Pope says favors celibacy for priests but door open to change

Please demonstrate that there a causal link between celibacy and child sexual abuse. I believe this is an untrue assertion. Where are the statistics to back this up? If what you claim is true, there would far fewer married abusers than there actual is.

What about the 1000 years when priests were allowed to marry? Was the church wrong for all those years.

I’m a bit tired of that claim too. In my mind they have nothing to do with each other. Besides, being sexually active doesn’t prevent men from abusing children, cheating on their wife, or using porography.

Besides, the problem with the sex abuse scandal was the cover up. Does celibacy cause men to cover up the crimes of others?

Apparently tho it isn’t as ancient as priests being allowed to be married, correct?

As far as, “Why can’t things just stay the way they are?”

Ever given any thought as to whether or not this same sentiment was expressed when the celibacy of priests came to be the “norm” as opposed to the discretion of the individual involved?

Are you implying that Jesus started with a “diluted priesthood” since as least one of the original Apostles had a mother-in-law?

As far as “per the tradition of the Church”, this is a “tradition” that had a start and before that “tradition” started, the tradition was that there were married and unmarried in the priesthood which seems to be what the original priesthood had if one considers the priesthood as coming from the Apostles.

Wouldn’t this make the celibate optional priesthood the original tradition?

So, in your opinion, should we stick with the “newer tradition” or go back to the “older tradition” which could very well be considered the original tradition?

It probably wasn’t, although I have no way of knowing.

In the 1100s, there was not the groundswell of criticism from the sinners’ seats every time the Church Hierarchy made a decision.

There was also an understanding that there is no right to ordination, and as such the Church had every right to determine the conditions under which it is granted.


Not just plausible, PS. Mr. Jenkins’ research suggest a similar finding. From the same linked article,

Myth #6 - Homosexuality isn’t connected to pedophilia.

This is plainly false. Homosexuals are three times as likely to be pedophiles as heterosexual men. Although exclusive pedophilia (adult attraction to prepubescent children) is an extreme and rare phenomenon, one third of homosexual men are attracted to teenage boys (Jenkins, Priests and Pedophilia). The seduction of teenage boys by homosexual men is a well-documented phenomenon. This form of deviant behavior is the most common type of clerical abuse and is directly connected to homosexual behavior.

As Michael Rose shows in his upcoming book, Goodbye! Good Men, there’s an active homosexual sub-culture within the Church. This is due to several factors. The Church’s confusion in the wake of the sexual revolution of the 1960s, the tumult following the Second Vatican Council, and the greater approval of homosexual behavior in the culture at large created an environment in which active homosexual men were admitted to and tolerated in the priesthood. The Church also came to rely more on the psychiatric profession for screening candidates and for treating those priests identified as having problems. In 1973, the American Psychological Association changed its characterization of homosexuality as an objectively disordered orientation and removed it from the Diagnostic and Statistic Manual IV (Nicolosi, J., 1991, Reparative Therapy of Male Homosexuality, 1991; Diamond, E., et. al., Homosexuality and Hope, unpublished CMA document). The treatment of deviant sexual behaviors followed suit.

While the Church’s approach to those who struggle with homosexual attractions has been compassionate, she has been consistent in maintaining the view that homosexuality is objectively disordered and that marriage between a man and woman is the proper context for sexual activity.

Importantly, the following is also a myth.

Myth #7 - The Catholic hierarchy has done nothing to address pedophilia.

While we can all agree that the hierarchy hasn’t done enough, this claim is nevertheless false. When the Church’s Code of Canon Law was revised in 1983, an important passage was added: “The cleric who commits any other offense against the sixth precept of the Decalogue, if the offense was committed with violence or threats, or publicly or with a minor who is under 16 years [now extended to 18 years], must be punished with just punishments, not excluding expulsion from the clerical state” (CIC 1395:2).

But that certainly isn’t the only thing the Church has done. The bishops, beginning with Pope Paul VI in 1967, issued a warning to the Catholic faithful concerning the negative consequences of the sexual revolution. The pope’s encyclical letter, “On the Celibacy of the Priests,” addressed the question of a celibate priesthood in the face of a culture crying out for greater sexual “freedom.” The pope affirmed celibacy even as he called on bishops to take responsibility for “fellow priests troubled by difficulties which greatly endanger the divine gift they have.” He advised the bishops to seek appropriate help for these priests, or, in grave cases, to seek a dispensation for priests who could not be helped. In addition, he urged them to be more prudent in judging the fitness of candidates for the priesthood.

In 1975, the Church issued another document called “Declaration on Certain Questions Concerning Sexual Ethics” (written by Joseph Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger) that explicitly addressed, among other issues, the problem of homosexuality among priests. Both the 1967 and 1975 documents addressed kinds of sexual deviancy, including pedophilia and ephebophilia, that are is especially prevalent among homosexuals.

**In 1994, the Ad Hoc Committee on Sexual Abuse issued guidelines to the nation’s then 191 dioceses to help them develop policies to deal with the problem of sexual abuse of minors. Almost all dioceses responded and developed their own policies (USCCB document: Guidelines for dealing with Child Sexual Abuse, 1993-1994). By this time, pedophilia was recognized as a disorder that could not be cured, and a problem that was becoming more prevalent due to the increase of pornography. Before 1994, bishops took their cue from experts in the psychiatric profession who believed pedophilia could be successfully treated. Priests guilty of sexual abuse were sent to one of several treatment facilities across the United States. Bishops often relied upon the judgments of experts in determining whether priests were fit for ministry. This doesn’t mitigate the negligence on the part of some in the hierarchy, but it does offer some insight.

In response to the recent scandals, some dioceses are setting up special commissions on child abuse, as well as victims’ advocacy groups; and they are officially acknowledging that any legitimate allegation of abuse must be dealt with immediately.**

PS, the last part of your post is interesting, and I have a separate response to it.

I totally agree!!!

I don’t care if priest abuse more or less than heterosexuals or other clergy, that doesn’t make it any less horrific. It is the position they are in and the fact that we are raised to truth our priest more the any one else, something I no longer do. Hopefully, the Church has a way to screen for this type of tendency in want to be priest, which they should do if they are single or married.

I do not allow my children to go to friend home if I do not personally know there parents for quite a while. I teach them to go to see teacher only when other people are around. Again it is not that priest to things more it is the view we have of them. Sadly I think that has had to change and children need to see them like and other male (or female), married or not.

The point of the several replies to your post (#10) was your connecting priestly celibacy to pedophile clergy, not that Catholic clergy abuse of children were or are being defended.

Nowadays the screening process for seminarians is INTENSE, at least in my diocese and the neighboring ones.

Its not a matter of right and wrong - its a matter of prudence. And right now, the Church is on my side. As I have already said, I find the reasons for keeping a celibate priesthood far more compelling (for theological as well as practical reasons) than allowing for the ordination of married men.

From the earliest days the Church advocated celibacy among the clergy. In a way, celibacy was always the norm, even if the Church had drifted away from it for some length of time. It was reinstated during a time of great reform in the Church.

This article is as if the Pope said “Sure its possible for the Cubs to win the World Series, but its never going to happen”, then the headlines read “Pope picks Cubs to win World Series”


I’ve sort of thought the same thing. Sort of like a parochial vicar really. I’ve been thinking of the diaconate myself. I lost my job back in February. I’m 56 and in reasonable, if not extravagant, financial shape, no debts. Kids are grown and out of the house. My wife is a family doctor with a good income and we have a decent nest egg to allow a comfortable and decent, but not extravagant, retirement. I’m eager to serve but not really keen to move back into the corporate world. It’s become brutal and inhuman. So I am taking a few months off to reflect. I wouldn’t need any more income than perhaps fuel money for my car, and even that I don’t really need as long as the driving around isn’t too crazy.

