Archbishop links priestly celibacy and Catholic sex abuse scandals

The Archbishop of Vienna today said priestly celibacy could be one of the causes of the sex abuse scandals to hit the Catholic church.

In an article for Thema Kirche, his diocesan magazine, Christoph Schonborn became the most senior figure in the Catholic hierarchy to make the connection between the two and called for an “unflinching examination” of the possible reasons for paedophilia.

He wrote: "These include the issue of priest training, as well as the question of what happened in the so-called sexual revolution.

“It also includes the issue of priest celibacy and the issue of personality development. It requires a great deal of honesty, both on the part of the church and of society as a whole.”

Schonborn is not the first person to suggest a link between celibacy and paedophilia – the theologian Hans Kung has made the same assertion.

A spokesman clarified the archbishop’s words, insisting he was “in no way” seeking to question the celibacy rule or call for its abolition.

It looks to me like the media reading too much into Schonborn’s comments. :shrug:

The priests molesting boys are not interested in marriage to a woman.

The title is dishonest and yellow, all that I have come to expect of The Guardian. Compare the title to what was** really** said in the quote. Nothing was linked. The anticatholic media makes honest evaluation difficult when even the mention of examining a topic produces an assumption that a link has been established.

Celibacy is a topic that is permitted to be discussed and a discipline that, in theory, could be changed. I think the link to sexual abuse flies in the face of reality that shows sexually predatation takes place within families. I would welcome any such examination, except for the above problem of a moronic media. No apology or correction will be forth-coming and lies will be spewed before the first minute of research is begun.

I agree with the premise. I don’t think that celibacy causes someone to become a pedophile or homosexual, but I am certain that the celibacy requirement discourages men with normal sexual inclinations and appetites from considering the priesthood. The result is that men with immature or abnormal sexuality - and who are Catholic and would not consider openly living a homosexual, etc life for fear of upsetting their mother or violating their own beliefs - choose to enter the seminary. How many well-balanced young men who have had experience dating girls, attending prom, etc, choose the priesthood? I doubt many. Certainly, there are still many good and devoted priests who happen to be homosexual, and probably some heterosexual priests as well, but I have always thought the celibacy requirement leads to bad apples in the mix. The only person I have ever known who seriously considered the priesthood was a very nice and good guy from my high school. I remember him talking openly in class about considering the priesthood. He also liked girls. I saw him recently, and he is happily married with two kids, working a regular job, still devout I think. He would have been a good priest.

Additionally, it just seems that celibacy is an utterly unnecessary requirement. I don’t know what is practically gained by insisting on it. In fact, the handful of married Protestant ministers I know seem at least as good ministers to their flock as any priest could be. The experience of being married and raising a family probably makes it much easier for them to relate to the ordinary issues that the families of their churches deal with; a celibate priest living alone in a church rectory does not have that kind of experience.

…called for an “unflinching examination” of the possible reasons for paedophilia.

…includ(ing) the issue of priest training… what happened in the so-called sexual revolution… celibacy… personality development. It requires a great deal of honesty, both on the part of the church and of society as a whole."

A spokesman clarified the archbishop’s words, insisting he was “in no way” seeking to question the celibacy

All sounds reasonable to me. Leave no stone unturned, as they say.

Additionally, it just seems that celibacy is an utterly unnecessary requirement. I don’t know what is practically gained by insisting on it. In fact, the handful of married Protestant ministers I know seem at least as good ministers to their flock as any priest could be. The experience of being married and raising a family probably makes it much easier for them to relate to the ordinary issues that the families of their churches deal with; a celibate priest living alone in a church rectory does not have that kind of experience.

I’ve known more than a handful of protestant minsters with families. The arrangement works well, if everyone in the family is as into serving the church as the minister is, but if not, it can be a disaster. There can be no unplanned weekend trips, and few planned ones. The needs of the church must often be put above the needs of the family- and that seems wrong to me. I do not envy the preachers’ kids I have known. Who do they go to when they need a pastor rather than a parent? Where do they turn to for support when they are struggling, and everyone in their church knows who they are and expects them to automatically be holier, more knowledgeable of the faith, and to have fewer needs than everyone else in the congregation? I’ve listened to many arguments in support of married clergy, and against priestly celibacy. Though I respect that it is a discipline, not a doctrine- and some rites of the Church allow for married clergy, I have never questioned my support for priestly celibacy.

