While NCR is pure garbage, I’ll try and refute some of their main points:
“That was my first major finding. Only 50% of the [Catholic] clergy are celibate.
I remember this line from when I saw Spotlight. I’m not sure where that psychologist got his numbers, but it’s way over the top. I have never seen anything to back that number up. It’s one guy with an agenda making a claim. While there are certainly priests who have fallen (because we’re all human), to suggest that every other priest is carrying on sexual liaisons is just bonkers. Remember, this is a married ex-priest making the claim, so I tend to doubt the objectivity of the study.
But the fact remains that this creates a culture of secrecy that tolerates and even protects pedophiles."
This is definitely a stretch. And most abuse occurs in the family anyway, often by married men.
Again, the cases of McCarrick and Bransfield illustrate this “celibacy wound” compensation. Both men decorated lavishly and traveled luxuriously. Both allegedly carried on secret sexual liaisons, evidently trying to heal their “celibacy” wound.
Correlation does not equal causation. How does living decadently necessarily prove anything about celibacy? Referencing two bishops who happened to live less than holy lives doesn’t prove anything. Many married men live lavishly and carry on affairs. Is that due to the “celibacy wound“ as well?
Celibacy is not essential to holiness. Many saints were married and had children. The Second Vatican Council said there is a universal call to holiness. If celibacy were essential to holiness, then most of the church could not be holy.
Nobody is saying celibacy is essential to holiness. Therefore, the point is moot.
Celibacy is not essential to Catholic priesthood.
This is correct. As it stands, celibacy is a changeable practice. But the Church does value celibacy and sees merit in it.
But, most important of all, Jesus did not mandate celibacy.
The only time Jesus talked about celibacy was in the context of marriage and divorce.
And? Jesus doesn’t provide a list of every little thing we believe and practice as Catholics. He also doesn’t talk about every single moral issue. Jesus doesn’t specifically discuss abortion, does that mean abortion is okay? He also doesn’t talk about the death penalty. Is the death penalty okay too? (I suspect most NCR readers would say no).
As lay Catholics, we are allowed to have our own opinion on the issue of priestly celibacy, as it’s not an issue of divine law. Still, even if we disagree, we have to respect the Church’s current practice. I don’t see the arguments listed above as good reasons to get rid of priestly celibacy. Furthermore, celibacy indeed has its merits, as been demonstrated by St. Paul as well as centuries of saints in the Church; so, we should not attack the idea of celibacy in principle.