The one issue holding me back is that my wife is still working at the moment; I’d be tied up with baptisms and the like largely on weekends, so would have little time in common to spend with her. She’s planning to retire around 60 (she’s 6 months older than I), or at least slow down to the point of having a few days off per week. Then for sure I’d be ready because I would have some quality time with her during the week. We’re very close and each other’s favourite companion for activities, travel, etc. We cycle and hike a lot together.

She is already used to my committing time to the Church through my oblate activities (organizing committee for the World Congress in Rome, translating work for the Oblate Director, retreats, writing articles, daily Divine Office, etc.), plus though Anglican she has strong faith and would be supportive.

I guess the permanent diaconate was a way to assist pastors without changing the celibacy rule, but I think the Church could go farther.

Personally I see no negatives with having a sort of “permanent parochial vicar” married priesthood under the same rules as the diaconate (enter married, but remain celibate if you become a widower with exceptions for particular circumstances like the diaconate). Perhaps a minimum age, retired, grown children, spend time as a deacon before becoming a ppv priest, no salary, no living accommodations, etc. The married priests of the other Churches in communion with Rome (and those that are in the Latin Church due to conversion from other faiths/Eastern Churches), are no less priests for it. The sacrament is the sacrament. Where there would be differences would be in administrative and parish responsibilities, and of course the ability or not to move up in the hierarchy.

In dioceses with parishes merged into large geographical pastoral units (like ours), with not enough priests to fill all the Sunday Mass times, it would be a great help for ensuring Mass is available everywhere, every Sunday. Presently in our area, several elderly retired priests that are still able, are acting as parochial vicars to ensure that the Eucharist can be celebrated in as many parishes as possible. But they are elderly, and fewer and fewer are coming up behind them to replace them.

The Church needs to be realistic, and able to meet the sacramental needs of the faithful. And we as faithful have to have realistic expectations.

Everyone, including the “Church Hierarchy”, occupy “the sinners’ seats”.

As far as “In the 1100s, there was not the groundswell of criticism from the sinners’ seats every time the Church Hierarchy made a decision”, how do you know or is this just your opinion?

There was a huge groundswell of criticism, it resulted in a schism that exists to this day. It’s my understanding that it was done under the threat of ex-communication. All married priests suddenly found thier marriages declared invalid.

The church already allows married priest, we have one at our parish, which think I stated earlier. He is a covert from the Episcopal Church. He is known to be a very good priest.

So those of you that don’t agree, are you saying the Church is wrong for allowing that. If they allowed more married men to become priest would you leave the Church.

I find it interesting that so many say you must follow what the Church teaches, but when something new arises that you don’t agree with the mood changes.

You’re conflating two separate things here, and seem not to understand the difference between discipline and doctrine.

Priestly celibacy is a discipline, a man-made rule that can be changed. As with any man-made rule, some people agree with it, some don’t. I don’t think anyone here is saying they would leave the Church if the discipline changed, because there would be no reason to. Some might be upset if the discipline was changed, or think it’s a bad idea (I would), but ultimately it’s just a “policy” of sorts.

Doctrine on the other hand, is from God, and cannot change. I think the people who talk about “leaving the Church” are referring to potential changes in doctrine. If doctrine changed, it would not be a matter of agreeing or disagreeing with a “policy”, it would be the denial of Truth, which is why people (myself included) would take it so seriously.

We all, hierarchy included, have to follow the teachings of the Church (doctrines) absolutely. When it comes to disciplines, we still absolutely have to follow them, we just know that it’s possible for them to change, and if they did change, we would then have to follow the new discipline.

No, I am fully aware of the differences. I didn’t bring up anything about what was doctrine, dogma, or disciple. You think it would be a bad idea, so you think you know better than those in the Church that are actual priests?

I can see your disagreement, but the Church needs priests. I think married priest have something to offer the Church.

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