Saturday, March 2, 2019

Celibacy is the Answer

From Mercator:
The problem is not with celibacy; the problem is with celibacy lived badly. Clerical sexual abuse is no more caused by celibacy than adultery is caused by marriage. Both are violations of sacred promises, promises for which the Lord guarantees his help to live faithfully. To put it differently, allowing priests to marry would not prevent sexual transgressions. Marriage is regrettably no stranger to scandal. Indeed, the notion that “marrying off” priests will resolve the sex abuse crisis suggests a rather dim view of marriage as well as a certain naiveté about the rate of sexual abuse committed by individuals who are married. The holy vocation to matrimony is not a cure for sexual drives that are imagined, erroneously, by the popular mind to be irrepressible. The proper response is not eliminating celibacy but demanding that priests, like married people, live up to the expectations of their vocation. 
Celibacy itself, in fact, is a precious and irreplaceable gift to the Church. As St. Paul VI wrote in Sacerdotalis Caelibatus fifty years ago, “Priestly celibacy has been guarded by the Church for centuries as a brilliant jewel, and retains its value undiminished even in our time when the outlook of men and the state of the world have undergone such profound changes.” 
Celibacy is usually defined negatively as “not getting married” but in fact it is a positive choice, a powerful way of loving with a singleness of purpose and a unique openness of heart. It enables a priest to live his spiritual fatherhood with particular force and efficacy. In the words of the Second Vatican Council, celibacy is “a source of spiritual fruitfulness in the world” which renders priests “better fitted for a broader acceptance of fatherhood in Christ.” 
The spiritual benefits of priestly celibacy have for centuries enriched the Church and even the wider culture. Were celibacy to be abolished in our moment of exasperation, however well-intentioned, we would not only fail to solve the problem of sexual abuse but also deprive future generations of the innumerable graces of spiritual fatherhood that come to us by way of priestly celibacy. (Read more.)

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