Is forced celibacy possible?


Raised Catholic, I personally never understood – really understood – why Catholic priests had to agree not to touch someone in order to express their faith. The congregation doesn’t. The Bible loves families! It tells folk to go forth and procreate.

You need to engage in a little rumpy pumpy to do that. A spring-coil regatta.

And trying to make someone avoid sex forever is like trying to teach a cat to ride a unicycle.

It’s not natural and makes about as much sense.

This week the Catholic Church got angsty with one of its priests – Father Kevin Lee – because he had the temerity to fall in love and marry his wife in a secret Philippines ceremony last year. Now he has been sacked, as Fairfax reported:

”I’ve fallen in love and I’ve got married and it’s outside of most people’s awareness,” he said. ”But I’m sure people within the church could have had a suspicion.”

He said his public admission was motivated by the fact that many priests led a double life. ”I think celibacy has to go,” he said.

The head of the Diocese of Parramatta, Anthony Fisher OP, denied Father Lee’s claims that most priests lived double lives and that the church knew about the priest’s marriage.

The Catholic Church says that under canon law priests are not allowed to marry and must remain celibate for life.”

Well. That’s marginally better than the call in the actual Bible for Godly scholars to be eunuchs, I suppose.

Let’s be clear. Celibacy as a religious function isn’t just about the Roman Catholic Church. It happens in Buddhism and Hinduism too, among other religions. But the poor old Catholic priests are the most high profile of the lot, rightly or wrongly.

They’re told they must live devoid of sex and romantic relationships. Talk about bridling the most essential and pleasurable of human emotions and actions. It seems to be a par for the course of many of the world’s religions to stop humans being … human.

Some commentators have asked whether celibacy causes paedophilia. There’s no denying the apparent over-representation of child molesters in Church ranks. Not everyone is, but there has been scandal after scandal after scandal right across the world.

Why? Ask theology commentator Dick Gross:

“The Canadian psychiatrist, Professor Wendell Watters, has linked these sexual prohibitions to undermining contentment and sexual health in his book, Deadly Doctrine. He argues the evidence is that faiths promote sexual ignorance, guilt and suffering.

… it could be that more paedophiles are attracted to being priests than other vocations rather than celibacy manufacturing paedophiles out of men who entered priesthood with more normal sexual appetites.”

Celibacy might not cause anything. But the surface link has long been made in punter’s minds.

Our minds and bodies were clearly meant to do something else apart from pretending sex and human relationships don’t exist. Why keep that in a bottle?

Human beings might have invented the zoo with Noah’s Ark, but we’ve been putting ourselves in cages for a lot longer.

Could you be abandon romantic relationships and be celibate if you had to? What do you think about celibacy?

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