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.

Sexual abuse allegations against teachers continue to keep creeping out in the media. Will that cause you to not send your children to school? :hmmm:

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?

The majority of sexual assaults of minors happen in domestic situations. If parents, brothers, and uncles perform these assaults – and they’re often (if not typically) married – then why would you presume that celibacy is the cause of these assaults?

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

Agreed. However, it doesn’t follow that someone who fails at being celibate will become a child molester.

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.

:shrug: I guess that, if you spent the time to research it, you might come to a different conclusion. However, if you let media sound-bites determine your viewpoints… :shrug:

It doesn’t turn you into a pedifile or make you a sexual predator thats ridiculous - these people put them selves in positions where they are near children - their in our schools , work places , day cares , police department - you name it - it isn’t confined to religious people - in my city we recently had police officers charged and fired from the force for this - should I call all police officers potential pedifiles because of this - or all day-care workers - or any adult involved in boy or girl scouts? The answer is no - like I said ridiculous.I’ll add that some of the sexual predators have wives and children - so celibacy is not the cause - they are just evil people.

There are abusers in all parts of society. The fact that one has promised or vowed a life of celibacy is not a determinant.

Come to Atlanta and I’ll take you to a sexual addiction recovery support group where about 150 Protestant pastors, youth ministers and music ministers meet every Monday night.

Those who are celibate for God’s kingdom are called to be so by God. Many more people than most non-Catholics realize - consecrated religious brothers and sisters, Franciscans, Dominicans, Carmelites and Benedictines, as well as priests and deacons - live out lives of celibacy and purity every day. It takes a high level of abandonment to and reliance upon God.


The answer regarding marriage is NO. That is not a factor in abuse.

Regarding attending the Catholic Church due to the actions of a very small number of members, let me ask some (rhetorical questions):

Do you attend a Protestant church?

I would also point to schools, sports coaches, club leaders, etc. ALL of these have many instances of abuse.

This is a problem of the human condition-- original sin-- not the Catholic Church.

in my humble opinion…first of all being a priest does not auttomatically exclude them from temptations and sin. in fact it’s been said many times, that priests undergo severe and extremely difficult temptations by the devil. they are human beings and as we are all continually tempted …by the things of the world…they are more so.
second of all…to only look at the wrongs…whether it be the catholic church,
a relationship, a job…or what have you…it becomes a step backword and away from the graces and benefits of seeing the good.
third of all…if you look more closely at the history of catholocism…and the old and new testaments…you will find that like Christ who ,for lack of better words, was engaged, solely, to fulfill the scriptures of the old testament and bring us salvation in the new testament. Christ remained alone to do this…and so our priests who make a committment and go through rigourous training before taking the vows, become Christ’s apostle’s for us in all the centuries that followed. as we see from the many schisms, men
found it extremely difficult to lead a life of celibacy, poverty…and broke away from following Christ, by getting married and having families. the catholic church enforces the celibacy for we want our priests to devout their entire lives to Christ and to help and aid us in getting closer to Christ via all the sacraments and Masses. they don’t have to worry about all the things a husband worries about for his wife and children…because the Church is his wife and we are his children, so to speak.
if that is the only thing that is keeping you from joining the catholic church…i think you have to remember that there is so much more that you are missing…from someone who did a self-study course in comparitive religions…i came to the conclusion that the “catholic church is where it’s at”…each Mass is a different learning lesson.
and lastely…remember…that Christ came to forgive sins…died on the cross for sins…went through 33 years of solitude, humbleness…emerging with mercy and love for all of us…sinners. and Christ is alive and amoung us…
may the guidance of the Holy Spirit help you

All great answers above…Gorgias…simple and on point…:thumbsup:

I am going to address one aspect as ti relates to celibacy…
As already pointed out by others, celibacy has NO bearing on the likelihood of sexual abuse.

That said, relaxing the celibacy requirement could have positive effect by creating a much larger pool of candidates to the priesthood thus allowing the Church to deal more swiftly and firmly with actual and potential abuse at all levels - from screening during discernment to removing priests from pastoral positions etc.
But - as will be readily noted - this is a secondary benefit and a change in the celibacy requirement should not be made for this reason but rather because it seems good to the Holy Spirit and to the Church to do so.


I am a teacher. We have to have a lot of training on issues of abuse. The vast majority of abusers are men who are in a sexual relationship. In fact, the children that they abuse are usually the children of their sexual partner.

There are weekly stories of abuse by teachers as well as amongst protestant sects but they never get the same media attention as anything that involves Catholics. And the abuse by monks in Buddhist countries is on a scale that staggers the mind.

