The Ninth Commandment

"You shall not covet your neighbor's wife.” The ninth commandment states that every one who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.

The Holy Bible: Book Of Revelation The Holy Bible: Book Of Revelation 
The Holy Bible: Book Of Revelation The Holy Bible: Book Of Revelation

“You shall not covet your neighbor's house; you shall not covet your neighbor's wife, or his manservant, or his maidservant, or his ox, or his ass, or anything that is your neighbor's.298 Every one who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.299

St. John distinguishes three kinds of covetousness or concupiscence: lust of the flesh, lust of the eyes, and pride of life. 300 ... The heart is the seat of moral personality: "Out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, fornication ...”304 Baptism confers on its recipient the grace of purification from all sins ...

"The Good News of Christ continually renews the life and culture of fallen man; it combats and removes the error and evil which flow from the ever-present attraction of sin. It never ceases to purify and elevate the morality of peoples. It takes the spiritual qualities and endowments of every age and nation, and with supernatural riches it causes them to blossom, as it were, from within; it fortifies, completes, and restores them in Christ.” "315

(298. Ex 20:17; 299. Mt 5:28; 304. Mt 15:19; 315. GS 58. 4.)

Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, Catechism of the Catholic Church, USSC Inc,. 1994, p. 601-5.

The 10 Commandments in the Old and New Testaments

The following chart identifies references to the 10 Commandments in both the Old and New Testaments.

Old Testament New Testament
First Commandment Exodus 20:3; Deuteronomy 5:7
Matthew 4:10; Luke 4:8; Revelation 14:7

Second Commandment Exodus 20:4-6; Deuteronomy 5:8-10
Acts 15:20; 1 Corinthians 6:9-10; Galatians 5:19-20; Ephesians 5:5

Third Commandment Exodus 20:7; Deuteronomy 5:11
Matthew 5:33-37; 1 Timothy 6:1; James 2:7

Fourth Commandment Exodus 20:8-11; Deuteronomy 5:12-15
Luke 4:16; 23:55-56; Acts 17:1-2; 18:4; Hebrews 4:9; 1 John 2:6

Fifth Commandment Exodus 20:12; Deuteronomy 5:16
Matthew 15:4-9; 19:19; Mark 10:19; Luke 18:20; Romans 1:29-30; Ephesians 6:1-3

Sixth Commandment Exodus 20:13; Deuteronomy 5: 17
Matthew 5:21-22; 19:18; Mark 10:19; Luke 18:20; Romans 1:29-30; 13:9

Seventh Commandment Exodus 20:14; Deuteronomy 5:18
Matthew 5:27-28; 19:18; Mark 10:11-12, 19; Luke 16:18; 18:20; Romans 7:2-3; 13:9

Eighth Commandment Exodus 20:15; Deuteronomy 5:19
Matthew 19:18; Mark 10:19; Luke 18:20; Romans 13:9; Ephesians 4:28; 1 Peter 4:15; Revelation 9:21

Ninth Commandment Exodus 20:16; Deuteronomy 5:20
Matthew 19:18; Mark 10:19; Luke 18:20; Acts 5:3-4; Romans 13:9; Ephesians 4:25

10th Commandment Exodus 20:17; Deuteronomy 5:21
Luke 12:15; Romans 1:29; 7:7; 13:9; 1 Corinthians 6:9-10; Galatians 5:19-21; Ephesians 5:3, 5

Web (January 3, 2014

Beatissimus Pater (Most Blessed Father), Urban VI"one of the most spiteful and vile-tempered of pontiffs"had three passions — drink, religion and revenge. The combination of three proved lethal to his foes, who met agonizing deaths in his torture chambers. Pope Alexander V also had three passions — food, servants and money. He was excessive in two and astounding in the other, namely servants. He kept more than four hundred of them — all female.

John Gratian, Archpriest of St John and godfather, advised Pope Benedict IX, that he was entitled to pursue his beautiful cousin and even took the trouble to find a suitable successor — himself.

His Holiness Sylvester was no saint. After divorcing his first wife he sired six children by the second. When she became jaded he dumped her and married a third from whom he had two daughters. In between he had another daughter by a concubine.”Childless by his fourth wife, when she died he kept four concubines — twelve was his life-long tally — and had at least one child by each.”

It was indeed an ungodly union. Rome, already steeped in a history of gluttony, lust and barbarism, was indeed a warm womb for the Prince of Darkness. The Beast repeatedly mounted the insatiable, wanton Vatican Whore and impregnated deep inside her the seed of Evil!

