Has forcing celibacy on Catholic priests done far more harm than good? With the news that Pope Benedict XVI has become implicated in the sexual abuse crisis engulfing the Church, even "one of the Pope's closest advisers" has suggested the Church examine the "question of celibacy" to find the root cause of the culture of abuse. Is it time to rethink priestly chastity? (Watch a report about the controversy surrounding the Pope, the Vatican and sexual abuse)
Celibacy has nothing to do with abuse: "There's no link" between celibacy and pedophilia, says Bishop Giuseppe Versaldi in L'Osservatore Romano, quoted by AP. Sexual abuse of children is "more widespread" among married and "lay people" than it is among the "celibate priesthood." And also, most of the "priests guilty of abuse" had given up practising celibacy "long before" they abused minors.
"Vatican denies celibacy rule led to sex scandal"
It is unhealthy to restrain your desires: Celibacy may not cause pedophilia, says the Rev. Arthur G. Broadhurst at the Christian Humanist. But denying there's a relationship between the two "is just not credible." The Church is guaranteeing a priesthood "with unhealthy sexual needs and behaviors" by enforcing "unnatural" celibacy vows with neither a practical or theological justification.
"Celibacy is the problem, and it must go"
The Church, not celibacy, is to blame: Celibate priests can have "warm, mature personal relationships with both men and women," says Raymond A. Schroth at NJ.com, but only if they have "supportive communities," work that is "meaningful and satisfying", and prayer centered on the "life of Christ" and love for all. Though the "hierarchical" Catholic church could "reform its structures" to achieve this, it seems unwilling to try.
"And now the Pope"
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- Why Pakistan won't hunt down the terrorists within its borders
- Sorry, GOP, tax cuts don't pay for themselves
- Pope Francis' American problem
- How academia's liberal bias is killing social science
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- Are there dogs in heaven? Let's hope not.
- Hey, bosses: Stop giving bonuses to your employees
- 10 things you need to know today: December 19, 2014
- What is Molly? Everything you need to know about the party drug
Subscribe to the Week