Monday, April 19, 2010

Celibacy IS the Issue: The Catholic Elephant

Did you know that only two percent of Catholic Priests keep their vow of celibacy?
"Survey and statistics that show only two percent of priests have been absolutely faithful to their vows of celibacy. Adjustment problems abound as demonstrated by repeated reports of priests abandoning their callings, fathering children, being charged with child molestation."
This is from a thesis written almost twenty years ago, back in 1992, entitled Celibacy Is the Issue by Thomas G. Lederer, which explains and predicts the current crisis of pedophilia in the Catholic Church.

Here are a couple interesting quotes.
"In late 1990, A.W. Richard Sipe's book, A Secret World – Sexuality and the Search for Celibacy, caused a veritable flood of controversy. The author, psychotherapist stated that that at least half the U.S. Priests at any given time are involved in some pattern of sexual activity."

"Many priests see the Papacy as dysfunctional and many of the bishops as co-dependent. This cannot be taken as a shocking or startling statement. ... Rome's attitudes and practices relating to women, sexuality, and authority are not in harmony with the mind of the universal Church. They have only the flimsiest historical and theological justifications, and they fly in the face of political, social, and economic realities."
Father Joseph Breen, pastor St. Edward's Catholic Church, Nashville, Tennessee, June 2, 1992
In Lederer's thesis, I learned that the celibacy requirement only reached its current form recently. Resolutions to require celibacy were rejected in 395 AD and 692 AD, and it wasn't until around 1192 that the Roman Catholic Church banned marriage of its priests. Even then, sex wasn't banned – the priests' wives became concubines, and the Church claimed all of the priests' wealth.

In other words, the celibacy requirement was original about politics and wealth, not morality! What's even more interesting is that celibacy is a "calling," not a law from God. The Pope can rescind the requirement at any time.

It wasn't until around the mid sixteenth century that policies regarding celibacy took their modern form.

Even more amazing is that Lederer shows why the Vatican has consistently ignored warnings, historical lessons, and even theological arguments that advocate abandoning celibacy. It's an excellent thesis, though a bit long. I urge anyone with a sincere interest in this topic to read it.

Every day it seems there is another news report or TV story about the Catholic Church's pedophile priest scandal. Time after time, I'm amazed that the reporters manage to not see the huge elephant in the room: celibacy for priests. As Lederer says, celibacy IS the issue. Without it, there would be no pedophilia scandal and the Roman Catholic Church would be a far better institution.

Celibacy has been touted as a virtuous accomplishment. In fact, it's a perversion of nature, perhaps the most unnatural of all sex acts. We are animals, and sex is the single most important instinct nature has given us, the strongest of all of our instincts. It's impossible to be human without embracing our sexuality, and true happiness and contentment are the rewards of a strong, loving sexual relationship.

Hunger is easy for us to understand. When people are starving, their morals quickly evaporate, and they take to stealing, fighting, and food riots. Our bodies tell our brains that we're in trouble, that we'll die if we don't get food soon, and the primitive part of our brains turn loose our most primitive emotions.

When the Roman Catholic Church demands that its priests forgo sex, the result is as predictable as starving: morals quickly evaporate, and the priests' primitive brains convince them that immoral behavior – anything that will get sex – is OK.

Celibacy IS the issue, and it's long past time for the Roman Catholic Church to abandon this unnatural and unhealthy requirement.

More reading on this topic:
Why Can't Just One Priest Admit, I'm Guilty, I'm Sorry?
Mormons and Animals: Denying our Deepest Instincts

"Bishops" poster thanks to lol God


  1. Dangerous Talk - I welcome your comments, but keep it clean, OK? Thanks.

  2. I would like to contribute to the discussion of this madness by adding a somewhat common "belief" of the eastern "orthodox" church: nuns and monks are supposed to be celibate and chaste because they are married to Jesus and Mary respectively. And, similarly, lower-ranked priests do marry, and have children, while higher-ranked ones do not - most probably a throwback to the Byzantine ages.

  3. All Christians are called to remain celibate if they are not married. This includes Baptists and Protestants, and some of us have actually refrained from sex.

    However, we get little to no support in most Baptist churches, due to the fact they are quite fixated on marriage, married people, and parenting / children.

    The Bible does call for a chaste lifestyle for singles - all singles, so this would not apply only to Catholics. It would be a bit easier to remain celibate if Baptists and Protestants supported unmarried people, but they do not.

    1. "Chastity - the most unnatural of all the sexual perversions." ~ Aldous Huxley.

      Celibacy is not a virtue. It is unnatural, harmful and leads to all sorts of personal, social and criminal problems.

      The happiest and most moral societies teach how to have safe, respectful and healthy sex. Advocating celibacy is outdated, unhealthy, and cruel. Huxley was right.

  4. Hello Craig,

    "Celibacy is not a virtue. It is unnatural, harmful and leads to all sorts of personal, social and criminal problems."

    "The happiest and most moral societies teach how to have safe, respectful and healthy sex. Advocating celibacy is outdated, unhealthy, and cruel. Huxley was right."

    You're a person of logic and reasoning, but what evidence do you have to support this opinion above?

    I would agree that chastity seems unnatural, because it's easy/natural to commit the act of having intercourse. I'm sure most people can convince themselves (including me) that they have had strong urges and thoughts to go out and have some fun, respectful, healthy sex; however to the Christian (NOT just priests) view -- having EVEN thoughts of entertainment with a stranger or even someone really close is wrong until marriage. I agree with this because sex (I believe) is supposed to be a very special act between two people, and this special act may be degraded the more times you do it with other people; in the end, it may damage the sex you have with the person you end up marrying. However I have no evidence to back up the damaging part.

    Source: Lost person

    1. You're asking me for evidence that celibacy is unnatural? That's like asking me for evidence that starving oneself is unnatural. Sex is one of our most basic instincts; it's ludicrous to call celibacy natural.

      And it's equally obvious that it's harmful ... just look at the pedophilia and other sexual scandals that have enveloped the Roman Catholic Church. It's pervasive, and it's worldwide. By comparison, can you find any other church, even the Eastern Orthodox Church (which is a virtual brother of the Roman Catholic Church), with the same degree of sexual corruption? No. Sure, you'll find an incident here and there, but nothing like the institutional sexual criminality of the Roman Catholic Church.

      As to the happiest and most moral societies teaching safe sex, you can easily do the research yourself. Compare the sexual attitudes of places like Germany, Sweden, Norway, The Netherlands and so forth with their crime rates, teen-pregnancy rates, and so forth, and you'll have your answer.


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