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VI. Of Monastic Vows (Disputation XIII)

Response to Article XXVII

Although many and various matters have been introduced in this article by the suggestion of certain persons (Another text, Cod. Pflug., reads "Preachers"), nevertheless, when all are taken into consideration with mature thought, since monastic vows have their foundation in the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, and most holy men, renowned and admirable by miracles, have lived in these religious orders with many thousand thousands, and for so many centuries their ordinances and rules of living have been received and approved throughout the entire Christian world by the Catholic Church, it is in no way to be tolerated that vows are licentiously broken without any fear of God.

For, in the Old Testament, God approved the vows of the Nazarenes, Num 6:2 ff., and the vows of the Rechabites, who neither drank wine or ate grapes, Jer. 36:6, 19; while he strictly requires that the vow once made be paid, Deut. 23:21 f.; "It is ruin to a man after vows to retract," Prov. 20:25; "The vows of the just are acceptable," Prov. 15:8.

God also teaches specifically through the prophet that monastic vows please him. For in Isa. 56:4, 5 it is read as follows: "Thus saith the Lord unto the eunuchs that keep my Sabbath, and choose the things that please me and take hold of my covenant, Even unto them will I give in mine house and within my walls a place and a name better than that of sons and of daughters. I will give them an everlasting name that shall not be cut off." But to what eunuchs does God make these promises? To those, undoubtedly, whom Christ praises, "which have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven's sake," Matt. 19:12; to those, undoubtedly, who, denying their own, come after Christ and deny themselves and follow him, Luke 9:23, so that they are governed no longer by their own will, but by that of their rule and superior.

In like manner, according to the testimony of the apostle, those virgins do better who, contemning the world and spurning its enticements, vow and maintain virginity in monasteries, than those who place their necks beneath the matrimonial burden. For thus St. Paul says, 1 Cor. 7:28: "He that giveth her in marriage doeth well; but he that giveth her not in marriage doeth better." Also, concerning a widow, he continues: "She is happier if she so abide, after my judgment."

No one is ignorant of the holiness of the hermit Paul, of Basil, Anthony, Benedict, Bernard, Dominic, Franciscus, Wiliam, Augustine, Clara, Bridget, and similar hermits, who indeed despised the entire realm of the world and all the splendor of the age on account of love to our Lord Jesus Christ.

Moreover, the heresy of the Lampetians was condemned in most ancient times, which the heretic Jovinian attempted in vain to revive at Rome. Therefore, all things must be rejected which in this article have been produced against monasticism - viz. that monasteries succeeded vows.

Of the nunneries it is sufficiently ascertained that, though pertaining to the weaker sex, how in most cloisters the holy nuns persevered far more constantly to vows once uttered, even under these princes and cities, than the majority of monks; even to this day it has been impossible to move them from their holy purpose by any prayers, blandishments, threats, terrors, difficulties or distresses.

Wherefore, those matters are not to be admitted which are interpreted unfavorably, since it has been expressly declared in the Holy Scriptures that the monastic life, when kept with proper observance, as may by the grace of God be rendered by any monks, merits eternal life; and indeed Christ has promised to them a much more bountiful reward, saying: "Every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children or lands, for my name's sake, shall receive an hundred-fold, and shall inherit everlasting life," Matt. 19:29.

That monasteries, as they show, were formerly literary schools, is not denied; nevertheless, there is no ignorance of the fact that these were at first schools of virtues and discipline, to which literature was afterwards added.

But since no one putting his hand to the plough and looking back is fit for the kingdom of heaven, Luke 9:62, all marriages and breaking of vows by monks and nuns should be regarded as condemned, according to the tenor not only of the Holy Scriptures, but also of the laws and canons, "having damnation, because they have cast off their first faith," as St. Paul says, 1 Tim. 5:12. Moreover, that vows are not contrary to the ordinance of God as been declared with reference to the second article of the alleged abuses.

That they attempt to defend themselves by dispensations of the Pope is of no effect. For although the Pope has perhaps made a dispensation for the king of Aragon, who, we read, returned to the monastery after having had offspring, or for any other prince on account of the peace of the entire kingdom or province, to prevent the exposure of the entire kingdom or province to wars, carnage, pillage, debauchery, conflagrations, murders, - nevertheless, in private persons who abandon vows in apostasy such grounds for dispensations cannot be urged.

For the assumption is repelled that the vow concerns a matter that is impossible. For continence, which so many thousands of men and virgins have maintained, is not impossible. For although the wise man says ( Wisd. 8:21 ): "I knew that I could not otherwise be continent, unless God gave it me," nevertheless Christ promised to give it. "Seek," he says, "and ye shall find" Luke 11:9; Matt 18:28; and St. Paul says: "God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able, but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it," 1 Cor. 10:13.