Women"Were warned not to enter St John Lateran if they prized their honour.”Our Blessed Father John XII was always on the prowl.

Sanctissimus dominus noster (Our Most Holy Lord) John XII became pope at sixteen. He invented sins"not known since the beginning of the world, including sleeping with his mother.”He"even toasted the Devil.”

"God likes to fool us: Catholics are forbidden to doubt"The legitimacy of papal elections"— in which fallible mortals choose an infallible Pope. The copious historical evidence that the chain of Apostolic succession was broken more than once during the Middle Ages is just one of those tricks, like fossil evidence of evolution, that God sometimes uses to tempt the evil ones—the rational—in revealing themselves.”

The Globe and Mail
July 6, 1998 (Spider Robinson, The Crazy Years)

McCabe, Rationalists Encyclopaedia
"The Popes at (1309-77) Avignon

Historians who repeat the Catholic claim that the thirteenth century is the greatest in history fail to explain why it closed with and was followed by a long period of degradation of the Papacy and ruin of the city of Rome. Boniface VIII (1294-1303), one of the most depraved and sceptical of the Popes , was soon followed by Clement V, who secured the tiara by a corrupt deal with Philip of France and was obliged to transfer his Court to that country. In order to evade paying the price he had promised — public exposure of the vices of Boniface VIII and of the Knights Templars — he fled to Avignon. The principality of Avignon had until that time belonged to the Queen of Naples, but the Pope bought it from her for the ridiculous sum of 40,000 — it contained several towns besides the rich city of Avignon — and, which was the real price, a promise of absolution for her notorious crimes and vices. The sojourn of the Popes in the city for more than sixty years is called by the older Catholic historians"The Babylonian Captivity," though it was voluntary, and they admit that it was one of the very corrupt periods of Papal history. The famous Italian scholar Petrarch, one of the most respected men of the age, then lived in exile near Avignon, and he has left us a shuddering indictment of its vices, natural and unnatural, in his Latin Letters Without a Title. This is one of the hundreds of documents of great interest which tell the true character of the Middle Ages that have never been translated into English. Few pictures in the history of morals are more repellent. Even when fairly respectable Popes were on the throne the Papal Court remained sordid. See also Les Papes d'vignon (1914), by O. Mollat (Catholic), and La prostitution du XIII au XVII siècle (1908), by Dr. L. Le Pileur (who reproduces amazing documents from the city archives). It is a Catholic fable that the prayers of St. Catherine of Siena drew the Popes back to Italy. Rome, stung by the progress and prosperity of North Italy while it remained on the level of a village, threatened again to reject their authority if they did not return.”

Dr. Jacob McCabe, Rationalists Encyclopaedia

A Treasury of Royal Scandals: The Shocking True Stories History's Wickedest, Weirdest, Most Wanton Kings, Queens, Tsars, Popes, and Emperor
A Treasury of Royal Scandals: The Shocking True Stories History's Wickedest, Weirdest, Most Wanton Kings, Queens, Tsars, Popes, and Emperors
Michael Farquhar, Penguin Books; (10) edition (May 1, 2001)

Part IX - Death Be Not Dignified
“A Lot Off The Top"

Marie Antoinette's enduring reputation for decadent extravagance is not entirely unearned. Even if she never actually dismissed reports of widespread bread shortages with the infamous line," Let them eat cake," her lavish lifestyle nevertheless flew smack in the face of the abject poverty and hunger that surrounded her. The puffed and powdered queen blithely ignored the misery, immersing herself instead in a cycle of elaborate ceremony, obsessive spending, and absurd fashion.

"The queen is a pretty woman," her brother, the Austrian emperor Joseph II, wrote during a visit to France in 1777," but she is empty-headed, unable as yet to find her advantage, and wastes her days running from dissipation to dissipation, some of which are perfectly allowable but nonetheless dangerous because they prevent her from having the thoughts she needs so badly.”

Maybe it was the big hair. Piles and piles of it. The enormous coiffures the queen so fancied—hours spent in their construction, reaching several feet high, and elaborately decorated with fruits, feathers, jewels, and figurines— seemed to sum up her entire vacuous existence. The head that carried this frivolous mass would eventually be lopped off amid the screeches of revolutionary madness, but it was the degrading existence Marie Antoinette was forced to endure just prior to her public execution that offered the starkest contrast to her former life as France's over-pampered queen.

