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Monday, July 16, 2007

Catholic sex abuse case demands that priests be allowed to marry

This post may get a whole lotta folks mad at me, but I don't care. It needs to be said...

You've probably heard by now that the Los Angeles diocese of the Roman Catholic Church is paying $660 million to keep from going to court over long-standing allegations of sexual abuse of children by its priests.

This could have been avoided if the Catholic Church had long ago put an end to its insane policy that forbids its clergy to marry.

The Catholic Church believes that priests and nuns should be "married" to the church. That if the hearts and minds of its clergy are fully devoted to serving the Church, that this will provide an adequate substitute for the natural sex drive that almost all of us have. The implication is that if its priests and nuns are "tempted by the flesh" enough to desire sexual stimulation, then they "obviously" are not seeking purity and holiness enough.

The result is Lord only knows how many generations of men who are emotionally arrested as adolescents and remain that way for the rest of their lives, with no understanding of how to manage their natural instincts. So it is that many of them are compelled by their vows - from consequence if not from policy - to satisfy their sexual drive however they can.

That's not an excuse for these priests' behavior. But something sure as the world precipitated it.

All of this from the horrible and very mistaken belief that sex - and everything associated with it - is sinful by nature.

There is nothing sinful about sex, when it is expressed as God intended it. Within the confines of marriage between husband and wife, sex is not just a means of pleasure and relieving of natural drives: sex becomes an act of worship. Between husband and wife who are united in the eyes of God, sex is a holy and beautiful means of expressing not only love for each other, but love for the One who created them.

The apostle Paul spoke quite a bit about this in 1st Corinthians. To those who feel this need, then "they should marry, for it is better to marry than to burn with passion", Paul wrote. Ideally, marriage is supposed to be about much more than "the sex". In marriage as God designed it, sex is just one way of expressing love, rather than what defines love. But in the circles of this world, sex is what physically unites man and woman into something greater than the sum of the parts. So it is that marriage of man and woman is an illustration on this earth of the union, the "marriage", between Chris and His bride, the church (the church as in all who belong to Him).

The Catholic policy of forbidding priests and nuns the right to marry not only denies them the satisfying of physical nature, but of the spiritual nature also. The Catholic Church is forcing them to cut themselves off from what is, in the proper context, a magnificent intimate knowledge of God through the beautiful mystery of marriage.

It's like this: just about all of us, at some point in our lives, want to get laid. It's a design feature of God's engineering to keep the human race going. Being compelled to ignore it, for whatever reason, just doesn't work. It leads to very bad things happening, like priests molesting little kids.

On this point it would be a better thing to concede to human nature per God's instructions, and not the screwy thinking of mere men. Let the priests and nuns marry so that they can enjoy all the deep, passionate, hot-blooded sex that they want, just as God meant it to be part of marriage.

And for whatever it's worth, the priests who squirmed their way out of meeting real justice in this case should be strung up from the nearest telephone pole by their circular reproductive units. With piano wire.


Anonymous said...

I totally agree about marriage. God does not require Elders (priests) to be married or single. Paul said it would be better but it is not a requirement. I think marriage in the Catholich Priest & Nunhood would change so much.

Anonymous said...

"This could have been avoided if the Catholic Church had long ago put an end to its insane policy that forbids its clergy to marry."

I'm not too sure of that.

"Some —including non-Catholic academics such as Philip Jenkins—have observed that the Catholic Church is being unfairly singled out by a secular media which they say fails to highlight similar sexual scandals in other religious groups, such as the Anglican Communion, various Protestant churches, and the Jewish and Islamic communities. In particular the Catholic Church may have a lower incidence of molesting priests than Churches that allow married clergy. Statistically child molestation occurs within families but Catholic priests do not have families. Similarly, the term "pedophile priests," widely used in the media, implies a distinctly higher rate of child molesters within the Roman Catholic priesthood when in reality the incidence is lower than most other segments of society".[25]"


Jenna St.Hilaire said...

You know I agree with you on a lot of things, Chris ... but I'm going to have to respectfully disagree here.

The Catholic idea of sex is not about inherent evil. Trust me--I'm seriously dating a Catholic. I've looked this one up :-)

While child molestation is horrible, it is not confined to Catholic priests and other celibates--I've seen it perpetrated by a Protestant elder and grandfather, and know it to be done by fathers/uncles/brothers on the reservations 'round here--men with plenty of access to "getting laid."

Christ and Paul both made allowance for those who are called to celibacy, and monks and nuns fall into this category. That lifestyle is based on setting oneself apart for God alone, freeing oneself from the duties incumbent upon those who marry for a particular form of devotion.

It can be argued that diocesan priests should be allowed to marry, and as a matter of fact the Catholic church does ordain married ministers who become Catholics from the Protestant church. Maybe someday the celibacy-only policy will change for teaching priests, but there are reasons for the policy, and the Church asks its priests to stand behind it. At least for now.

One of the things largely lost in the Protestant reformation from Catholicism has been the close integration of body matters with those of soul and spirit. I find it a fascinating study.

Anyways, there's my opinion :-)

By the way, you beat me, finishing up Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince the other day. I've got about 200 pages left; planning to knock them out tonight. Thanks for the warning about the Internet leaks, too!