As someone who seriously planned on a lifelong celibacy (before eventually getting married to another adult), I have to say I’m completely baffled by the discussion in the press right now about questioning priesthood celibacy in connection to child sex abuse scandals in the Catholic church:
Austrian Priests Suggest Celibacy May Be a Problem
Celibacy vows to stay despite sex abuse scandal
Celibacy debate re-emerges amid Church abuse scandal
Get it through your thick skulls, people. Even if you accept the premise that forcing priests into a celibate lifestyle might make some of them (the ones who actually were forced instead of actively choosing the lifestyle) sexually frustrated, why should sexual frustration mean child abuse? Seriously. If you’re sexually frustrated, break your celibacy vow… with a consenting adult. If you have that much of a problem with being celibate, why not just take off your priest outfit and go have sex with a fully grown adult woman or man? As Paul says in I Corinthians 7:8-9:
Now to the unmarried and the widows I say: It is good for them to stay unmarried, as I am. But if they cannot control themselves, they should marry, for it is better to marry than to burn with passion. [NIV]
Celibacy’s cool. Or, as Jesus says in Matthew 19:11-12:
Jesus replied, “Not everyone can accept this word [that it is better not to marry], but only those to whom it has been given. For some are eunuchs because they were born that way; others were made that way by men; and others have renounced marriage because of the kingdom of heaven. The one who can accept this should accept it.” [NIV]
I don’t see anything about people who can’t handle being celibate thus being okay’ed to molest little children. Look, if you’re a priest reading this, and you don’t dig the whole swearing to be celibate, I would highly recommend A) quitting the priesthood and marrying B) masturbating extensively or C) having a consensual sexual encounter (or two or three) with someone 18 or older, male or female. Yes, I realize as a die-hard Catholic, you probably consider B and C to be sinful, but would you rather be sinful and hurting nobody or sinful and traumatizing lots of people for the rest of their lives?
If you really want to cut down on priests molesting children, how about making sure they’re never alone with children behind closed doors? How about not allowing priests who have molested children to simply be transferred to another parish? How about just convicting molesting priests and sending them to prison? Stop blaming celibacy. Celibacy isn’t for everyone. I’m certainly a proponent of ridding the celibacy requirement for priests, but please stop pretending celibacy has anything to do with pedophilia.