Digital Dharma

The Middle Path, One Day At A Time

Celibacy, the Pope, and Sex Abuse

1 Comment

Many of the issues that troubled me decades ago have contributed to this decline. Some, like those related to contraception, homosexuality, and family life, are considered matters of divine or natural law—the will of God—and, therefore, are immutable. I disagree, and I’m not alone, but we have been unable to persuade the church to make changes. Other matters are considered a product of human law, which is alterable if the church thinks that doing so is in its best interest. The vow of priestly celibacy is one such statute: none, I believe, would be easier to change or, quite possibly, is more important to the short-term health of the church.

Turn: Celibacy, the Pope, and Sex Abuse – Newsweek


Author: Bill

Stumbling down the Middle Path, one day at a time.

One thought on “Celibacy, the Pope, and Sex Abuse

  1. Bill – I read the Nat’l Catholic Reporter to my blind father regularly. As a long ago lapsed Catholic it’s a little like time travel but it’s made for very interesting reading in recent years. (I’m a big fan of John Allen’s!).

    In the context of hiding the sex abuse scandals, whenever I hear ‘if only priests were able to marry’, I think they’ve got it wrong – there will always be perverts and abusers out there. The relevant point would be ‘if only priests were fathers’. That’s what would make all the difference – the stuff that went on would NOT have been tolerated.

    Hi Moe,

    Thanks for writing.

    If the issues of the Catholic (or any other) clergy were fully known, the religious structure as we know it would probably be fractured completely. I’m not sure that would be a good thing, as religion offers much to people who would otherwise lack the resources to turn elsewhere for comfort, and would thus simply form new religions. It is much easier to schism than to effect change from within.

    I’m not sure if I completely agree with you about the abuse, although having clergy with (official) children certainly couldn’t hurt. Perhaps removing the vows of chastity (and what is more chaste than building a family, in a realistic sense?) would attract a different class of person to the priestly vocation.

    Child sexual abuse is known to be about power issues, not sex per se, as are other forms of rape. These occur in parents as well as celibate priests — in fact, across the entire spectrum of society. I do believe, however, that the Church has for centuries been a haven for many who felt that they would be safe from their “baser” selves if they embraced the religious life, and then discovered that, no matter where you go, there you are.

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