I can vouch for that. I was molested by my father around age 4; he is a married man. I have been recovering for 2 years now. He continues to deny it and has convinced everyone in my family that I am delusional or in need of drugs- but I know and God knows. These cases are more common than some may believe.

Abuse is a devastating thing (I know that well), but usually, priests are the people you turn to for help when you don’t have anyone to trust. That’s what I did when I remembered the abuse after many years of repression; I went to an old retired priest. He helped me to escape the situation.

There are various approaches to celibacy; the East has theirs (a tiered system where non-celibate priests can never rise in the hierarchy) and the West has theirs (all priests give up marriage and kids in order to make all people their kids).

The Latin Rite vocations crisis in the US doesn’t appear to have had anything to do with celibacy. It does seem to have had a lot to do with post-Sixties seminary teachers and environments that discouraged holiness and celibacy, and with parishes that failed to encourage vocations or Catholic teaching. God sowed the seeds; we failed to harvest them. Like most famines, it was manufactured by bad government and distribution.

The archdiocese in which I live went from having about twelve guys in seminary to about 45, within about four years. As soon as certain people stopped standing in the way, and the new vocations director and the new archbishop started encouraging vocations and cleaning up the seminary, magically the vocations appeared.

The abuse was almost entirely homosexual in nature. The vast majority of victims were males over the age of 13. That does not fit the clinical nor legal definition of pedophilia.

The media celebrates homosexuality as normal. The media could therefor never call homosexuality a “Problem” so they characterized the whole thing as “Pedophile priests.”

I can take anyone to a large Baptist Church here in the Atlanta suburbs were about 150 non-Catholic pastors, youth ministers and music ministers all participate in a sexual addiction recovery group every Monday night. The men who go admit to every sexual deviancy imaginable in their testimony/witness talks and in their small groups. Most of them will tell you flat-out that they thought that getting married was going to solve their problems. They will tell you how they thought that “legitimate sex” was going to be an outlet for them so that they no longer needed to act out their deviance. Man after man will tell you that getting married did nothing to curb their behavior.

It has nothing to do with celibacy.

I havn’t had sex, havn’t looked at porn and havn’t been impure with myself in over five years. According to some, that’s grounds for having my daughters taken away and getting a court order preventing me from going within 1000 feet of a school. :shrug:

The Catholic Church in Amerca is one of the safest places on the planet for children today. The ammount of paperwork and background checks I had to go through just to be able to train altar servers and the level of safeguards in place are staggering. But you won’t read on the front page of the NY Times or the Boson Globe how the USCCB hired the FBI’s chief child abuse expert to design their child protection program. You’ll never see that on CNN.


The only objective reason to reject a teaching is if the teaching is false.

See the linked article below:

I have a few questions for you that I hope will prompt you to think and maybe do some further investigation.
Would this keep you from sending your children to school? There was a series of articles dealing with abuse in public schools–just that it was for the most part ignored. One fact that came from the investigation is that schools have a name for those teachers that they pass from school to school–it’s called “passing the trash”. And they don’t tell the school that gets their trash that their were any “issues”.

The vast majority of abuse occurs in the family–will you shun all families?

What about the Boy Scouts? They have been in the news lately.

In the news recently were a couple of stories regarding medical professionals who abused patients who were put under–are you going to stop going to the doctor?

These are not isolated cases. We live in a sex obsessed culture–just turn on the TV or look through the adds in most magazines–sex promotes everything. Look at the way they dress up little kids for “beauty” pagents. How about those sexy halloween costumes marked to little kids. This is an issue that affects every segment of society–especially families.

The reason to join the Church has to do with the truth of its teachings–that is what you should be concerned with. You will find sinful people who fail to live up to their vows–in every walk of life. If you avoided everything that had people who had done things that were wrong–you wouldn’t do anything.

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?

Are you aware that most abuse occurs in the family often at the hands of a married man --even by the father? Are you aware that protestant clergy and youth ministers have also been found guilty of this? It might be helpful if you were to review the statistics on child abuse and sexual abuse in general regarding who commits it. Also our youth minsters are allowed to be married.

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.

Being attracted to children and young adolescents–is a sickness–not the result of celebacy. The fact that many abusers are married men just like Mr. Sandusky of Penn State infamy should tell any reasonable person that.

The percentage of priests that abused children was very small–this does not excuse them but please look at our society as a whole and the rate of abuse there. Don’t you have the feeling that something is not right in our society? Are you going to rush out of our society?

The reason to join or not join the Catholic Church should not be the behavior of some of its priests or of its professed members but rather the truth of it’s teachings. If it is truly the Church that Christ founded then why wouldn’t you want to belong? The clergy have done their best to destroy the Church for 2000 years and yet Christ has protected it and its teachings–that is something to think about.