I am sure that many would like nothing more than see the CC complete upside down. they would love to see the CC change everything from priest celibacy to the teachings. soon, we are going to beging campaign for the Church to change her teachings that way people wont be accused of sinning any longer.

i dont side with liberals and media against the Church and priest celibacy. it is such a beautifull thing. i am sure the devil cannot stand priest celibacy.

i am sure these scandals are greatly exagerated by the media. they will use everything they can to try to change the CC. let’s no be naive is to think that the world wants what is good for the Church. it is time to tell the world that they cannot ditate or tell the Church what to do. the world is trying to shape the Church to its way.

dont be naive brothers and sisters, stand still and see what our Lord can do for His Church.

I pray that our Lord send more holy and celibate priests to His field.

i say that we all must encourage celibate priests always.

The problem in the Catholic Church is homosexual pedophilia. General sexual abuse numbers for the Catholic Church are on par with denominations.

I happen to know of a Catholic priest who, years ago, was ostracized within the Catholic Church because he wouldn’t turn a blind eye to what was going on in certain seminaries.

In my area, sexual abuse issues that made it to the news were in independent churches or Baptist Churches.

Sex abuse scandals will pass. But never completely.

Celibacy did not turn priests into paedophiles…I think many are looking at it the wrong way around - some paedophiles were ordained to the priesthood. Paedophiles are deceptive and they will seek out ways and situations where they can have easy access to children. Unfortunately, the priesthood was one such situation - the priest was one of the most respected members of the community, above suspicion.

If one looks at the comments that Fr Hans Kung and others have made - i.e. that celibacy is the problem - then how does one explain the fact that both fathers and mothers have abused their children? Celibacy is no more the cause of paedophilia or abuse than marriage is… In fact, research suggests that sexual abuse is no higher among Catholic clergy than any other area of society; indeed, the incidence may even be lower.

I would like to see comments from everyday clergy about their feeling toward celibacy; the nuns, priests and brothers who make the wheels turn. Would they want this to change? And I am not suggesting putting it to a vote, the Pope can take care of that.

Too often someone is making a statement in order to be quoted but I have no idea if the rank and file are in support of them or not. This then gets complicated by people like me, who are married, adding what we think. I would just like to hear what the people who are impacted think.

I’ve known more than a handful of protestant minsters with families. The arrangement works well, if everyone in the family is as into serving the church as the minister is, but if not, it can be a disaster. There can be no unplanned weekend trips, and few planned ones. The needs of the church must often be put above the needs of the family- and that seems wrong to me. I do not envy the preachers’ kids I have known. Who do they go to when they need a pastor rather than a parent? Where do they turn to for support when they are struggling, and everyone in their church knows who they are and expects them to automatically be holier, more knowledgeable of the faith, and to have fewer needs than everyone else in the congregation? I’ve listened to many arguments in support of married clergy, and against priestly celibacy. Though I respect that it is a discipline, not a doctrine- and some rites of the Church allow for married clergy, I have never questioned my support for priestly celibacy.

Since it is a disciplne, by definition, it is not utterly necessary. I think that the Church is moving in the direction of having more married priests. It’s not like we don’t have a small number now. But although technically, the Pope could just change the discipline by decree, the change would require a complete reordering of the role of the priest in the Church today. Not the Sacramental role, of course, but the pastoral one. Priestly formation would be very different too and that does not change overnight. A married priest would likely have to do at least part of his formation together with his spouse similarly to the way deacon formation is conducted in many diocese. The Church stands to “miss out” on as many priests because the wife isn’t ready or able to undergo her own formation as we do by not having married priests at all.

It works for Protestant ministers, in part, because the role of a pastor is very different. Protestant ministers do not say daily Mass, for example, nor are they on hand 24/7 for the Sacraments of the Sick and for Reconcilliation.

Also, nearly all Protestant denominations have an acceptance of divorce. A divorced minister can continue in ministry. A divorced priest would not likely be able to continue in parish ministry but might be able to serve in an administrative or social ministry (ie prison or hospital ministry). The Church would have to have a plan for how to deal with a priest whose marriage fails, even if it is through no fault of his own.

Protestant ministers aren’t rotated regularly as priests are, either. This is another area that would need to be completely reassessed if the Church were to make married priests a more common occurance.

