Looking for input on this argument against Celibate Priesthood

So this article in NCR seems to argue that Celibate Priesthood is dangerous. It has convinced two members of my family that are pretty devout. I’m looking for feedback on it.
Thanks and God bless!

Personally, I avoid the NC Reporter like the plague. I’d stick to EWTN, the National Catholic Register, good Catholic sources and Look up good Catholic authors like Fr. Thomas Dubay.

Re celibacy: Our Lord Himself was celibate. All the Apostles except St. Peter were celibate. Celibacy has existed as a discipline in both East and West since the beginning of the Church.

And obviously a good Catholic catechism.


This is an argument for celibacy! True celibacy doesn’t cause any scandal…people should not hide their struggles with food or through decorating but should take it up with God.

If everyone were celibate (edit: and chaste) there’d be none of this secrecy nonsense. I think it is a sign for greater spiritual maturity and more stringent requirements. Anyone in habitual mortal sin of any kind should not be ordained.


Well, perhaps the Holy Spirit wants you to have this link, so that your family can watch it:

It was meant for non Catholics but I believe we can all profit from it.
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It’s annoying how National Catholic Register is so easily confused with National Catholic Reporter.


Pure bilge. Ignore that rag and never read it again! They profane the name “Catholic” and have been asked by thie local Bishop to stop using the term “Catholic” but in their über-progressive rebellion, they refused.


I didn’t confuse the two. The National Catholic Register is a good source. The other one I can’t stand.

Anyone else think it’s ironic that NCR links celibacy to “compromising truth”, while at the same time the whole organization constantly compromised the truth with their reporting?

The article is based on a fallacy. Essentially it says that the requirement for celibacy causes clerics to lie. Why? Because 50% (in their article) are not practicing celibacy (and they are wrong there - it is lack of continence since those theoretical 50% aren’t getting married) so therefore the solution to lying is to get rid of celibacy.

Ummmm… no, the solution to lying is to be truthful and accept the consequences. In this case, if the issue is clerics who lie because they are not holding to continence those consequences are suspension and possibly dismissal from the clerical state.


Thank you.

I know you didn’t. Just commenting about how easy it is to do so.

I think I have muddled them up before!

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Anyone who isn’t married should remain celibate.

People who are married should stay married.

Beyond that, I could argue either way for married priest or celibate ones. The Church however has displayed quite a bit of confusion regarding my first two statements. First allowing priest who aren’t celibate to continue functioning as priest, and second allowing for an inordinate number of annulments with some of the people later being allowed to become priests.

The Bishop himself said in the video link posted. Married persons first responsibility is to their family. I agree with that completely.

Whether or not a priest could carry out his obligations fully as a priest and a husband/father at the same time would most likely be based on the individual themselves. Just like whether or not any given priest carries out their obligation as a priest while being unmarried. Some do not.

Thank you for all the feedback. The response I’m getting now is that if 50% of priest are incontinent, then it’s clearly not working. (Sigh)

St. Paul and Jesus Christ Himself say celibacy is better. That should put to rest the fact that it is dangerous as does centuries of tradition. However, both also say that those who won’t choose it should marry, lest they be burnt.

No one is forced to choose celibacy as no one is forced to become a priest. The problem is those who are seeking and are accepted into the priesthood who don’t want to live continent–its no different than a man who marries one woman, but intends to still be promiscuous. Does the fact that such men exist make marriage dangerous? Such a man should not have been allowed to marry. In fact, 50% of marriages end in divorce–again, do those who fail to live up to their vows invalidate the good of the thing they have transgressed? Should we abolish monogamous marriage? Of course not.

Those who will not embrace continence should not be ordained. Those who violate their promises do not negate the good of those promises

A book that came out a while back called “Goodbye, Good Men” gave an explanation for why so many were ordained who shouldn’t have been (and others turned away who shouldn’t have been). There was also a false idea after Vatican II that celibacy was going to be abolished in the near future and the discipline was taken less seriously for a time. I believe things improved since then, but there is still work to be done.

At the end of the day, there will always be sinners in the Church, including the clergy. Many are called, but few are chosen, as Jesus says.


Excellent points! Thank you!

What about the argument that married pastors create more pastors. About how non-Catholic pastors raise up new pastors (often?), and married priests would therefore likely increase vocations?

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If you haven’t already, I would recommend reading “From the Depths of Our Hearts” by Cardinal Sarah and Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, its a wonderful read and gives great reasons to maintain celibacy in the priesthood.

I wouldn’t touch National Catholic Reporter with a ten foot pole. Stick to National Catholic Register or EWTN.


Thank you👍🏼

New to this forum: Does anyone refute Sipe’s claim (referenced in the article and supposedly what the movie is based upon) or his claimed research that 50% of priests fail in their celibacy or simply are not practicing celibacy? Is there research I’m not finding that disproves this one data point?

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What have you got to back that up? What response? From where? How robust is it?

You are saying fifty percent of priests globally,
I am sighing at any lack of critical thinking of figures like %50

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The issue is not whether celibacy has existed as a discipline. That is irrelevant to the subject. We agree that our Lord was celibate. We don’t know that all of the apostles with the exception of St. Peter were celibate. That is an assumption made from silence. What we do know is that the scriptures provide and even encourage the use of observing a man in his vocations as husband and father to discern whether this person is an acceptable candidate for the priesthood and/or diaconate (1 Timothy 3). The issue here is whether requiring the priesthood to be celibate as a prerequisite for serving in the clerical vocations is commanded or even preferable.

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