They are also poor defenders of their cause when they admit that the violation of a vow is irreprehensible, and it must be declared that by law such marriages are censured and should be dissolved, C. Ut. Continentiae, xxvii. Q. 1, as also by the ancient statutes of emperors. But when they allege in their favor C. Nuptiarum, They accomplish nothing, for it speaks of a simple not of a religious vow, which the Church observes also to this day. The marriages of monks, nuns, or priests, have therefore never been ratified.

Futile also is their statement that a votive life is an invention of men, for it has been founded upon the Holy Scriptures, inspired into the most holy fathers by the Holy Ghost.

Nor does it deny honor to Christ, since monks observe all things for Christ's sake and imitate Christ. False, therefore, is the judgement whereby they condemn monastic service as godless, whereas it is most Christian. For the monks have not fallen from God's grace, as the Jews of whom St. Paul speaks, Gal. 5:4, when they still sought justification by the law of Moses; but the monks endeavor to live more nearly to the Gospel, that they may merit eternal life. Therefore, the allegations here made against monasticism are impious.

Moreover, the malicious charge that is still further added, that those in religious orders claim to be in a state of perfection, has never been heard of by them; for those in these orders claim not for themselves a state of perfection, but only a state in which to acquire perfection - because their regulations are instruments of perfection, and not perfection itself. In this manner Gerson must be received, who does not deny that religious orders are states wherein to acquire perfection as he declares in his treatises, "Against the Proprietors of the Rule of St. Augustine", "Of Evangelical Counsels", "Of Perfection of Heart", and in other places.

For this reason the princes and cities should be admonished to strive rather for the reformation of the monasteries by their legitimate superiors than for their subversion - rather for the godly improvement of the monks than that they be abolished; as their most religious ancestors, most Christian princes, have done.

But if they will not believe holy and most religious fathers defending monastic vows, let them hear at least His Imperial Highness, the Emperor Justinian, in "Authentica," De Monachis, Coll. ii.