Whereas she once amused herself amid the glitter and luxury of Versailles with hundreds of fawning nobles eagerly competing to attend to her every whim, she was now held in a blackened prison cell that dripped with moisture and was kept frigid in the absence of a fireplace. The rich gowns and adornments were all gone, replaced by a single frayed black dress. Deprived of her children, or even the comfort of a single candle at night, the former queen—now known as prisoner number 280—suffered illness and severe anxiety all alone on a narrow, filthy cot.

She was taken from her cell to appear before the Revolutionary Tribunal, which was an utter travesty. Absurd accusations of murder, treason, and even incest with her own son were hurled at"The Austrian Bitch," as she was called, without any consideration for the truth. It was here, however, that the once flighty and spoiled queen proved her mettle. She addressed the court with dignity and honor, seeming to transcend the deadly spectacle that engulfed her.

"One saw sadness in the faces of the honest spectators," an eyewitness of the trial recorded," and madness in the eyes of the crowd of men and women placed in the room by design—madness which, more than once, gave way to emotions of pity and admiration. The accusers and judges did not succeed in hiding their anger, or the involuntary confusion they felt at the Queen's noble firmness.”

The preordained verdict was death—the same fate her husband Louis XVI had met nine months earlier.1 The ex-queen was brought back to her miserable cell to await the guillotine. On the appointed day, October 16, 1793, she sent farewells to her children and in her prayer book wrote," My God have pity on me! My eyes have no more tears to shed for you, my poor children. Adieu. Adieu!"

She then had to prepare herself for the execution scheduled for midday. When she was queen, Marie Antoinette always had a giddy coterie on hand as she picked out the day's wardrobe and took her luxurious bath behind a screen for modesty. Now there was only one woman assigned to her. Bleeding heavily, she asked the maid to stand in front of her while she undressed and changed her soiled undergarments.”The [guard] came up to us at once," the woman recalled," and, standing by the headrest, watched her change. She put her fichu up to cover her shoulders, and with great sweetness said to the young man, 'In the name of decency, monsieur, let me change my linen in private.'"The guard, claiming he had orders to watch the prisoner's every movement, refused to look away, so the former queen was forced to take off her stained petticoat with as much modesty as she could manage and stuff it into a chink in the wall.

Soon it was time to go. The executioner, who happened to be the son of the man who had beheaded Louis XVI, came in to tie up her hands and cut off her hair. She had hoped that she would be carried to the execution site in a coach, as her husband had been, but saw when she left the prison that a cart awaited her—a cart used to carry common criminals to their deaths. Feeling her bowels loosen, the former queen of France had to request that her hands be unbound so she could relieve herself against the prison wall.

Riding backwards on the cart to the Place de la Revolution, she stoically endured the jeers of the inflamed crowds that lined the route. It was a festive occasion all around. In the square where the guillotine stood, people were selling fruits and wine to the excited onlookers who closed in around the scaffold to watch"The Widow Capet"lose her head.

In the middle of this horrific circus, Marie Antoinette—looking old well beyond her years, with her white hair shorn—remained calm and dignified. Accidentally stepping on the executioner's foot as she ascended the scaffold, she apologized gently.”Pardon, monsieur. I did not mean to do it.”She was then tied down on the beheading machine and the wooden collar was snapped around her neck. In an instant the head was severed and held aloft for all to see. The crowd roared its approval.

Editorial Reviews
From Publishers Weekly

In another royal exposé, Farquhar, a writer at the Washington Post, duplicates some of the ground covered in Karl Shaw's Royal Babylon, such as Peter the Great's delight in administering torture (he had his son lashed to death) and the way Britain's Queen Mary cajoled her subjects into giving her their household treasures ("I am caressing it with my eyes," she would coyly coo). Written in a provocative tabloid style (with headings like"We Are Not Abused. We Are Abusive," “A Son Should Love His Mother, But...”and"All the Holiness Money Can Buy"), Farquhar publicly washes the dirty laundry of not only European royalty, but also of Roman emperors and popes. Murderers and torturers who slept with their siblings (and other relatives), the emperors of Rome excelled at corruption. The maniacal pedophile Tiberius Caesar (A.D. 14-37) left the corpses of his many victims to rot on the Gemonian Steps, which descended from the Capitol to the Forum, or alternatively enjoyed watching them being thrown from a cliff (“A contingent of soldiers was stationed below to whack them with oars and boat hooks just in case the fall failed to do the trick"). Many popes were no better. Not content with just rooting out Christian heretics by launching a bloody crusade against the Cathars in southern France, Innocent III (1160-1216) declared himself ruler of the world. He sacked Constantinople and massacred every Muslim he could find. Like Royal Babylon, this gossipy string of anecdotes is a popularized rather than an authoritative history and perfect for travel reading.