Finally if the sex abuse scandal is going to be your standard–then you need to take a serious look around and hold all other institutions, professions, families, and our society to that same standard and from what I have seen–you will need to buy an island somewhere and move there to live in solitude.

I hope and pray that you will take a deeper look at this issue and at our society and will take some time to study the actual teachings of the Church so that you can make an informed decision and not one influenced by the popular media and the stories it choses to promote or to ignore. People will always let you down. Look to Christ and his Church --the Church where his teachings don’t change to fit popular culture and desire.


When the sexual abuse scandal first hit the news, I was not yet a Catholic.

I remember feeling so sorry for the parishioners on the news, you could see the heartbreak in their eyes.

In 2008 I became Catholic. The abuse scandal was awful but it was never a reason for me to doubt the truth of the church.

You need to really research this and you will find that most of the cases took place many years ago when sexual abuse crimes were thought to be curable. In any case most of the abuse cases were not pedophilia which is defined as sexual feelings toward children. Most of the cases in the church were toward teenage boys and would actually be homosexual.

Celibacy of the Catholic Priest Supported by Scripture

Many people believe that the Catholic Church violates the Word of God because it forbids people to marry (cf. 1 Timothy 4:3) and that it is wrong for priests to remain celibate. To get a clearer picture of this issue, let’s examine what the Bible has to say about the subject of celibacy.

Matthew 19:11-12
11Jesus replied, “Not everyone can accept this word, but only those to whom it has been given. 12For some are eunuchs because they were born that way; others were made that way by men; and others have renounced marriage because of the kingdom of heaven. The one who can accept this should accept it.”

Jesus offers the celibate life as a gift and tells us that “The one who can accept this should accept it.”

1 Corinthians 7:1
1Now for the matters you wrote about: It is good for a man not to marry.

1 Corinthians 7:7
7I wish that all men were as I am. But each man has his own gift from God; one has this gift, another has that.

Paul reveals his own celibacy and offers an earnest wish that more people would follow his example.

1 Corinthians 7:8-9
8Now to the unmarried and the widows I say: It is good for them to stay unmarried, as I am. 9But if they cannot control themselves, they should marry, for it is better to marry than to burn with passion.

Paul concedes that getting married is better than struggling with sexual temptation; for those that “cannot control themselves, they should marry.”

Is Paul completely opposed to marriage? Not at all. The book of Hebrews states:

Hebrews 13:4
Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral.

Why then does Paul recommend celibacy?

1 Corinthians 7:32-35
32I would like you to be free from concern. An unmarried man is concerned about the Lord’s affairs—how he can please the Lord. 33But a married man is concerned about the affairs of this world—how he can please his wife— 34and his interests are divided. An unmarried woman or virgin is concerned about the Lord’s affairs: Her aim is to be devoted to the Lord in both body and spirit. But a married woman is concerned about the affairs of this world—how she can please her husband. 35I am saying this for your own good, not to restrict you, but that you may live in a right way in undivided devotion to the Lord.

From this passage, we can see Paul’s primary reason for advocating celibacy: he wants everyone to live in undivided devotion to the Lord, and in all of these verses, the Bible makes it clear that Jesus calls some men to the priesthood and offers them the gift of a celibate life to be lived in undivided devotion to God. Paul understands that not everyone is offered this gift and that not all to whom it is offered can or will accept it.

There are Catholic priests who are married; typically, these are men who were priests in the Anglican, Orthodox or other faith traditions and have converted to the Catholic faith after they were married in those churches. Under special circumstances, they may be ordained to serve as Catholic priests. Men who are already Catholic when they begin to discern their call to the priesthood must remain celibate.

The Catholic Church forbids no man to marry. However, she does desire that those who will represent Christ, who will stand in persona Christi (in the place of Christ) when administering the sacraments as priests, be like their Lord as fully as possible. This means that like Jesus, they are celibate men prepared to sacrifice their own lives in the service of God and others.

The calling and the gift is offered by God; those who choose to accept it do so freely. Here is an article, “Celibacy is a Gift”, that explains this more fully:

Articles on Celibacy

Celibacy and the Priesthood

The theological basis for priestly celibacy
By Max Thurian, Theologian

**Celibacy Is a Gift **
By Greg Mockeridge

How To Argue For Priestly Celibacy
By Jason Evert

Now that is very interesting.

I appreciate all the responses here.
I do intend on “making an informed decision”
It is helpful when i have access to a forum where people are
informed about doctrine or are aware of social issues.
I will continue to research on my own and use the links and resources provided.
Thanks again.

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