Again, it’s all about sex

Again, it’s all about sex

Here’s another “expert” declaring that it’s all about sex and the Scandal wouldn’t have happened if only priests had not been forced into celibacy.

William Cleary is reviewing Dean Hoge’s book, “The First Five Years of the Priesthood: A Study of Newly Ordained Catholic Priests,” for the National Catholic Reporter. In the book he finds statistics to justify his view that the priesthood and its demands on itself are unnatural.

Is the profession destroyed? It may be. I am not exaggerating. ... Still, it continues to strike me that there is something natural and therapeutic about this phase of the clergy scandals: The boil has burst of its own pathology. The infection, shocking and repellent as it is, is coming to an end.

  • Personal maturity is not required for celibacy, especially if you consider that we expect the immature among us, teenagers and children, to be celibate. Why do we place one particular hunger—sex—above all others in the hierarchy of things we can’t avoid? We expect people to fast from food, so why can’t they fast from sex? What is it about sex that makes it so all-fired impossible to resist?

    As for mandatory celibacy, no it’s not “required” but it is preferred. Just because something is not absolutely necessary doesn’t mean it isn’t preferable. And why should the topic of sex be somehow outside the Pope’s purview? The only reason an accommodation is made for Eastern Churches is so that they could preserve their customs from before reunion with Rome, not because it is preferable for them to be married.

    Sex is indeed part of the abuse problem, but the biggest part of it is holiness.

  • Teens benefit from healthy interaction with the opposite sex. That’s part of growing up. Teens can date: something that would be inappropriate for a person vowed to celibacy.

    Priests can also benefit from healthy and appropriate interaction with the opposite sex. But sexual activity is inappropriate for both teens and priests. Rather than being “non-sexual” we should instead say they should be chaste, as all people should be chaste whatever state in life they are: single, married, priest.

    And yes, celibacy should be those who have the charism for it and those who don’t have the charism for it are probably not called to the priesthood.

    There is nothing inherently superior about celibacy over marriage. Gee, that’s not what St. Paul and the Holy Spirit said. Yes, some people are better suited for celibacy and some are not, and those who are not are not called to the priesthood in the Roman rite. What’s so hard to understand?

    only to the extent we speak of a matter of discipline for the clergy. Again, why? The Pope is the successor of Peter called by Christ to support, and confirm, and lead his brothers. I think that makes the Pope uniquely qualified to determine the discipline of the priesthood for his brother priests. I wonder, if the current Pope were disposed toward voluntary celibacy, would you be so interested in taking him out of the loop? Don’t bother replying to that, I can predict your answer.

    “The only reason an accommodation is made for Eastern Churches …”
    Not accommodation, Dom. It’s tradition.
    It’s a custom, not a Tradition in the divine sense and one that could just as easily be revised to include celibacy. It is a discipline. And don’t forget the Eastern rites don’t allow a married priest to remarry if his wife dies and doesn’t allow a married priest to become a bishop. A certain value is still placed on celibacy.

  • Todd,

    If I may be blunt, your nice words are a pantload. I challenge you to actually talk to any married clergy, whether they are Protestant exemption or Eastern rite, especially the priest’s wife. Every single one I have ever talked to believes a celibate priesthood is preferable,not because they don’t love their husbands, but because they know that the priesthood is not a career it’s a vocation and a man can’t have two vocations. He will either be devoted to one and neglect the other or be insufficient for both. Even Protestant pastors’ wives, who husbands have much fewer duties without the call of the sacraments, say that they come second-place to their husbands’ churches.

    As for your argument that celibacy was the norm and not the exception, even in the Eastern churches, explain why everything to do with married priests is an exemption. You can be married, but only once, and only if you marry before ordination, and you can’t be a married bishop. Doesn’t sound like marriage is the norm, but is the exception.

    And your pretty treatise about the eremitical life of a diocesan priest sounds nice, except it bears no resemblance to the life of all the good priests I know (and I know quite a few) and my time living in a parish rectory. A good priest doesn’t require a wife to dispel loneliness and find a community, but he does need good friends and so he has to work to cultivate them among clergy and laymen alike.