Skip to comments.Vatican: DON'T blame it on celibacy
Posted on 03/14/2010 2:18:46 PM PDT by NYer
Rome is using this day of rest to stir a debate that never seems to rest:
The Vatican on Sunday denied that its celibacy requirement for priests was the root cause of the clerical sex abuse scandal convulsing the church in Europe and again defended the pope's handling of the crisis.Continue at the link.
Suggestions that the celibacy rule was in part responsible for the ''deviant behavior'' of sexually abusive priests have swirled in recent days, with opinion pieces in German newspapers blaming it for fueling abuse and even Italian commentators questioning the rule.
Much of the furor was spurred by comments from one of the pope's closest advisers, Vienna archbishop Cardinal Christoph Schoenborn, who called this week for an honest examination of issues like celibacy and priestly education to root out the origins of sex abuse.
''Part of it is the question of celibacy, as well as the subject of character development. And part of it is a large portion of honesty, in the church but also in society,'' he wrote in the online edition of his diocesan newsletter.
His office quickly stressed that Schoenborn wasn't calling into question priestly celibacy, which Pope Benedict XVI reaffirmed as recently as Friday as an ''expression of the gift of oneself to God and others.''
But Schoenborn has in the past shown himself receptive to arguments that a celibate priesthood is increasingly problematic for the church, primarily because it limits the number of men who seek ordination.
Last June, Schoenborn personally presented the Vatican with a lay initiative signed by prominent Austrian Catholics calling for the celibacy rule to be abolished and for married men to be allowed to become priests.
In the days following Schoenborn's editorial this week, several prominent prelates in Germany and at the Vatican shot down any suggestion that the celibacy rule had anything to do with the scandal, a point echoed Sunday by the Vatican newspaper, L'Osservatore Romano.
''It's been established that there's no link,'' said the article by Bishop Giuseppe Versaldi, an emeritus professor of canon law and psychology at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome.
''First off, it's known that sexual abuse of minors is more widespread among lay people and those who are married than in the celibate priesthood,'' he wrote. ''Secondly, research has shown that priests guilty of abuse had long before stopped observing celibacy.''
Can this be true? Lower sexual abuse rates in the priesthood than in the general population?
If they’re raping then they ain’t celibate
Also, I would think the comparison of clergy to the overall population would be less relevant that a comparison of clergy and non-celibate Christians (or Catholics). One would expect more depravity among the general population than among clergy.
It’s difficult for me to understand how Christ would expect all his vicars to be celibate for life.For periods of time,like Eastern Rite priests,absolutely...but not lifelong.And I believe that celibacy is at least indirectly responsible for the sex abuse stuff because it largely closes off the priesthood to “normal” men who,being normal,wouldn’t want to spend their whole life without the companionship of a woman.
Its the celibacy.
"oh, Mr. Smith was so nice and a great Boy Scout leader...he would never hurt anybody"..or...
"Father Smith was such a great guy and the loved the kids...he wouldn't hurt anybody"...
I have absolutely no reason not to suspect that all ministries and all groups that center on children or young men have pedophiles or homosexuals in their midst....
the bigger the group is, the more likelier....
throw in the fact that some people are looking for a big payday...why attack some little group when you can claim a priest 35 yrs ago abused you...the priest is dead and all you have to do is threaten to sue or sue...the anti-Catholics are just so eager to rip the church apart....
never do I condone any horrible actual acts...
I guess if marriage would be the norm for Catholic priests, than the homosexuals would go elsewhere for their cover....the military?
Honestly, I don't see where they get the idea that priests must be celibate... especially seeing as how PETER HAD A WIFE!
ANY kind of “ministry” can attract perverts.
I would think all the more so a setup where not having a wife around is the norm.
Can't be celibate if they are after whomever. Period.
Celibacy would imply there was no sexual contact.
The Catholic Church is (and has been) under attack by homosexuals, abortionists, and others because it will not grant the power of God to the State, nor swear fealty thereto. It is the Tudor question all over, only this time the Marxists, human secularists, and others are trying to defame the Church.
When one considers the number of homosexuals innvolved in the media who attack the Church, there just might be a reason: The Church is not giving in to their agenda.
Perhaps a comparison of sexual deviancy rates between celibate clergy and non-celibate clergy would be more useful. When comparing the sexual perversion rates of clergy and the general population, you’re not eliminating enough variables (moral code, belief system, belief in God, belief that sexual deviancy exists, etc.) to determine whether celibacy alone makes a difference.
I don’t know the details of the European priest sex scandal, but in the US well over 80% of the abuse was of post-pubescent adolescent boys. To put it bluntly, the problem was homosexuality in the priesthood. Assuming the problem is even remotely similar in Europe, I don’t think celibacy is the problem. And the experience in the US certainly proves that the Boy Scouts made the right decision.