McCabe, Rationalists Encyclopaedia

The Popes of the Renaissance

"Against the Catholic claim that the Church promoted the recovery of Europe, history records, not only that the causes of it were purely secular and that the new civilization flagrantly defied the Christian code of conduct, but that the Papacy was an idle spectator of the recovery; and when at a late hour it began to co-operate by patronizing art and letters, the Papal Court, most of the Popes, and the majority of the Italian bishops, adopted the characteristic vices of the age. In the earlier part of the period the Popes lived in the luxurious indolence of the"Babylonian Captivity"At Avignon (1309-77) , in a palace and city which Petrarch, who lived near, describes as a sink of iniquity. From this they passed into the futile days of the Great Schism (1378-1414), when their greed excited the disgust of Christendom. When the Emperor put an end to this, and bade them reform, the new Popes disregarded the injunction; but about 1450 they began on a modest scale the secular rehabilitation of Rome — so modest, indeed, that, in 1450, cattle still browsed in the streets, and as late as 1484 the Vatican Library, which the Catholic writer who was permitted to deal with this phase in the Cambridge Modern History (Vol.1) calls"The most important library in the West in the fifteenth century," had only 2,000 manuscripts. The Alexandrian and Cordovan libraries had had half a million. Then every source of tainted wealth (sale of offices and indulgences, dispensations, etc.) was exploited, and the more powerful of the Roman families, who fought like brigands, dominated (as Cardinals or Popes) and corrupted the Papal Court. In the pagan imperial history of Rome, which brings a blush to the cheek of the preacher, twenty-one out of twenty-nine Emperors were good men, and these ruled for 245 years, while the eight disreputable Emperors held the throne for only seventy-five years. But, in the 250 years of Papal history, ten out of twenty-four Popes (omitting Pontiffs who lasted only a few months) were or had been notoriously men of immoral life, and these ruled for 100 years: three only, who ruled for fifteen years, attempted to reform the Church; all except these three permitted an extraordinary corruption in the Papal Court; and even the three reformers did not suppress the flagrant simony, graft, and judicial corruption. Nicholas V (1447-55), whom Pastor, admitting that"The reforming zeal of his early days cooled down," praises as the restorer of culture, included in his patronage the most obscene writers of the age. Calixtus III (1455-8) introduced the Borgia family and, blind to their vices, raised them to the highest offices. Pius II (1458-64), a defiant apologist for his vices in his youth, made no effort to check the growing licence. Paul II (1464-71) was"Wholly given over to sensual pleasure" (Bishop Creighton). Sixtus IV (1471-84), a friar, promoted his grossly immoral friar — nephews of the Rovere family, permitted his Court to be thoroughly debauched, and connived at the murder of a Medici prince in church during solemn mass. The Papacy was now so rich that the Colonna, Borgia, Orsini, and Rovere families fought for it by colossal bribery and murder, and in the impasse they had to let the tiara go to Innocent VIII (1484-92), whose bastard children moved in the highest society in the city and the Vatican. Incredible pictures of clerical corruption are to be found even in Pastor's History of the Popes, while some of the scenes in the Vatican itself, described in the private diary of the head of the Court, Burchard , were so vicious that the publisher struck even a discreet version of them out of the present writer's historical novel The Pope's Favourite (1917). The next thirty years were covered by the pontificates of Alexander VI, Julius II, Leo X — two sodomists and one satyr and murderer — and form a unique chapter in the history of religion. [See notice of each.] Clement VII (1523-34), a bastard of the Medici House, and Paul III (1534-49), father of four well-known children (Pastor), next sustained the gaiety of the Court. This is the period of the Reformation, which we are now asked to believe had little or nothing to do with the corruption of the Church. Rome had been terribly ravaged and impoverished by a sack of the city (1527) and massacre of the Romans, by the Catholic Emperor, which threw into the shade the work of Goths and Vandals; but the gaiety of the prelates ran on, with fifteen years of partial reform [see Counter-Reformation], for another century and a quarter. Julius III (1550-5) was grosser than Leo X, and Pastor can plead only that it is not proved that a sordid youth whom he favoured was either his son or his mignon. Under Pius IV (1559-65)"The evil elements immediately awakened once more into activity" (Pastor) after one of the three short spells of reform (by a Pope, Paul IV, who loved strong wine and good cheer and was a scandalous nepotist), and after another short spell of reform, Gregory XIII (1572-85), notorious for his earlier looseness, let the Court and city return to such licence that one courtesan, chiefly ministering to prelates, made a fortune of 150,000 (Rodocanachi, Courtisanes et buffons, 1894). A few colourless Popes followed the third and last short spasm of reform, and this extraordinary series of Holy Fathers closed with the scandalous Pontificates of Urban VIII and Innocent X.”
Web (October 22, 2013)

