ABSTRACT

The Council of Trent had established ruling on clerical celibacy that was to provide the foundation for stance of the modern church, and which constructed an image of Catholic priesthood that was visibly different to that of reformed churches. The consequence for the Catholic priesthood was that clerical celibacy was now inferred as an implicit protest against the new regime, and marriage as a symbol of political loyalty to the Revolution. The dogmatic definition of papal infallibility at the council created dissent, primarily among those German, Swiss and Austrian priests and congregations in which lie the roots of the 'Old Catholics'. The obligation to celibacy began to be relaxed in Old Catholic churches in the years that followed separation from Rome, although it was only in 1922 that the Dutch church lifted the requirement from its priests. The temporary continence of the Levitical priesthood was exceeded in perpetual continence of the Catholic clergy, which was demanded by their Eucharistic function.