Here is the root cause, which is failure to follow the 1961 instruction, “RELIGIOSORUM INSTITUTIO”, by Pope John XXIII:
“Advantage to religious vows and ordination should be barred to those who are afflicted with evil tendencies to homosexuality or pederasty, since for them the common life and the priestly ministry would constitute serious dangers.”
Factor in childhood sex abuse by camp counselors, Jewish rabbis and Muslim imams ... and the list grows much larger.
As for your initial comment Its difficult for me to understand how Christ would expect all his vicars to be celibate for life
Jesus never married. Paul was not married. And, for all we know, the only apostle who ever married was Peter and that was before he met our Lord. Paul even goes on to make a case for preferring celibacy to marriage: "Are you free from a wife? Do not seek marriage. . . those who marry will have worldly troubles, and I would spare you that. . . . The unmarried man is anxious about the affairs of the Lord, how to please the Lord; but the married man is anxious about worldly affairs, how to please his wife, and his interests are divided. And the unmarried woman or girl is anxious about the affairs of the Lord, how to be holy in body and spirit; but the married woman is anxious about worldly affairs, how to please her husband" (7:27-34). Pauls conclusion: He who marries "does well; and he who refrains from marriage will do better" (7:38).
Yes, that sounds like an excellent idea.
I think the Catholic belief is that celibacy is better. But better how? And maybe it had advantages in biblical times that it doesn't now.
Just thinking out loud...
I doubt that those with "evil tendencies to homosexuality or pederasty" are advertising the fact. So how are those ordaining them supposed to know?
It seems to me that one of the best tests of this is: Does the man have a wife and a normal family?
Then priests of the Eastern Rite and former Episcopal priests who converted to Catholicism don't have Christ's approval for being married...and yet they're fully recognized by Rome and they acknowledge the Pope's primacy here on earth.
The most probable pedophiles in order are:
Priests are way down on the list.
So if a Father is a teacher of mid-high history, coaches the girls basketball team and is a youth minister at his church on weekends/Sundays watch out! He would be much more prone to pedophilia that any priest.
Celibacy is not the Problem Homosexuality and Pedophilia is.
If Celibacy were the problem ,normal straight priests would be having sex with heterosexual women not little boys.
The problem is that the word got out to pedophilic Homosexuals that the Priesthood was a target rich environment for them. The Church’s wrongful way they sent them away and hid them for a while and then brought them back, still in the priesthood was taken as primo facie evidence that the Church was allowing them to get away with it. As they were.
I know I will catch it from the flamers for this , but-——Bishops are picked from the Priesthood, and if you have pedophiles in the priesthood, there are probably a few Bishops who arent all that straight either.Perhaps this was a part of the problem of why these people were hidden.
Peter’s wife probably died before he followed Jesus. The other possibility is that Peter left EVERYTHING to follow Jesus.
But thanks to celibacy very few "normal" men...fewer and fewer,it would seem....choose the priesthood.Yes,homosexuality is part of the problem for if homosexuals didn't find their way into the priesthood over the last 50 years (or more) there'd be few priests around to *commit* abuse.
Allow men,in general,not just Eastern Rite priests and Episcopal converts,to be married and,at the very least,fewer homosexuals would *be* in the priesthood..ready to abuse.
You're right. This is absolutely true. But it stems from a time when marriage as a sacrament was respected by society. These priests can never divorce. That has worked well in certain eastern countries where marriage is still the norm; here in the west, however, the situation is quite different.
I am a Roman Catholic practicing my faith in an Eastern (Maronite) Catholic Church. My Maronite pastor is from Lebanon. His great grandfather was a married priest which served as an inspiration. My pastor, on the other hand, chose the celibate life. On more than one occasion, we have discussed his decision to choose celibacy over the married priesthood. Perhaps the best rationale comes from none other than Mar Nasrallah Pierre Cardinal Sfeir, Patriarch of Antioch. Speaking to the 11th General Synod of Fathers gathered at the Vatican in October 2005, he addressed the topic of married priests. Catholic News Agency provides the following:
Vatican City, Oct. 07, 2005 (CNA) - The Cardinal defended the practice of the celibate priesthood and discussed the beauty of the tradition, calling it the "most precious jewel in the treasury of the Catholic Church."
While pointing out that "the Maronite Church admits married priests" and that "half of our diocesan priests are married", the Cardinal Patriarch said that "it must be recognized that if admitting married men resolves one problem, it creates others just as serious."
"A married priest", he said, "has the duty to look after his wife and family, ensuring his children receive a good education and overseeing their entry into society. ... Another difficulty facing a married priest arises if he does not enjoy a good relationship with his parishioners; his bishop cannot transfer him because of the difficulty of transferring his whole family.
He noted that "married priests have perpetuated the faith among people whose difficult lives they shared, and without them this faith would no longer exist."
