Anglican Samizdat

March 11, 2010

Celibate priests and pederasty

Filed under: Roman Catholic child abuse — David Jenkins @ 5:30 pm

From here:

A leading cardinal today claimed that the sex abuse cases rocking the Roman Catholic Church were due to ‘priestly celibacy’.

Calling for a ‘change of vision’, Cardinal Christoph Schoenborn, leader of the Catholic Church in Austria, said the causes of sex abuse by priests could be found in ‘priest celibacy’ and ‘priest training’.

In recent weeks the church has been rocked by a series of abuse scandals in Ireland, Holland and Germany – where Pope Benedict’s retired priest brother Georg Ratzinger has admitted to hitting choir boys.

The 65-year-old cardinal, who is tipped to be a future pope, made the shock claims in a religious magazine.

Cardinal Schoenborn said: ‘The causes of sex abuse by priests? These need to be found in priest training, as well as the question of what happened in the so-called sexual revolution of 1968.

‘It also includes the issue of priest celibacy and the issue of personality development.

‘It requires a great deal of honesty, both on the part of the Church and of society as a whole, a change of vision.’

The abuse of children by anyone, in any way, is an unconscionable horror – particularly so if it is inflicted by church officials.

But to blame the sexual abuse of children on priestly celibacy makes as much sense as blaming animal abuse on vegetarians: there is no connection between voluntarily renouncing the God-given enjoyment of sexual intercourse and the evil of raping children.

Even though I don’t agree with Roman Catholic Church’s requirement that priests be unmarried, it seems fairly obvious that the problem is not one of priestly celibacy: it is that candidates for the RC priesthood are not being screened for pederastic sexual perversion.


1 Comment

  1. This is a complex issue, and various factors can be involved – not least because people are different from one another, and different urges, and outcomes, are present here. Certainly society’s “normalising” and encouraging of homosexuality produces pederastic abuse in some, including priests. But the discipline of total celibacy is very hard to bear, for many, and it cannot, I think, be said that it never caused a priest to “explode” in some pederatic way (this is not to say I strongly oppose priestly celibacy; I do believe it is not for everyone – and that may mean every priest. This is one of the (few?) things we Anglicans have got right, I believe; there are Anglican priests who choose celibacy).

    Comment by John Thomas — March 12, 2010 @ 4:55 am

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