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By this time, during the Trullan synod, the law of celibacy was getting stricter in the Eastern Church (the Eastern Church had married priests.)

The 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. 

At 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. 

In 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. 





(updated 07-30-02)


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