"On the other hand," he said, "celibacy is the most precious jewel in the treasury of the Catholic Church,"
Lamenting a culture which is all but outright opposed to purity, the Cardinal asked: "How can [celibacy] be conserved in an atmosphere laden with eroticism? Newspapers, Internet, billboards, shows, everything appears shameless and constantly offends the virtue of chastity."
Suggesting that their are no easy solutions to the problem of priest shortages in the Church--an oft brought up point during the Synod--he noted that, "Of course a priest, once ordained, can no longer get married. Sending priests to countries where they are lacking, taking them from a country that has many, is not the ideal solution if one bears in mind the question of tradition, customs and mentality. The problem remains."
BTW, the Maronite Catholic Church does not send married priests to the diaspora (anywhere outside of Lebanon). Those priests have all voluntarily chosen priestly celibacy. My pastor is also bi-ritual (Maronite and Latin Rite). He assists the priests of the RC Diocese of Albany and says the weekday, televized NO Mass at a local catholic hospital.
>> Paul was not married. And, for all we know, the only apostle who ever married was Peter and that was before he met our Lord. Paul even goes on to make a case for preferring celibacy to marriage: “Are you free from a wife? Do not seek marriage. . . those who marry will have worldly troubles, and I would spare you that. . .
On the other hand, for all we know, the only apostle that was not married was Paul. If celibacy were that important, I would think that more of a point would be made to show the celibacy of all of Christ’s disciples (or all but Peter). Other than Perer’s mother-in-law and Paul’s “gift of celibacy”, it never comes up.
A lack of information does not an argument make. Job was married. Peter was married. Noah was married. Moses was married. God created marriage because, in His estimation, “it is not good for man to be alone”. I personally think marriage is good and necessary, even for clergy.
Not really a fair comparison. A better comparison would be abuse rates among non-celibate Protestant ministers and celibate Catholic priests.
“One would expect more depravity among the general population than among clergy.”
We hope there is a difference.
There is a verse in the bible that indicates pastors should remain celibate unless they must take a wife. Will have to see if I can find it.
What are you basing your post on?
You know how liberalism has taken over academia,
Because seminaries are smaller institutions the liberal heads of the institutions recruited them.
For a period of time seminaries became overtly hostile to straight guys wanting to be celibate.
Just a few men in strategic positions have caused untold damage. It wasn’t just gay priests, it was liberal bishops that turned a blind eye to abortion politics, and liberals in the USCCB that gave tons of money to ACORN and other liberal social justice groups.
Could be, but that doesn’t seem to be all they’re claiming.
You have it backwards.
Normal men were turned off by the priesthood because of the gays that infested seminaries.
One at a time, the liberal bishops are being removed... Ranks of seminarians are increasing again.
Using your logic we would have to say that most priests are homosexually inclined. I do not believe that.
I have nothing against Priests marrying, in fact I am for it, My post is merely to agree with the Pope that celibacy is not the reason some priests molest children.
The Church should have nipped this in the bud years ago by allowing Priests accused of molestation to face criminal charges. Parisioners are partially guilty for allowing representatives of the Church to talk them out of pressing charges.
Celibacy and marriage are not two competing vocations but are dependent upon and elevate one another. It is not by coincidence that in times of crisis for marriage (such as our present time in which the divorce rates are astronomical) are also times of crisis for consecrated celibacy.
Although celibacy is objectively superior to marriage, it does not diminish the goods of marriage. In fact, celibacy elevates the good of marriage. It is a superiority that totally gives itself for the good of marriage. It also makes itself dependent on the good of marriage for its life. This interdependence of marriage and celibacy is not only spiritual but physical as well. After all, in order for a person to be able to embrace celibate love he has to be created, and the way God creates man is through the marital embrace. In this light, it is not by mistake that the family is seen as the source of priestly and religious vocations.
Even though celibacy is the objectively superior state, this does not mean that it is for everyone. Our Lord makes this very clear when he says, "Not all men can accept this precept, but only those to whom it is given. . . . There are those who have made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. He who is able to receive this let him receive it" (Matt. 19:1112).
I agree in principle that celibacy is a valid choice, a rare “gift”, and is not for everyone.
My questions arise not with elective celibacy generally, but with mandated celibacy for clergy. Mandated celibacy forces those without the gift of celibacy, but who are called to discipleship, to force celibacy on themselves or choose another vocation. If marriage is not a moral wrong, and does not draw men away from God ... why are those without the gift of celibacy not allowed the priesthood? Should the gift of celibacy really be the defining characteristic of priests, and are those without that particular gift really unfit to lead, disciple or apostle?
Not accordin to Christ. The dichotomy of Peter (married) and Paul (celibate) would seem to me to indicate that those without the gift of celibacy were still welcome among Christ’s disciples.
Thank you for the clarification. Celibacy is a discipline, not a doctrine. Those who are not called to celibacy need not apply. It's really just that simple.
