Impediments to becoming catholic

So I have been dating a roman catholic for almost four years now.
I have tried to imagine myself going to mass every sunday and becoming more fully
aquainted with the catholic faith. However there are some things that would impede this process. One of those things would have to be the sexual abuse allegations that have continually kept creeping out into the news media.

I grew up protestant. And I keep wondering if one of the reasons why priests or other youth ministers keep getting caught up in these situations are due to the reason that the catholic church does not allow most priests to marry?

If we understand our weaknesses as human beings, it takes someone very special to be able to remain celibate indefinitely.

So obviously the feelings that keep me from rushing over to a catholic church to join would be the " something isn’t right here" kind of feeling.

Celibacy has nothing to do with it. If it did, how come the Boy Scouts have the same problem? Most Scoutmasters are not only married, but they have sons in the program!

There was also a report that was put out a few years ago that showed the number of sexual abuse claims against protestant ministers was actually higher than those of Catholic priests.

Nobody knows the real reasons these things happen, but they happen in all walks of life. I read not to long ago where an entire public schools staff was let go because of abuse. (California I believe)

Read here, and here.

You have to remember other prominent scandals like, Jim Bakker, Ted Haggard, Jimmy Swaggart, and Eddie Long. All of these were married men who stepped outside of the their marital bonds.

People are human. They are not perfect. They sin.

So, while you may not be “rushing” to the Catholic Church, you may want to watch which protestant one you rush to.

BTW, was there a question in your OP, or were you just making a pronouncement?

You might consider just asking this one time, rather than starting multiple topics in various sub-forums, with the exact same topic and posts… :wink:

Here is an interesting study on the safety of children in our public schools.

It is strange to me that the media has not picked up on the sexual abuse in our public schools and other secular organizations. A public school educator will be move from school to school and there is no outcry from the media.

What very often is not understood by non-Catholics and non-Christians is the spiritual aspect of the vocation of being priests. It is a calling. No matter how much one wants to be a priest if it is not his calling, he will not be one. Similarly he will be one even how unlikely it seems to be for him if it is his calling.

As rightly been said, studies and statistic show that sexual abuse happen in a higher percentage among ordinary men than celibate priests. Perhaps being in their vocation being priests of God do protect them to some extent from the sin of sexual abuse.

Denying a man the opportunity of sex within marriage does not turn him into a pedophile - if anything, that man would be having affairs with adult women. A pedophile has a particular mindset and orientation that is turned on by children, and they are not a substitute for adult women - it is prepubescence that attracts them.

Your argument seems to be along the lines of reasoning as some one who says “I don’t want to enter marriage because some men abuse their wives…”. Sort of an invalid justification based upon others sinful actions. Join the church, Get a ring on your finger and grow in your faith.

Good luck.

Even if you still have questions or concerns, I would encourage you to talk with the priest and/or sit in on RCIA. RCIA is a great place to work through these issues.

Of course, the sex abuse crisis is a terrible thing and a major source of scandal. We can never excuse it. That said, I would encourage you to take a closer look at the numbers. The vast majority of the sex abuse cases occurred in the 60’s, 70’s, and early 80s. Even the new articles we see crop up from time to time are largely in reference to crimes perpetrated in that time frame.

The Catholic Church takes these cases very seriously. Pick any diocese in the U.S. and go to their diocesan website and you will see something about child protection right on the front page. Anyone that works with children in a Catholic setting is required to have a background check and complete some form of child protection training. Right now, the Catholic Church is probably the safest place in the world to be.

I am in RCIA right now and the one thing that I admire about the Catholic Church, ( I have been a protestant for 55 years) is the high level of education of our priests in comparison to the somewhat level of education of protestant ministers. The priest are very highly educated and knowledgable. They are also human. The fact that they are not allowed to marry and have a family is a plus, because this allows them to devote more of their energy and time to their parish and God. If you look further than the media, you will easily discover problems in all denominations and groups, not just the Catholic Church.
Yes, it is very sad what has and is happening, but the fact remains, many children in the school system are also being abused in this way by their own teachers. That doesn’t mean that I’d stop sending my child to school.
I will pray God to direct you to making an informed decision.

The Catholic Church has one of the best programs to help prevent abuse from happening in the future. It’s called “Protecting God’s Children” and is required of all staff and volunteers to take this 4 hour course. The abuse of the past and how it was dealt with is extremely unfortunate, but the Catholic Church has come to the forefront in making sure that the possibility of future abuse is minimized.

No doubt about it, the sex abuse scandal in the Church has been horrific and has brought about a crisis of trust and confidence in bishops and priests. If nothing had been done to fix it, who could be blamed for leaving the Church? But the fact is, much has been done. Sin knows no creed, race, or geographic boundary. Sin has always been present in the Church. What makes the Church different than other organizations in the world is that through its history it has reformed itself and tried to walk more clearly in the light. So it has happened with the sex abuse scandal. After the revelations came to light and the depth of the scandal was revealed, the Church pulled itself together, exposed the problem, put in programs and rules to stop the abuse and to this day continues to aggressively wipe this scandal from its midst and make sure children are protected. No other institution in the world-and sex abuse is rampant everywhere-has done what the Church has done to reform itself. This should give hope to all its members. When you come back to the Church you will find information in parish lobbies and in the diocesan newspaper advocating vigilance. You will find priests and parishioners well versed in protecting the littlest amongst us. The Church is not perfect, but it knows how to repent, and it is a stronger and more purified Church now because of its willingness to admit its sinfulness.

