Philly archdiocese puts 21 priests on leave

Philly archdiocese puts 21 priests on leave

Celibacy does not cause pedophilia, and marriage doesn’t cure it. What priestly celibacy does cause, however, is a priest shortage. What its relaxation would provide is a cleansing flood of pastoral talent that would allow the Church to far more choosy in whom it allows to become and remain priests.

As to celibacy as a requirement, there is really no sound biblical basis for it. Even a well thought-out argument like this one overlooks something crucial; namely, that Paul, in the passages most often cited, is generally at pains to point out (see 1 Cor 7) that he emphasizes celibacy not as a commandment from God, but only as matter of his own judgment.

Now, we could say, “Hey look, Paul, the third Council of Carthage in 397 confirmed your letters as canonical, so your judgments are those of the Holy Spirit, whether you like it or not.”

I’d suggest that we not say that, though, and recognize priestly celibacy as purely Of Man, sustained by nothing more than precedent, and therefore eminently subject to current needs and practicality.

No Biblical basis? Yeah right…
Priestly celibacy is unBiblical. NOT!

Sexualitywithin marraige is a gift from God. Celebicy is also a gift from God. Both serve for the betterment of the body of Christ.

If priestly celibacy causes shortage, why don’t we have an overwhelming number of Eastern Catholic and Orthodox? They allow for married priests.

Celibacy is actually a foretelling of the heavenly state. Remember that Christ said that in heaven we will not be married. Instead we all collectively will be married to Christ as His bride the Church. So celibacy is forgoing the marriage of this world for the union in the life to come.


For a genuinely coherent defense of priestly celibacy, see here as posted before.

To you maybe, but the fact is that the article that I wrote is more inline with your original (and errant) argument.

YOU said that there is no Biblical basis…
Wanna retract, since I show that you are wrong?

To you maybe, but the fact is that the article that I wrote is more inline with your original (and errant) argument.

YOU said that there is no Biblical basis…
Wanna retract, since I show that you are wrong?

A fair point. Two things in response:

  1. I googled the phrase ‘priest shortage’ and could find no evidence of any non-Catholic shortage.

  2. If the only consideration is practical, i.e. whether or not relaxation of the standard would work, then it’s worth a try, no?

Yikey crikey, calm down, dude. I read your article twice. As an essay, it’s about as organized as my closet, and I couldn’t find anything that ties ministry to celibacy anywhere near as well as the Vatican’s article does.

Having said that, I want to hear your views on making a distinction between Paul’s self-described “own judgment” vs. commandments. Do you think there is a distinction? Discuss.

What causes a priest shortage is fear and secularization. If celibacy caused priest shortage, than there would have always been a priest shortage throughout the history of the Church, and that just isn’t the case. This horrific case in Philly is unrelated to the argument being presented here and should be under a different title.

Another very fair point. I submit though, that rejection of celibacy is a large part of secularization and constitutes, therefore, a main cause of the priest shortage. It isn’t the only cause, though, as you justly point out.

I disagree with your statement that celibacy is the cause of the priest shortage. Seems to me that lifting the celibacy requirement of priesthood to increase the number of priests would be similar to softening the Church’s stance on birth control to increase the number of practicing Catholics. One of the reasons why I am Catholic is due to the fact that our church leaders do not cave in to what society thinks is best. In fact, it is my belief that we are still here 2000 years later for that very reason. The priest shortage is most likely a symptom of how our society currently values religion much rather than a bunch of men saying to themselves, “I think I would become a priest if it weren’t for that pesky celibacy clause!”

I’m sure the Vatican has almighty google at their fingertips as well and they have also considered the consequences of celibacy in the clergy and have in fact been considering it for hundreds of years. Is the fact that Christ Himself, chose to be celibate not biblical enough?

Our church leaders do not need armchair quarterbacks telling them how to define dogma. What the Catholic church needs to aleviate the priest shortage is more practicing Catholics. If families had more than one or two children and encouraged them in their vocations, then there would not be a priest shortage. We are paying the piper, so to speak, for “I did it MYYYYYY way” Catholicism.

That’s my two cents thrown in to the discussion.

A really compelling response, thank you so much. You’re right to point out that there is no statistical evidence about WHY so few Catholic men want to minister, compared to other religions/denominations. At least, not that Google can turn up for me. :wink:

It’s also perfectly valid to point out that more Catholic children would result in more priests. That’s simple math.

Yet, it is, centuries of consideration notwithstanding, a very modern problem, for which there is (or so I argue) no definitive biblical guidance. Jesus’ celibacy means priests must be celibate? Um, well, maybe, but see above.

Thanks again.

Also, herewith a re-connection to the subject line.

My really central thesis is that a whooshing, churning, passionate influx of pastoral talent would do the Church a world of good, and would flush out so much that is very, very bad; and that opening the priesthood to married men (there being, as I argue, no sound biblical logic against it) would result in such an influx.

The number of priests who have ever been accused of child abuse in Philly is **less than 1%. **


  1. Before this Grand Jury the there were 95 who have ever been accused - not charged: see (

  2. Even adding all **37 **priests (it should only be 21 but let’s remove any opportunity for argument and make the figure as big as possible) from the recent Grand Jury brings the total priest accused to 132 (95+37).

  3. The Philly diocese has had at least **1500 **priests in the period in question (

  4. 132/1500 = less than 1% clergy have ever been accused.

This is a horrible number but much less than school teachers, scouts and protestant pastors.

That is hardly the case. The Episcopalians and the Orthodox allow for married clergy and they have just as much trouble staffing parishes as we do

Paul’s not the issue here, Christ is. He set the standard and the Catholic Church of the Latin Rite maintains its discipline in accordance with that. You stated that there was no biblical basis for it, which I proved to be mistaken.
Again: Wanna retract?

My article is organized enough to have got that point across, especially since it’s based on posts made here at CAF

Meanwhile, I am wondering what a professing Buddhist cares one way or another, since I found the following about your own monks.
The Buddhist World: Lay Buddhist’s Guide to the Monk’s Rules

[LEFT]Monks and nuns lead lives of total celibacy in which any kind of sexual behaviour is forbidden. This includes even suggestive speech or physical contact with lustful intent, both of which are very serious offences for monks and nuns. As one’s intent may not always be obvious (even to oneself), and one’s words not always guarded, it is a general principle for monks and nuns to refrain from any physical contact with members of the opposite sex. Monks should have a male present who can understand what is being said when conversing with a lady, and a similar situation holds true for nuns.[/LEFT]
[LEFT]Much of this standard of behaviour is to prevent scandalous gossip or misunderstanding occurring. In the stories that explain the origination of a rule, there are examples of monks being accused of being a woman’s lover, of a woman’s misunderstanding a monk’s reason for being with her, and even of a monk being thrashed by a jealous husband![/LEFT]
[LEFT]So, to prevent such misunderstanding, however groundless, a monk has to be accompanied by a man whenever he is in the presence of a woman; on a journey; or sitting alone in a secluded place (one would not call a meditation hall or a bus station a secluded place). Generally, monks would also refrain from carrying on correspondence with women, other than for matters pertaining to the monastery, travel arrangements, providing basic information, etc. When teaching Dharma, even in a letter, it is easy for inspiration and compassion to turn into attachment.[/LEFT]

[LEFT]and in searching further I found this about Buddha, which I had not known before.



See also: Sexuality and Buddhism
The rule of celibacy in the Buddhist religion, whether Mahayana or Theravada, has a long history. Celibacy was advocated as an ideal rule of life for all monks and nuns by Gautama Buddha, however in Japan it is not strictly followed due to historical political developments. Siddhartha Gautama, later known as the Buddha, is very well known for his renunciation of his wife, Princess Yasodharā, and son, Rahula. In order to pursue an ascetic life, he needed to renounce aspects of the impermanent world, including his wife and son. Later on both his wife and son joined the ascetic community and are mentioned in the Buddhist texts to have become enlightened.

Oh, and IIRC there has been an upsurge in the Diaconate, so that certainly helps with staffing and can relieve some sacramental needs as stated in What can’t a deacon do?

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