We aren’t allowed to point out all the pervert non-Catholic ministers and believe me there are plenty.
>> Those who are not called to celibacy need not apply. It’s really just that simple.
Given the case of Peter, that seems like a rather arbitrary rule ... and one likely not acknowledged by Christ Himself when selecting apostles.
Excellent observations. (And happy birthday!)
When my prayer group discussed sexuality, much of what we covered began to make sense once we understood that "sexuality" in its core meaning simply means, "We are women." This fact has many implications. Some of it has to do with sexual feelings or behavior, but much does not. In every aspect of life, we are affected by our *being women*.
The only thing we know for certain about St. Peter is that he had a mother in law. We do not know if his wife was still alive. We also do not know if any other of the disciples were married.
Well, if you read the whole instruction, which can be found here: http://www.papalencyclicals.net/John23/j23religios.htm ,
there are many things to look for in weeding out bad priestly candidates.
Priests are not called to be “normal”, but to a level of perfection that seems odd to the world. The grain of wheat that falls to the ground and dies...to yield a hundred fold.
Normal fatherhood is all consuming, not sure where the time and energy would come from to address the needs of the flock? Obviously the ideal is celibacy.
But it is interesting how gays delight in blaming celibacy for the things they have caused.
We know Peter was married (due to the existence of a mother-in-law), and have no reason to believe his marriage was discontinued for any reason. The only indications regarding Peter are that he was married. Postulating that his wife was deceased is nothing more than a guess, and smacks of making up facts to support a pre-concieved outcome.
Nothing was mentioned about the marial status of the other disciples — but I’ve seen no justification for assuming all of them were unmarried/ celibate. If they were, in fact, uniformly celibate, I would think that would’ve been mentioned.
So, for the two disciples whose marital status was mentioned ... we’ve got one married, and one celibate. I fail to see how this is an argument for mandated clerical celibacy. It seems to indicate to me that the marital status of disciples wasn’t even important enough to mention.
“I guess if marriage would be the norm for Catholic priests, than the homosexuals would go elsewhere for their cover....the military?”
I think that’s already done.
You should start with Christ. He had no earthly wife.
I think the real problem is that with such a shortage of priests, candidates are not being properly vetted to weed out those who have the mental problems that lead to abuse.
So? Marriage is not a sin — it was created and ordained by the Almighty.
Christ’s martial status was not actually mentioned in the Bible either. This is not to say that I believe He was married ... I don’t. I, like most everyone else, assume He was unmarried (mostly because I figure His wife would’ve been mentioned had she existed). But His unmarriedness, like that of any disciples other than Paul, was not pivotal enough to warrant a mention.
The question is not whether Christ was married. It is whether celibacy should be a mandate for priests — Peter’s apostleship seems to suggest it should not.
“So? Marriage is not a sin it was created and ordained by the Almighty.”
Yes, it was created by God. So was chastity. And the use of a chaste life - without marriage - for the service of God is praised by Christ in scripture.
“Christs martial status was not actually mentioned in the Bible either.”
Yes, it was. Christ’s only bride is the Church herself. He can have no other.
“This is not to say that I believe He was married ... I dont. I, like most everyone else, assume He was unmarried (mostly because I figure His wife wouldve been mentioned had she existed). But His unmarriedness, like that of any disciples other than Paul, was not pivotal enough to warrant a mention.”
It was - he was married only to the Church. He had no merely earthly bride.
“The question is not whether Christ was married. It is whether celibacy should be a mandate for priests Peters apostleship seems to suggest it should not.”
Actually the one has nothing to do with the other. First of all, there is no mandated celibacy for priests. It is not forced on priests. Seminarians VOLUNTARILY choose it. They know it is part and parcel of the process. If they do not want to be priests, they do not choose it. The choice is entirely theirs. Second, whether or not Peter was married would have nothing to do with married priests even just a few years later. Peter married most likely many years before he met Christ. Would he have married AFTER being made an Apostle? Would he have married after being made pope? Most likely not - especially since he what was going to happen to him.
“I think the real problem is that with such a shortage of priests, candidates are not being properly vetted to weed out those who have the mental problems that lead to abuse.”
The priests, however, who were the worst abusers were ordained in the 1960s and 1970s. There wasn’t a shortage then. Also, at least some seminaries were taken over by the velvet mafia at that time and they DELIBERATELY recruited homosexuals. So, maybe some losers got in in the 80s because of a shortage but most of the abusers were already in the priesthood by that time.
Most of the abuse cases were homosexual in nature. Then when the Vatican announced (under PBXVI) that homosexuals must be screened out of the seminaries henceforth, the liberals all cried “Foul”!
There is no way liberals will ever be satisfied. That is because nothing the Church or in fact any traditional Christian denomination does is ever enough for these atheistic God-haters.