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Concord

Title_Page
Editors_Introduction
Preface_to_the_Christian_Book_of_Concord
The_Three_Ecumenical_Creeds
The_Apostles_Creed
The_Nicene_Creed
The_Athanasian_Creed
The_Augsburg_Confession
Title_Page
Preface_to_the_Emperor_Charles_V
Article_I_Of_God
Article_II_Of_Original_Sin
Article_III_Of_The_Son_of_God
Article_IV_Of_Justification
Article_V_Of_The_Ministry
Article_VI_Of_New_Obedience
Article_VII_Of_the_Church
Article_VIII_What_the_Church_Is
Article_IX_Of_Baptism
Article_X_Of_The_Lords_Supper
Article_XI_Of_Confession
Article_XII_Of_Repentance
Article_XIII_Of_The_Use_of_the_Sacraments
Article_XIV_Of_Ecclesiastical_Order
Article_XV_Of_Ecclesiastical_Usages
Article_XVI_Of_Civil_Affairs
Article_XVII_Of_Christs_Return_to_Judgment
Article_XVIII_Of_Free_Will
Article_XIX_Of_the_Cause_of_Sin
Article_XX_Of_Good_Works
Article_XXI_Of_the_Worship_of_the_Saints
ARTICLES_IN_WHICH_ARE_REVIEWED_THE_ABUSES_WHICH_HAVE_BEEN_CORRECTED
Article_XXII_Of_Both_Kinds_in_the_Sacrament
Article_XXIII_Of_the_Marriage_of_Priests
Article_XXIV_Of_the_Mass
Article_XXV_Of_Confession
Article_XXVI_Of_the_Distinction_of_Meats
Article_XXVII_Of_Monastic_Vows
Article_XXVIII_Of_Ecclesiastical_Power
Conclusion
The_Apology_of_the_Augsburg_Confession
Title_Page_and_Table_Of_Contents
Introduction
On_Article_I_Of_God
On_Article_II_Of_Original_Sin
On_Article_III_Of_Christ
On_Articles_IV_V_VI_XX_Of_Justification
On_Articles_IV_V_VI_XX_Of_Justification_Part_1
What_is_Justifying_Faith
That_Faith_in_Christ_Justifies
That_We_Obtain_Remission_of_Sins_by_Faith_Alone_in_Christ
On_Love_and_the_Fulfilling_of_the_Law
On_Love_and_the_Fulfilling_of_the_Law
Reply_to_the_Arguments_of_the_Adversaries
Section_1_of_4
Section_2_of_4
Section_3_of_4
Section_4_of_4
On_Articles_VII_and_VIII_Of_the_Church
On_Article_IX_Of_Baptism
On_Article_X_Of_the_Holy_Supper
On_Article_XI_Of_Confession
On_Article_XIIa_Of_Repentance
Section_1_of_2
Section_2_of_2
On_Article_XIIb_Of_Confession_and_Satisfaction
Section_1_of_2
Section_2_of_2
On_Article_XIII_Of_the_Number_and_Use_of_the_Sacraments
On_Article_XIV_Of_Ecclesiastical_Order
On_Article_XV_Of_Human_Traditions_in_the_Church
On_Article_XVI_Of_Political_Order
On_Article_XVII_Of_Christs_Return_to_Judgment
On_Article_XVIII_Of_Free_Will
On_Article_XIX_Of_the_Cause_of_Sin
On_Article_XX_Of_Good_Works
On_Article_XXI_Of_the_Invocation_of_Saints
On_Article_XXII_Of_Both_Kinds_In_the_Lords_Supper
On_Article_XXIII_Of_the_Marriage_of_Priests
On_Article_XXIV_Of_the_Mass
On_Article_XXIV_Of_the_Mass_of_the_Augustana_Part_1
What_a_Sacrifice_Is
What_the_Fathers_Thought_concerning_Sacrifice
Of_the_Use_of_the_Sacrament_and_of_Sacrifice
Of_the_Term_Mass
Of_the_Mass_for_the_Dead
On_Article_XXVII_Of_Monastic_Vows
Section_1_of_2
Section_2_of_2
On_Article_XXVIII_Of_Ecclesiastical_Power
End
The_Smalcald_Articles
Title_Page_and_Table_Of_Contents
Preface_of_Dr_Martin_Luther
The_First_Part
The_Second_Part
Article_I_The_Chief_Article
Article_II_Of_the_Mass
Of_the_Mass_Part_1
Of_the_Invocation_of_Saints
Article_III_Of_Chapters_and_Cloisters
Article_IV_Of_the_Papacy
The_Third_Part
Article_I_Of_Sin
Article_II_Of_the_Law
Article_III_Repentance
Introduction
Of_the_False_Repentance_of_the_Papists
Article_IV_Of_the_Gospel
Article_V_Of_Baptism
Article_VI_Of_the_Sacrament_of_the_Altar
Article_VII_Of_the_Keys
Article_VIII_Of_Confession
Article_IX_Excommunication
Article_X_Of_Ordination_and_the_Call
Article_XI_Of_the_Marriage_of_Priests
Article_XII_Of_the_Church
Article_XIII_How_One_is_Justified_before_God_and_of_Good_Works
Article_XIV_Of_Monastic_Vows
Article_XV_Of_Human_Traditions
Subscribers
A_Treatise_on_the_Power_and_Primacy_of_the_Pope
Title_Page
Part_1
Of_the_Power_and_Jurisdiction_of_Bishops
DOCTORS_AND_PREACHERS_Who_Subscribed_the_Augsburg_Confession_and_Apology_A_D_1537
Luthers_Small_Catechism
Title_Page
Preface
The_Ten_Commandments
The_Creed
The_Lords_Prayer
The_Sacrament_of_Holy_Baptism
Confession
The_Sacrament_of_the_Altar
Daily_Prayers
Table_of_Duties
Christian_Questions_with_Their_Answers
Luthers_Large_Catechism
Title_Page
Translators_Introduction
