Beneath the child abuse scandal [NCRep]

I rarely put much credence in what I read in the National Catholic Reporter. But this recent article seemed to have the ring of truth. It may be that Sipes may have an agenda, but that still doesn’t mean he is wrong. Can anyone add some context to this article?

Richard Sipe’s work can be found on his web site. He suggested that about half of priests were sexually active at any given time. I don’t think anyone has suggested that Sipe is hostile to Catholicism per se, and has continued to work closely with priests; his work has also been used by the Vatican.

Sipe’s work on the widespread sexually activity of priests was available long before the current crisis became front page news. In fact, I remember when discussions of his work came around briefly in the mid-90s and then quickly disappeared. And, he was actively studying the issue long before that.

I don’t believe it. 50% that ridiculous.

Reading that article and some of the comments (as far down as I could stand) it’s clear that they think it’s impossible to live without sex. That seems to be the view of most people now. If you’re not sexually fulfilled you can’t possibly be happy. If it’s true that a large number of our priests actually are sexually active, could it be that they’ve imbibed the message from popular culture that it’s impossible to control our sexual urges?

I got into an argument with an atheist friend the other day because he kept saying that the Church hates sex and wants to take away people’s pleasure. I said no, the Church wants you to value sex while the whole world is telling you you’re no better than an animal. But that kind of message seems lost on most people today.

How sexually active are our priests?

About three billion dollars in settlement claims worth. They have sex and the parishoniers the pay the bill, under the direction of the bishops.

I’d guess ten percent at MOST.

Just an observation from my side-the overwhelming number of priests are so decent, so wonderful. Yes, they are all men who have faults, but from what I’ve seen, 90 percent, if not higher, are celbiate and doing their best in a difficult job. Are there jobs as stressful as priests? Sure are. Does being a priest mean your a better guy than someone else? Of course not. But priests get a bad rap sometimes.

And this is from someone who is still very angry at the church for allowing this traedy to happen. I think the church has mega problems, but again-90 percent of the priests aren’t the problem.

And the award for sweeping generalization of the week goes to… (drumroll)

The reference to Andrew Greeley was a red flag.

There’s an agenda at work here. It’s another one for the “Don’t [pee] in my ear and tell me it’s raining” file.

Liberals, Communists and sodomites get into positions of influence. Inevitably, their misdeeds are exposed. Then, Liberals Communists and sodomites come along and say that the whole problem is the Church’s opposition to Liberals, Communists and sodomites.

You can see a symptom of this moral/mental illness in the comments section. The proposed solution to clerical sodomy? More sex! Just make it legal… let priests have sex, let there be openly gay priests, let the women get in on the action, etc.

The one and only solution to the problem is the one that Liberals, Communists and sodomites are dead set against: having priests who actually believe in the teachings of the Catholic Faith. Oh, no… to suggest that is to be some caveman who wants to go back to the dark ages of 1961.

Have a look at the book “Goodbye, Good Men”. Why did the seminaries become gay sex palaces? Hint: not because of Conservatives.

Excellent post! I couldn’t agree more. I also agree with Feanor2 and think the numbers in the piece sound a little ridiculous.

I would guess that it’s less than 5%.

Oh, I’d agree with that. I admit I was just pulling the numbers out of the air.

I think we are deluding ourselves if we think that the number is low. We are not taking into consideration the different cultures around the world. I don’t get the impression that other cultures make a big deal out of it like we do. The priest from my parish who was sent back to his country when one of his two mistresses came forward didn’t even seem embarrassed.

Over 50% of Seminarians in America are sodomites. I don’t think the numbers are low. The Catholic clergy is very sick and it needs a cleansing.

I find it bizzare that liberal as a term has assumed such a frightening identity in the US. I’m a liberal, member of an Irish socialist party and would still largely agree with you that priests who actually believe in the teachings of our faith are to be valued. The only priests who should be having sex are those in the eastern Churches who may marry before ordination and those in the western Churches who converted and brought families, including wifes, with them.

I also agree with Padraig Pearce that while the problem is real sweeping generalisations are not a productive manner to approach the issues concerned with.

The continued immorality of the clergy is quite appalling. May God have mercy on their souls.

Well, the article was supposedly referencing studies commissioned by the USCCB/NCCB so I took it to mean a US percentage. And I don’t think it’s anywhere near 50% of US priests.

And on all our souls I would say.

Quite true.

I was a novice in a two-year novitiate of a religious order of men in the early 1980s. At any given time there were approximately twenty novices in the house. During my novitiate, about half of the novices were openly gay. We were located in an urban area, and a good number of the novices went to a nearby gay bar on weekends. At least one novice lost his virginity during novitiate to another novice. In my first year, one of the novices went to a gay bar, picked up a “date”, and brought him back to the novitiate late at night. The “date” proceeded to tie up the novice and went through the house looking for things to steal. There was quite a ruckus when the “date” was discovered and fled the novitiate. In my experience, the heterosexual novices were remained celebate, but only some of the gay novices intended to remain celibate and some clearly were sexually active. For anyone intending to remain celibate as a priest, it was a pretty discouraging experience overall.

I think that heterosexual activity by priests, including keeping wives and having children, is more common outside N. America, such as in Africa, but I have no first-hand knowledge.

I think the article was pretty accurate.

As a “sodomite”, I have to say this…

Historically speaking, Catholic Priests (and I am going back a long way now, think medieval times) weren’t celibate. Monks and Nuns were, of course, but not all Priests. That, it seemed, was because there was nothing against it in the Bible. Of course, then things changed. The rules within the Church changed.

I think that if you have decided to become a Priest, you should abstain from sex because you took the vows (and I am using “you” as in Priests, not anyone here!). So when that vow gets broken, there should be some consequences. However, God is forgiving.

I have no problem with Priests masturbating. I know everyone goes on about it being a sin, but everyone needs an outlet. If God truly wanted them to be comepletely sexless then I doubt He would have let them think about sex to become aroused…

But that is just the thoughts of this Liberal sodomite…

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit