would involve some new revelation, as I am what is known as a Cessationist. I'll discuss that further at some other time, if someone wants me to. For now, unless someone in the first 100 years of the church saw it, I don't buy it.

So Scott's article over at "Grits for Breakfast" is especially interesting. I had never known this was the Catholic Position, but it is. Anyway Scott's point is rhetorical. Why haven't we moved on the Catholic Church in the same way in view of what they teach. With a Hat Tip to Grits, I'll move on to make my points, since Scott has covered the first one.

"Let's consider what would happen if Casey's notion were applied more widely to religious groups when abuse arises among their leadership. In all seriousness, why wouldn't the same logic suggest seizing the assets of the Catholic Church? According to them, 'The marriageable age is fourteen full years in males and twelve full years in females, under penalty of nullity (unless natural puberty supplies the want of years).' That's far younger than any marriage alleged to have occurred among residents of the YFZ Ranch." (Bold portion from the Catholic Encyclopedia).

Doh! I'm really late to the table on this one, aren't I? Interpretation? Before all this age of consent nonsense, the Catholic Church actually made a SENSIBLE declaration with exceptions regarding marriage. Guys 14, Girls 12. This corresponds roughly to the age of sexual maturity or at least functionality. There were EXCEPTIONS just as there are in our age of consent laws for circumstance, that's what "Natural Puberty Supplies the Want of Years" means. If you bud early, you can marry early.

Now, a view into the way the writers of that doctrine viewed marriage. It was as a contract between parents. If history of the less ancient is insight into history of the ancient, it would seem that marriage customs have changed little (putting aside the forbidding of Polygyny) since ancient times.

"Betrothals [sponsalia] require seven full years in the contracting parties."

Kids don't fall in love and marry at 7, they are contracted for marriage by their parents, and the RCC did not allow it's members to contract for marriage until a child was 7. That is sensible also, since in times of old you probably didn't have an idea of who was going to "make it" in life (that would be SURVIVE) until a child reached about that age. You could probably introduce the two kids and see if they were going to be roughly compatible for one another as well.

All of this I have said before and been labeled a paedophile for my trouble and I hadn't even read the Catholic position. I had merely read the Bible and gleaned those rough patterns of behavior and principle and law from those readings. If you want some fun reading my time in hell for those statements, go here.

So where does this leave "Fundamentalist Christians?" Catholics can in their church, change doctrine. We can't. Reformed Persons rely on scripture alone as a source of all doctrine. We rely on history to clue us in on what is heresy since there is no new revelation, there can be no newly discovered doctrine.

So if you are a fundamentalist Bible Banging, "God's way or the Highway" Christian. Stop. Read that Bible. You'll find that the Catholic position, while sensible, is essentially "progressive" because the BIBLE, that big black thing you SAY you believe, doesn't even set THOSE limits. Paedophilia in fact is simply a secular legal concept and even THAT concept, despite what you may believe, does not forbid 54 on 13 year old sex. It just restricts it to the confines of marriage.

Polygynists and their apologists by the way, have always been around. You need only read Augustine to know that.

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Christoph said...

Having sex with pre-pubescent children is, and always has been, profoundly evil.

While I don't use the Bible as my guide because I am not a Christian, I think you're right in reading the Bible and also that your interpretation conforms to the culture of the time including the most likely facts surrounding the age of Mary when she was pregnant with Jesus. The Bible appears to allow for marriage and further to say this is right in the eyes of God, at puberty. Certainly the Catholic church does, as you've proven.

I think your Biblical case for that is strong and it amused me that the "fundamentalist" Christians would immediately ban you for expressing it. I read your post there and it was sensible.

It seems to me that whether one believes God created us or one believes nature did it, the only logical, non-arbitrary point we're meant to begin reproducing at would be when we can. Reproduce, that is.

My mind likes clear cut logical distinctions. Puberty is logical. 16 arbitrary.

(Likewise, I'm pro-life. Conception is logical. 2nd trimester, arbitrary.)

That isn't to say it's the ideal age for most people. (It wasn't for me and therefore I waited longer.) I'd say it's the youngest defensible age.

But you go further:

"Paedophilia in fact is simply a secular legal concept."

I don't know when the laws came into being or when paedophilia was defined. I doubt very much it's all that modern of a concept. However, I'd hope we can all agree that sex with anyone under the age of puberty is wrong so "paedophilia" is a valid concept. Jesus Christ was very adamant about about not harming children and that it would be better to drown in the depths of the sea.

I agree with him.

Paedophilia sure as hell harms children emotionally and physically: higher suicide rates, promiscuous behaviour following the abuse, STDs, physical pain and damage, etc.

Now I believe that criminalizing sexually motivated self-determining behaviour (as a result of their hormones and normal natural feelings including emotions and desire to form relationships) in adolescents from having sex — and people from having sex with said adolescents — is in practice difficult to enforce and probably gives mixed returns at best. I believe, if anything, young people should be encouraged to marry rather than engage in promiscuous unmarried sex, which is the alternative, realistically, for many of them.

I've talked to many adult women about sex and one of the questions I've asked — out of curiosity — is how old they were their first time. The ages vary, but certainly include immediately after entering puberty. This and every year after that is common. I find it hard to conclude this is a great evil nor that our laws against it are particularly effective. They seem to dissuade open long-term relationships and marriage, more than they do sex.


You may be going too far, sir.
All of the above said, I believe society has a legal right to set the age of consent and I respect it as you are obligated to, your religious beliefs to the contrary notwithstanding.

Granted, I don't think you're saying it's Biblically allowed to have sex with pre-pubescent children. However, your reference to paedophilia being simply a secular legal concept so openly stated, I would like you to clarify.

At what is the earliest age/developmental maturity you believe a person should either be able to marry and/or engage in sex?

My personal preference would be a statutory number as the age of consent, set by society as debated in its legislature(s), and then, if anything, an exemption allowing sex between people younger than this age who are legally married and have also reached the age of puberty.

von said...

All of the above said, I believe society has a legal right to set the age of consent and I respect it as you are obligated to, your religious beliefs to the contrary notwithstanding.So, vox populi eh? So if 'society' decides one may not marry until thirty, so be it?