Quinisext Council, Canon 24.previous | next
Let none of those enrolled in the sacerdotal list, nor any Monks, attend horse races or become involved in pastimes. But if any Clergyman should be invited at a wedding, whenever fraudulent games are introduced, let him rise up and protest, and thereupon let him depart, since the teaching of our Fathers thus commands. In case anyone is caught and found guilty of this, let him either cease or be deposed.
(Ap. cc. XLII, XLIII; cc. LI, LXII, LXVI of the 6th; c. XXII of the 7th; cc. III, LIV of Laodicca; cc. XVII, LXX of Carthage.)
No one in holy orders, nor any monk, according to the present Canon, is permitted to go to those places where men race horses, or to look at and listen to effeminate games. If, on the other hand, any clergyman be invited to a wedding, he may go, but when it comes to playing such deceptive and Satanic games, he must get up at once and depart, just as the Fathers’ teaching commands, that is to say, c. LIV of the Council held in Laodicea (though that Canon adds that those in holy orders must not look at other spectacles either that mark weddings and suppers, and that they must depart before the time has even come for the games). As for anyone caught doing this, either he must cease or he must be deposed.
 Although Balsamon in his interpretation of the present Canon does say that such theatrical shows and such games are prohibited only on Sundays and the great holidays, but not on the other days, inferring this from that which c. LXX of Carthage says to the effect that these shows must be transferred to other days, we say, principally and primarily, that c. LI of this Ecumenical Council prohibits their being held, not on some days and on other days not so, but not at all on any days whatsoever. Consequently, and because the same Council of Carthage in its c. XVII says that it is ever and always preached to all Christians not to go near any place where there are blasphemies and other improprieties that attend or mark such theatrical shows. Moreover, we say what St. Basil the Great says (see in extenso XX). No blamed thing in itself can ever become good on account of the season in which it is done. “None of the things that have been condemned is suited to us for the time being.” But since these spectacles and theatrical shows have been blamed, they are not to be praised and are not good even when held on non-festival days. For these things are really demonish works. St. Chrysostom, too, says (Horn. 12 on the First Ep. to the Corinthians, page 318 of volume III): “And talk not to me of custom. For if a thing is wicked, let it not be done even once; but if it is good, let it be done again and again.” Or, in other words, if the thing is an evil, let it not occur even once; but if it is not, let it occur at all times. The same Chrysostom calls theaters and circuses and horse races pomp of Satan (Discourse 20 on statues, page 610 of volume VI). And again the same saint says: “Frequenting theaters has given birth to fornication, licentiousness, and lewdness of every sort. And watching horse races, prize fights, burlesque shows, and boxing, and exhibitions of insolence, and the exchange of insults have engendered constant aversions” (Discourse 15 on statues, page 564 of volume VI). See also the discourse which he prepared specially to show how improper it is for anyone to go near theaters, since these make men perfect adulterers (page 89, of volume V).
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