A few years ago a survey was done of all the sex abuse scandals and guess which one had the lowest , you guessed it the Catholic Church

Just as same sex attraction is debated, there are debates on whether sexual attraction to prepubescence sex is something that one is born with and can not help, or if it is one’s upbring, or a combination of both, or a matter of choice.

Of course we need to understand the difference between men and women who are sexually attracted prepubescence children and the sexual abuse of children between the ages of let’s say 12 and 18.

For a 25 year old man to be sexually attracted to a beautiful 17 year old girl is not a mental illness but to act on that attraction is and should morally evil.

A 25 year old man to be sexually attracted to a 10 year old is definitely mentally ill and for him to act on that attraction is and should be morally evil.

For a man who deals with same sex attraction who finds a young 17 year old boy sexually attractive is not a pedophile this attraction is called pederasty. While acting on pederasty is and should be morally evil it is not the same a pedophilia. The majority of scandals with in the church and with in public schools falls within the definition of pederasty.

To act on pederasty is always a choice of action. Adults need to learn to keep their hands to themselves when dealing with young people.

It’s funny, but no one holds ‘fathers’ responsible as a class for those fathers who abuse children .

Nobody holds ‘teachers’ responsible as a class for those teachers who abuse children.

Nobody holds protestant pastors or Jewish rabbis or Buddhist monks or Wicca warlocks or . . .well, you get the point.

I think one ‘reason’ (put in quotes because it is based on an error in understanding) that people blame ‘Catholic priests’ and ‘The Church’** as a whole for sexual abuse **(unlike any other individual or group) is that someone people have misunderstood that the teaching that the Catholic Church is the One True Church, and that its teachings on faith and morals are infallibly true, somehow means that "**The Church is claiming to be perfect, therefore it must have perfect people, and since an individual/individuals in the Church sin, therefore, the Church is wrong in its teaching of being ‘perfect’. **

That in itself is bad enough, but it gets worse.

Because in addition to misunderstanding the Church and thinking it claims to have perfect people (which it never did). . .

Then there is a huge leap in ILLOGIC TO: "Since the Church claims to be perfect and it has sinful priests, THEREFORE the reason for the sin is related to those people BEING priests. Therefore, it isn’t just an individual in a ‘normal’, i.e. ‘not claiming to be perfect’ Church making a personal sin --it is a monster, a member of a Church which is not just wrong but deliberately, satanically wrong–showing just how AWFUL the Church is by proving that its priests are the lowest of the low, scummiest of the scum, abusers by virtue of their CLASS. . .and of course, since the ONLY VISIBLE difference between a Catholic priest and a ‘normal’ man is that a priest is celibate and the ‘normal’ man has an option to marry, then the whole REASON for the abuse must be the unnatural, evil Church’s DEMAND that the priest be celibate.'

It is so incredibly illogical that most people don’t even TRY to explore the rationale behind their beliefs.

They don’t even TRY to take out the erroneous assumption that ‘celibacy means people will abuse children’, by examining the fact that everywhere ELSE, celibacy has nothing whatsoever to do with child abuse. . .because if they did, they would lose a big ‘plank’ in their reason to ‘blame the Church’ and ‘call the Church wrong.’

As it is, the biggest gift to antiCatholics is the unquestioned media assumption that "celibacy equals child abuse’ that it takes as a given and disseminates on and on and on, no matter how often that ‘assumption’ is proven to be wrong.

There is really no reason to yell. If you can get into your thinking that the Church is a hospital for sinners and not a country club for saints you may have a better understanding that, yes indeed we are all sinners and fall short of the glory of God.


So I have been dating a roman catholic for almost four years now.
I have tried to imagine myself going to mass every sunday and becoming more fully
aquainted with the catholic faith. However there are some things that would impede this process. One of those things would have to be the sexual abuse allegations that have continually kept creeping out into the news media.

JP…Canuch said it better on what I was trying to say. The actions of the catholic church in correcting the abuses, and its reaction…and actions…reveal its divine nature and in reforming itself.

The CC, headed by the Pope…realizing the extent of the problem…took stock…look at itself…and went back to its ancient creeds…to reform itself.

If I may, I recommend that you go back in history…to the time of a reformer prior to Luther…Catherine of Sienna. She wanted reform in the Church…she was in fact rebuked and ignored by the pope of her time and variosu cardinals. But she never waivered…she never stopped praying and trusting in God…and eventually, the Church reformed itself.

Keep this passage in mind…1sam 15…22 But Samuel replied:

“Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices
as much as in obeying the Lord?
To obey is better than sacrifice,
and to heed is better than the fat of rams.
23 For rebellion is like the sin of divination,
and arrogance like the evil of idolatry.
Because you have rejected the word of the Lord,
he has rejected you as king.”

I’ve never heard of priests abusing little girls–just boys so the fact that priests can’t marry has little or nothing to do with it.

It is not that they are not “allowed” to marry. They all go through a long process of discernment about whether they have the gift of celibacy. The vows are entered into freely by each candidate, and there are multiple opportunities to change one’s mind. They embrace this discipline because they believe they are called to it.

The Church can choose either celibate or married priests to serve, but she prefers to choose from among those called to celibacy due to the great need for this gift, especially in the Western Church.

This would be interesting to further research

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