THE YEAR 600 A.D. - ON CELIBACY
this time, during the Trullan synod, the law of celibacy was getting
stricter in the Eastern Church (the Eastern Church had married
decree states that priests, deacons and subdeacons, if married
before ordination, might continue in conjugal relationship. But
those who are single before ordination may not marry after
ordination. And a bishop married before his consecration must
separate from his wife. This was, in fact, the rule that governed
the Eastern Churches for a long time except that it was not
faithfully implemented until now.
this time, unlike at any other time in the history of the world,
Catholic Doctrine affected both civil legislation and social life.
The Bishops were on equal footing with the nobility and civil
officials. The Holy See possessed supreme power over doctrine and
discipline. But the Popes seldom intervened in civil affairs, though
the emperors had a voice in the ordination of priests, the
nomination of bishops and the assembling of councils. There was
great respect for the Church but too much meddling in the affairs of
the Church and this was a heavy cross that the Church would bear for
centuries to come.
Ireland, because of the great reverence for monastic life, the head
of monasteries, the abbots, were more revered than the local
bishops. In fact, most of the bishops were the abbots. And the
Catholic Church in Ireland was one huge monastery.