"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."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.
Father Joseph Breen, pastor St. Edward's Catholic Church, Nashville, Tennessee, June 2, 1992
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