Insight on the News
Forbidden to Marry
Described by one Lutheran bishop as “a hidden problem for generations,” sexual misconduct by the clergy has finally ‘come out of the closet.’ However, the Los Angeles Times reports that along with it have come “embarrassing public disclosures and costly lawsuits that have forced several churches into bankruptcy.” The Times notes that insurance agents say that pending in the courts are as many as 2,000 sexual abuse cases involving the clergy.
It is also noteworthy that some of the most notorious offenders are reportedly Roman Catholic clergymen. A. W. Richard Sipe, a psychotherapist and former Benedictine monk, has conducted interviews with 1,000 priests and 500 other men and women, many of the latter claiming to have participated in sexual activity with members of the clergy. Time magazine reports that he estimates that approximately half of the 53,000 Roman Catholic priests in the United States are breaking their vow of celibacy. According to Sipe, about 28 percent of all priests have ongoing relationships with women, while, in addition, from 10 to 13 percent are sexually involved with adult men, and 6 percent pursue children for sex, usually boys. More than 100 settlements for clergy misconduct within the last six years have cost Catholic authorities between 100 million and 300 million dollars.
Many people feel that most of these problems would be eliminated if priests were allowed to marry. Some may be shocked to learn that nowhere does the Bible prohibit Christian ministers of God from marrying. The Catholic Church, however, has forbidden priests to marry since the 12th century. Interestingly, when referring to the great apostasy from true worship that would set in after the death of the apostles, Paul wrote that “some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to misleading inspired utterances and teachings of demons, by the hypocrisy of men who speak lies, . . . forbidding to marry.”—1 Timothy 4:1-3.
Why So Much Violence?
Canada was shocked and horrified to learn that 25-year-old Marc Lepine had committed mass murder on the campus of the University of Montreal. In cold blood he massacred 14 female engineering students, leaving 13 other students wounded, including 4 men, before turning the gun on himself. It was one of the worst massacres in the nation’s history. The prime minister described the senseless slayings as “a human tragedy of enormous proportions.”
According to The Toronto Star, in the United States, “there have been more than 100 multiple murderers since World War II and most of them appeared in the past two decades.” Yet, as the father of one of Lepine’s victims plaintively asked: “Why is there so much violence in the world? Why do human beings do this sort of thing to each other?”
The Bible’s explanation for the increase of violence in our time is plain. The apostle John wrote: “The whole world is lying in the power of the wicked one.” (1 John 5:19) Comparable to the air we breathe, a bad spirit originating with Satan, “the wicked one,” dominates the thinking, the desires, the very actions of most people. With his spirit of rebellion, selfishness, and pride, he “is misleading the entire inhabited earth.” (Revelation 12:9) True worshipers of God take comfort, however, in the knowledge that “the world is passing away and so is its desire, but he that does the will of God remains forever.”—1 John 2:17.
Where Is “the City of David”?
If you were to visit Jerusalem, and you asked someone to direct you to Mount Zion, most likely you would be sent to a ridge, or hill, that extends south of the Old City. Bordered on the east by the Tyropoeon Valley and on the west by the Hinnom Valley, this hill is marked by the presence of the Church of the Dormition, with its cone-shaped dome.
However, maps and illustrations published by the Watch Tower Society place Mount Zion on a smaller hill east of what is today called Mount Zion. This hill is separated from its counterpart on the west by the Tyropoeon Valley and bordered on the east by the Kidron Valley.
Which of these two locations marks the site of the original Mount Zion? The magazine Biblical Archaeology Review (May/June 1990) agrees that “the eastern ridge, or hill, was the original Mt. Zion, . . . which King David captured from the Jebusites.” After its fall, this Jebusite stronghold came to be known as “the City of David,” also called “Zion.” (2 Samuel 5:7) The Biblical Archaeology Review notes that “archaeologists have determined, without doubt, that this narrow spur,” often referred to as the eastern hill, is the Biblical Mount Zion where David established the administrative and religious headquarters for the nation of Israel.—2 Samuel 6:11, 12, 17.