Catholic bishops maintain celibacy not linked to pedophilia

Vienna, Austria, Mar 11, 2010 / 08:30 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- After media outlets misinterpreted an article by Cardinal Christoph Schönborn to say that he is questioning the Church’s rule of priestly celibacy, several high ranking churchmen have spoken out in praise of celibacy as a gift. They also dismissed the idea that celibacy is connected to pedophilia.
<…>
“Priestly celibacy is a gift of the Holy Spirit that asks to be understood and lived with fullness of meaning and joy, in total rapport with the Lord,” said Cardinal Hummes, the prefect of the Congregation for Clergy, according to ASCA news of Italy.
<…>
According to an ANSA report on Thursday, Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga, president of Caritas International, said, “I don’t understand how there can be a link between celibacy and child sex abuse,” and noted that the media frenzy only focused on abuse cases involving priests.

Unflinching examination is indeed called for. The archbishop is on the right track.

From the Douay Rheims (catholic) Bible:

“Now the Spirit manifestly saith, that in the last times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to spirits of error, and doctrines of devils, Speaking lies in hypocrisy, and having their conscience seared, Forbidding to marry, to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving by the faithful, and by them that have known the truth. For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be rejected that is received with thanksgiving: For it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer.”

Look no further than the Word of God.

Context, my friend. No one today is forbidden to marry, the problem this passage was addressing. Catholics are not gnostics that consider marriage to be evil. We have only codified the desire of St. Paul, who desired that all be as he was (single) within the narrow confines of those who serve as priest. Yet how many of your preachers do as Paul desired? It is* this* desire upon which celibacy is based, not the dualist, gnostic doctrines condemned above.

Singleness has it’s benefits if one is serving God, but Paul never prohibited marriage. With all due respect, the Word of God says that doctrine like this is demonic no matter who it is being foisted upon. Christian pastors are to be the husband of one wife and run his family well to demonstrate his ability to care for God’s church.

I have to wonder how much more evidence is going to be needed before people actually read the Word of God, look at the world wide corruption and scandal and see the light?

:twocents:

Scandals? are you saying there is no scandals among your doctrines of all should be marriage? do you want me to tell you about the scandals of marriage ministers of your congregations? do you not consider those evil?

celibacy is a Grace from God. Jesus Himself said it: there are eunuchs for the Kingdom of God. in Rev. you will see Jesus talking about men who have never been defiled by women, who have been celibate all their lives, never been wiht women. are you calling this a doctrine of the devil? carefull not to sin against the HS.

Having been molested as a child by a married man, let me say that celibacy or marriage has nothing to do with it. These are sick men no matter who they are. The act is very sckening and should be addressed. The biggest sickness is those who cover up this and hide it under the carpet, for years and then do not want to address it. The whole thing is an abomanation,period. I don’t care if it is Catholic, Protestant or who!!!:eek:

I noticed you avoided answering the question. Well for for Catholics, priest do serve God, and thus celibacy has its benefits. No one at any time is prohibited by Catholic teaching from marriage, as per the literal meaning of the scripture you tried to proof-text and apply here. It is currently a discipline of the Catholic Church that men remain celibate if and only if they choose to become priests, in keeping with what St. Paul wanted in giving God our best.

I have to wonder how much more evidence is going to be needed before people actually read the Word of God, look at the world wide corruption and scandal and see the light?

FYI - I have read the Word of God. I do not accept your personal interpretation of this Scripture, partly because I know the context and the situation that was being addressed, which by the way was one celibate man addressing another celibate.

As far as evidence, there is no evidence linking celibacy and pedophilia.That is why I have no objection to studying the issue again. Pedophelia is a perversion with not easy solution. Men, women, homosexual, heterosexual, single and married have all commited this sin. I know you do not link your Church affiliation other than Christian. In this, we share the first commons scandal: Judas. I pray that others will be more merciful than you have been when some deviant wolf throws on a sheep skin and enters your fold.

Protestant denominations have had more than a sprinkling of pervert pastors as well. The Boy Scouts have had problems. Every day in the news, there is another attractive female teacher who is caught having sex with her male students. The biggest problem with the Catholic Church has been the concerted effort to cover up and relocate these creeps Therefore systematically enabling these abusers constant access to a fresh supply of potential victims.

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