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
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- Why the Chinese military is only a paper dragon
- What the Romney boomlet says about the establishment GOP's feeble 2016 field
- 5 innovative uses for baking soda
- 6 things the happiest families all have in common
- How our botched understanding of 'science' ruins everything
- Christian conservatives have a terrifying new bogeyman: The Christian leftist
- 10 innovative furniture designs that brilliantly save you space
- Libertarianism's terrible, horrible, no good, very bad idea
Subscribe to the Week