Short_Preface_of_Dr_Martin_Luther
The_Ten_Commandments
The_First_Commandment
The_Second_Commandment
The_Third_Commandment
The_Fourth_Commandment
The_Fifth_Commandment
The_Sixth_Commandment
The_Seventh_Commandment
The_Eighth_Commandment
The_Ninth_and_Tenth_Commandment
Conclusion_of_The_Ten_Commandments
The_Creed
Article_I
Article_II
Article_III
The_Lords_Prayer
Introduction
The_First_Petition
The_Second_Petition
The_Third_Petition
The_Fourth_Petition
The_Fifth_Petition
The_Sixth_Petition
The_Seventh_Petition
Baptism
The_Sacrament_of_the_Altar
The_Formula_of_Concord
Title_Page
Part_First_Epitome
Title_Page_and_Table_of_Contents
Comprehensive_Summary_Rule_and_Norm
I_Original_Sin
II_Free_Will
III_The_Righteousness_of_Faith_Before_God
IV_Good_Works
V_Law_and_Gospel
VI_The_Third_Use_of_the_Law
VII_The_Lords_Supper
VIII_The_Person_of_Christ
IX_The_Descent_of_Christ_Into_Hell
X_Church_Rites_Adiaphora
XI_Election
End_Of_Articles
XII_Other_Heresies_and_Sects
Introduction
Anabaptists
Schwenkfeldians
New_Arians
Anti_Trinitarians
Part_Second_Solid_Declaration
Title_Page_and_Table_of_Contents
Preface
Rule_and_Norm
Original_Sin
Free_Will
Part_1_of_2
Part_2_of_2
The_Righteousness_of_Faith
Part_1_of_2
Part_2_of_2
Good_Works
Law_and_Gospel
The_Third_Use_of_the_Law
The_Holy_Supper
Part_1_of_3_Introduction_and_Status_Controversiae
Part_2_of_3
Part_3_of_3
The_Person_of_Christ
Part_1_of_2
Part_2_of_2
Christs_Descent_into_Hell
Church_Rites_Adiaphora
Election
Part_1_of_2
Part_2_of_2
Other_Sects
Introduction
Anabaptists
Schwenckfeldians
New_Arians
Anti_Trinitarians
Conclusion
Appendix_A_Catalog_of_Testimonies
Introduction_to_Testimonies
Testimonies_I
Testimonies_II
Testimonies_III
Testimonies_IV
Testimonies_V
Testimonies_VI
Testimonies_VII
Testimonies_VIII
Testimonies_IX
Testimonies_X
Appendix_An_Exhortation_to_Confession
Title_Page
A_Brief_Admonition_To_Confession
Appendix_The_Saxon_Visitation_Articles
Title_Page
Article_I_Of_the_Holy_Supper
Article_II_Of_the_Person_of_Christ
Article_III_Of_Holy_Baptism
Article_IV_Of_Predestination_and_the_Eternal_Providence_of_God
False_and_Erroneous_Doctrine_of_the_Calvinists_Concerning_the_Holy_Supper
False_and_Erroneous_Doctrine_of_the_Calvinists_Concerning_the_Person_of_Christ
False_and_Erroneous_Doctrine_of_the_Calvinists_Concerning_Holy_Baptism
False_and_Erroneous_Doctrine_of_the_Calvinists_Concerning_Predestination_and_the_Providence_of_God
Context_Document_95_Theses_of_Martin_Luther
Title_Page
95_Theses
Refuted_Document_Johann_Ecks_404_Theses
Title_Page
Editors_Introduction
Translators_Introduction
Cover_Letter
Theses
Context_Document_To_All_the_Clergy_Assembled_in_Augsburg_at_the_Diet
Title_Page
Introduction
Concerning_Indulgences
Concerning_Confessionals
Concerning_Confession
Concerning_Penance
Concerning_The_Sale_of_Masses_or_Private_Masses
On_the_Ban
On_Two_Kinds_in_the_Sacrament
On_the_Unmarried_State
Other_Subjects
Conclusion
Refuted_Document_Confutatio_Pontifica
Title_Page
Introduction
Part_1
To_Article_I
To_Article_II_Disputation_I
To_Article_III
To_Article_IV_Disputation_II
To_Article_V_Disputation_II_Justification_And_III_Love_and_Fulfilling_of_the_Law
To_Article_VI_Disputation_II_Justification_And_III_Love_and_Fulfilling_of_the_Law
To_Article_VII_Disputation_IV
To_Article_VIII_Disputation_IV
To_Article_IX
To_Article_X
To_Article_XI
To_Article_XII_Disputation_V_Repentance_And_VI_Confession_And_Satisfaction
To_Article_XIII_Disputation_VII
To_Article_XIV
To_Article_XV_Disputation_VIII
To_Article_XVI
To_Article_XVII
To_Article_XVIII
To_Article_XIX
To_Article_XX_Disputation_II
To_Article_XXI_Disputation_IX
Part_2_Reply_to_the_Second_Part_of_the_Confession
I_Of_the_Lay_Communion_under_One_Form_To_Article_XXII_Disputation_X
II_Of_the_Marriage_of_Priests_To_Article_XXIII_Disputation_XI
III_Of_the_Mass_To_Article_XXIV_Disputation_XII
IV_Of_Confession_To_Article_XXV
V_Of_the_Distinction_of_Meats_To_Article_XXVI
VI_Of_Monastic_Vows_To_Article_XXVII_Disputation_XIII
VII_Of_Ecclesiastical_Power_Disputation_XIV
Conclusion
Refuted_Document_Consenus_Tigurinus
Title_Page
Introduction
Text
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