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News - Should celibacy be a requirement for Catholic priests?

Yes. For the Church to change its position for the sake of convenience insults the great dedication and sacrifice of those whose spirit was stronger than their flesh.



I am the product of a Catholic education. I have two great-uncles who chose to become priests. There was a time in my life when I attended mass every day (except Saturday). None of these factors makes me an expert in cannon law, but my days as a practicing Catholic (I wasn't any good at it — that's why I had to practice) have provided me with some insight as it relates to the subject of a celibate clergy.

First and foremost, the Church is not a democracy. While American Catholics have a tendency to blend politics with religion (majority rule), the Roman Catholic Church remains a male-dominated, misogynistic organization run by a cabal of old farts in Rome. And they didn't get to that position by changing Church law every time some progressive American priest thought he'd made a better mousetrap.

Sure the Vatican pays lip service to mavericks. But in the end, the old guard views them as little more than rebellious teenagers. They may raise valid points (married clergy, ordination of female priests, relaxing the celibacy rule), but ultimately the powers-that-be dismiss them with an apostolic wave of the hand.

The truth is, celibacy and/or the priesthood are for everyone. It is fair to assume that those who've chosen to serve God in such a capacity do so after great reflection and prayer. For the Church to change its position for the sake of convenience insults the great dedication and sacrifice of those whose spirit was stronger than their flesh. For the Vatican to reverse itself to address the numerous sexual scandals that have marked its history diminishes the commitment and sacrifice of those priests who faithfully honored their word.

There are other reasons for the Church's reluctance to even consider the matter. Eliminating the celibacy requirement for the clergy would cause more problems than it would solve. What exactly does celibacy mean? The wrong answer would send the dominos of church taboos falling.

Would unmarried heterosexual priests be permitted to engage in what my high school theology teacher used to call "heavy petting?" What about homosexuality and the issue of gay priests?

The Church has historically stuck its head in the sand on the topic, but a change in church dogma in terms of heterosexual celibacy (for the priesthood) would open the homosexuality and pre-marital intercourse cans of worms. And again, the Vatican didn't get in the position of dominating and controlling the behavior of billions by opening cans of worms.

Chris Renaldo is a recovering Catholic who no longer believes in Santa Claus.??





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