BBC News

Paedophile cases haunt the church

"Following these and other allegations made during the 1990s, the Christian Brothers, the Oblates of Mary Immaculate and the Sisters of Mercy have issued public apologies for abuse inflicted over the years in their institutions.

The Christian Brothers have also been implicated in sex scandals in Canada. More than 300 former pupils at Mount Cashel orphanage, Newfoundland, have alleged the lay brothers abused them.

The scandal forced the order to sell property and assets to pay legal and compensation bills"

BBC, Wednesday, 19 July, 2000

BBC News

“A Roman Catholic priest has been jailed for seven years for sexually abusing boys at an orphanage.

The offences took place at the Father Hudson Society's home in Warwickshire, between 1957 and 1965. Some of the boys were as young as six.

Father Eric Taylor, 78, was convicted at Warwick Crown Court on 16 charges of indecent assault and two more serious charges on boys at the Father Hudson's home in Coleshill, Warwickshire....

Another told the BBC about a reign of terror at the home, which he called Taylor's"harem.”

However, some were not around to see Taylor sent down, having committed suicide because they could not live with what the priest had done to them.”

BBC, Thursday, April 30, 1998

Catholic sex abuse scandal fallout spreads in Europe
Friday, 23 April 2010
VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - Fallout from the Catholic child sex abuse scandal spread across Europe on Thursday as the Vatican retired an Irish bishop, a German offered to step down and prelates in England and Wales apologised for the "terrible crimes"of priests.

The Vatican said Pope Benedict, under criticism from victims for not doing enough about past cases of abuse by priests now being revealed, had accepted the resignation of Bishop James Moriarty, the third Irish bishop to leave over the scandal.

In Germany, Walter Mixa, who is bishop for Augsburg and for the German armed forces, offered to resign late on Wednesday after admitting he physically abused children decades ago.

Bishops in England and Wales issued an apology for the scandal and urged Catholics there to pray for the Church.

Moriarty said in a statement that he was auxiliary bishop of Dublin from 1991 to 2002, before child protection policies were implemented.

"I accept that from the time I became an auxiliary bishop, I should have challenged the prevailing culture," he said. "I apologise to all survivors and their families.”

Hundreds of cases of sexual and physical abuse of youths in recent decades by priests have come to light in Europe and the United States in the last month as disclosures encourage long-silent victims to finally go public with their complaints.


Moriarty was the second of four Irish bishops retired by the Vatican after being named in an official report last year as Church leaders who hid predator priests. Two others have offered their resignations but Rome has not yet decided their cases.

Bishop John Magee, a former personal secretary to the past three popes, had his resignation letter accepted last month after he was accused in a separate Church report of mishandling sex abuse cases in his diocese of Cloyne.

There have been growing calls for the head of the Irish Church, Cardinal Sean Brady, to quit over his role in covering up a sexual abuse case in 1975. He has not offered to resign.

Mixa, an outspoken conservative bishop, was accused of slapping and hitting children while he was a parish priest in a small town in the pope's native Bavaria the 1970's and 1980s.

He was not accused of sexual abuse, but his admission of slapping children after weeks of denials prompted calls for him to quit. Mixa also faces allegations of financial misconduct.

"With his resignation, he wants to avert further damage to the Church and to allow a new start," the Augsburg diocese said in a statement. The Vatican has not yet responded.

Catholic bishops in England and Wales said child abuse in the Church had received so much attention recently that they wanted to address the issue "directly and unambiguously.”

"We express our heartfelt apology and deep sorrow to those who have suffered abuse, those who have felt ignored, disbelieved or betrayed," they said in a statement.

The bishops said Catholics belonged to a single Church worldwide, so"These terrible crimes, and the inadequate response by some church leaders, grieve us all.”


The Church in England and Wales had a wave of abuse scandals about 20 years ago and reforms have since been introduced.

The scandal haunting the Catholic Church worldwide looks set to stay in the headlines for weeks to come.

In Germany, government-sponsored"round table talks"Will open in Berlin on Friday to investigate child abuse in Catholic, Protestant and secular schools. A Catholic Church hotline for abuse victims there has been inundated with calls.

An inquiry run by a Protestant politician in the Netherlands is probing abuse cases in Catholics schools there. Rotterdam Bishop Adrianus van Luyn, head of the Dutch bishops' conference, has come under fire after admitting he knew of abuse cases in his Salesian order back in the late 1970's.

A retired senior Vatican prelate, Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos, has caused another controversy by saying a recently published letter he wrote in 2001 congratulating a French bishop for hiding a predator priest was written with the blessing of the late Pope John Paul.

(Writing by Tom Heneghan, Editing by Angus MacSwan)

Reuters, Friday, 23 April 2010

Helen Ellerbe, The Dark Side of Christian History

"Sex as an act that empowers the individual threatens a religion intent upon controlling society.”

Chapter Three
Deciding upon Doctrine: Sex, Free Will, Reincarnation and the Use of Force
300 - 500 C.E.

"The Church formulated its doctrine regarding sex, free will and reincarnation in response to early heretics. In each case, it chose ideological positions which best justified Church control over the individual and over society. The Church also developed a doctrine which justified its use of force in order to compel obedience. It was not long before the Church needed that doctrine to defend its violent suppression of heresy.

'Heresy' comes from the Greek hairesis meaning 'choice.'1 In the early centuries there was much to choose from within Christianity—and consequently, many heresies. Gnostics were joined by Marcionites, Montanists, Arians, Sabellians, Nestorians, Monophysites, the Copts in Egypt, the Jacobites in Syria, and the Armenian Orthodox Church in disagreeing with the Catholic Church. The heresies surrounding Pelagius, Origen, and the Donatists led to particularly significant new doctrine. The Mannichaean heresy, while not leading to specific doctrine, set a precedent for the Church's denial of unpopular aspects of its own ideology.

The Pelagian controversy brought about Church doctrine regarding human free will and sexuality. Pelagius, an Irish monk who arrived in Rome at the beginning of the fifth century, believed that a person had freedom of will and responsibility for his or her actions. He believed that a person's own efforts play a part in determining whether or not he or she will be saved. In Pelagius's eyes, reliance upon redemption by Christ should be accompanied by individual responsibility and efforts to do good.2 In granting humans responsibility for their acts, the Creator gave them freedom. As one historian writes:

Pelagius fought for the immeasurably precious good of man's freedom. That freedom cannot be surrendered without loss of human dignity... Unless man's freedom to make his own decisions is recognized, he is reduced to a mere marionette. According to Pelagius, the Creator conferred moral authority upon man, and to detract from that authority is to cast doubt upon man's likeness to God.3

Pelagius' most vehement opposition came from St. Augustine, the celebrated Doctor of the Church and Bishop of Hippo. Salvation, as Augustine saw it, is entirely in God's hands; there is nothing an individual can do. God has chosen but a few people to whom He will give bliss and salvation. It is for these few that Christ came into the world. All others are damned for all eternity. In Augustine's eyes, it is only God's grace and not any action or willingness on the part of the individual that leads to salvation.

Augustine believed that our freedom of will to choose good over evil was lost with the sin of Adam. Adam's sin, that, in Augustine's words, is in the 'nature of the semen from which we were propagated,' brought suffering and death into the world, took away our free will, and left us with an inherently evil nature.4 To sin is now inevitable. Should we occasionally do good, it is only because of irresistible grace. 'When, therefore, man lives according to man, not according to God, he is like the devil,' Augustine wrote.5
An individual, according to Augustine, has little power to influence his or her predetermined fate and is entirely dependent upon God for salvation. Human sexuality, to Augustine, clearly demonstrates a human inability to choose good over evil. Augustine based this belief upon his own experience. Having himself led a promiscuous life in his youth during which he fathered and then abandoned an illegitimate child, he thought that sex was intrinsically evil. He complained of sexual desire:

Who can control this when its appetite is aroused? No one! In the very movement of this appetite, then, it has no 'mode' that responds to the decisions of the will... Yet what he wishes he cannot accomplish... In the very movement of the appetite, it has no mode corresponding to the decision of the will.6

According to Augustine, human will is powerless either to indulge sexual desire or to suppress it:

But even those who delight in this pleasure are not moved to it at their own will, whether they confine themselves to lawful or transgress to unlawful pleasures; but sometimes this lust importunes them in spite of themselves, and sometimes fails them when they desire to feel it, so that though lust rages in the mind, it stirs not in the body. Thus, strangely enough, this emotion not only fails to obey the legitimate desire to beget offspring, but also refuses to serve lascivious lust; and though it often opposes its whole combined energy to the soul that resists it, sometimes also it is divided against itself, and while it moves the soul, leaves the body unmoved.7

'This diabolical excitement of the genitals,' as Augustine referred to sex, is evidence of Adam's original sin which is now transmitted 'from The Mother's womb,' tainting all human beings with sin, and leaving them incapable of choosing good over evil or determining their own destiny.8

Augustine's views regarding sexuality differed sharply from pre-Christian views which often considered sex to be an integral part of the sacredness of life. His views did, however, represent those of many Christians. With the exception of minor heretical groups such as the Gnostic Carpocratians who exalted sex 'as a bond between all created things,'9 nearly all Christians thought that sex should be avoided except for purposes of procreation. St. Jerome warns, 'Regard everything as poison which bears within it the seed of sensual pleasure.'10 In her book Adam, Eve and the Serpent, Elaine Pagels writes:

Clement (of Alexandria) excludes oral and anal intercourse, and intercourse with a menstruating, pregnant, barren, or menopausal wife and for that matter, with one's wife 'in the morning', 'in the daytime', or 'fter dinner'. Clement warns, indeed, that 'not even at night, although in darkness, is it fitting to carry on immodestly or indecently, but with modesty, so that whatever happens, happens in the light of reason...' for even that union 'which is legitimate is still dangerous, except in so far as it is engaged in procreation of children.'11

Sex as an act that empowers the individual threatens a religion intent upon controlling society. As Clement said, 'lust is not easy to restrain, being devoid of fear...'12

Denying human free will and condemning sexual pleasure made it easier to control and contain people. Augustine wrote: has been naturally so created that it is advantageous for him to be submissive, but disastrous for him to follow his own will, and not the will of his creator...13

He believed that Adam's 'sin was a despising of the authority of God... it was just that condemnation followed...'14 Augustine wrote to the bishop of Rome in 416, warning him that Pelagian ideas undermined the basis of episcopal authority and that appeasing the Pelagians would threaten the Catholic Church's new-found power.15 Augustine's friend, the African bishop Alypius, brought 80 Numidian stallions to the imperial court as bribes to persuade the Church to side with Augustine against Pelagius. Augustine won. In April of 418 the pope excommunicated Pelagius. Ever since, the Catholic Church has officially embraced the doctrine of hereditary transmission of original sin.16"

Helen Ellerbe, The Dark Side of Christian History
Morningstar Books (July 1, 1995) pp. 35-9

Note: 1. Evrett Ferguson, Michael P. McHugh & Frederick W. Norris, Encyclopedia of Early Christianity (New York & London: Garland Publishing, 1990) 420.
2. Walter Nigg, The Heretics: Heresy Through the Ages (New York: Dorset Press, 1962) 138.
3. Ibid., 138.
4. Elaine Pagels, Adam, Eve and the Serpent (New York: Random House, 1988) 107.
5. Saint Augustine, The City of God, Book XIV, Ch.4, translated by Marcus Dods (New York: The Modern Library, 1950) 445.
6. Pagels, Adam, Eve and the Serpent, 141.
7. Augustine, The City of God, Book XIV, Ch. 16, 465.
8. Pagels, Adam, Eve and the Serpent, 131-134.
9. Nigg, The Heretics, 37.
10. Barbara Walker, The Wman's Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets (San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1983) 910.
11. Pagels, Adam, Eve and the Serpent, 28.
12. Ibid., 45.
13. Ibid., 107.
14. Augustine, The City of God, Book XIV, Ch. 15, 462.
15. Pagels, Adam, Eve and the Serpent, 125.
16. Ibid., 129-130, 134.


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