Celibacy

Does any scholarly, educated person know WHY the Pope doesn’t get rid of the unnatural celibacy requirement for priests? Anyone who has taken college Sociology I has learned Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs and knows that the need for sex is right up there and equal to the drives to eat, to sleep, to breathe, and to eliminate. To REQUIRE a human being to NOT acknowledge his sex drive is the same as requiring a person to stop breathing, eating, etc. (the OTHER needs listed in the hierarchy).

The celibacy requirement for Catholic priests was started in Medieval Times because the Church needed the money, and wives and children cost MONEY!! In these times, when the Church has become one of the richest institutions in the WORLD, I do believe it would be cheaper to allow priests to get married and have an acceptable means for their sexual drives than to have to pay exorbitant insurance premiums for “Sexual Predator” insurance policies and to pay off claims from injured victims because these thwarted sexual needs have made individuals go wacky!

It is a fact that many priests turn into alcoholics, have affairs and illigitimate babies, attempt other, more “secure” or “hidden” sexual outlets, such as pedophilia or bestiality, no matter how abnormal or distasteful, just to have AN outlet of any sort, besides the unsatisfactory choice of lifelong, lonely masturbation. Besides, the requirement of celibacy also provides an innocent cloak or cover for people ALREADY warped into pedophiles (an incurable sexual perversion, by the way!) and homosexuals to join and NEVER have to go through the pain of “coming out of the closet” as in the “outside” world.

Do not BEGIN to believe that ONLY little boys are the victims from this SICK command from the Pope and his predecessors. The victims are the little boys, their families, their future lives, the young girls, their future lives, their families, the priests themselves, who wanted so much to be “good” priests, but found how impossible that is when the age of real sexual need and drive becomes reality. There are innumerable victims!! The ONLY cure is to abolish the celibacy requirement!

Maerzie

There are two separate requirements: priests are forbidden to marry, and unmarried people are forbidden to have sexual intercourse. Which of these are you asking for justification of?

“Up there” or down there?

Those other things you listed are all physical needs, without which any human being will die. Not so with sex. I do notice that all of these things are listed at the bottom of Maslow’s hierarchy, perhaps because they’re all biological drives, but to my mind, “one of these things is not like the others.”

I don’t think priests are required not to acknowledge their sex drives, in the sense of denying they have them. They just aren’t supposed to indulge them.
Personally, I am not a Catholic, it’s not really my business, and if it were up to me, the celibacy requirement would be done away with, for a number of reasons. But as I understand it, the case for priestly celibacy involves the following points:

Being a priest (or a nun, or a monk) is a vocation, a calling from God, and it includes the calling to (and gift of being able to live) a life of celibacy.

Priests are supposed to be unmarried and celibate so that they can devote all of their attention to serving their flock and God. Their duties as a biological father then won’t interfere with their duties as a spiritual Father. Their sexual urges are supposed to be sublimated so that their sexual energies are diverted toward more useful ends.
The OP suggests that celibacy is a problem for all priests, and that it is impossible to be successfully, healthily celibate. I do not believe this is so. And, on the other side, there have been plenty of married Protestant clergymen whose sexuality has gotten them in big trouble, so allowing priests to marry would not be a cure-all.

This is not an accurate claim

I am of the opinion that the discipline of celibacy should be reconsidered, but the reason that the RCC adheres to celibacy is the same reason that some members and some councils of the Christian Church have advocated celibacy (rightly or wrongly) for around 1900 years: the intent is that priests will not be distracted from their pastoral duties by having a family whose also call on their time and energy.

I will also note that this is nothing more than speculation–and poorly supported specualtion, at that.

Rates for alcoholism and pedophilia among Catholic priests are not dissimilar from rates of the clergy of those denominations who permit marriage.

Rates for priests engaged in adultery/fornication may or may not be higher; I have never seen a serious study on the topic.

With respect, requiring someone not to have sex is a couple of rungs below not breathing, and at least one below not eating. Even though I went through a long desert on my road to eliminating my own celibacy, I knew I could go without sex longer than I could go without breathing.

I personally feel that priests ought to marry and have a normal sex life. It would help them relate better to the bulk of their parishoners 9although some have claimed to relate better to the lonely under celibacy rules), and would probably eliminate the stresses and other facets that contributed to the recent sex scandals. that would be worth them enduring the problems of split allegiances and balancing of time that married life would bring. Heck, other priests and religious leaders manage it. But there are centuries of tradition behind the ban, and such things are hard to change.

What, if any, was the impact of early Gnostic notions that sex = “of the flesh” rather than “of the spirit” and thus incompatible with a “spiritual” life?

Are you arguing for marriage or just an end to celibacy. ?Lots of priests are not celebrate.

I’m not a Catholic either, but it seems like the celibacy, no-marriage and no-female-priests rules are very, very well-established, and unlikely to change during Benedict XVI’s pontificate. As Cardinal Ratzinger, he was zealous in trying to maintain the status quo as to church doctrine.

The Catholic clergy is shrinking overall, though, and vocations are 'way down, I’ve read. Celibacy is a big reason for that. Many American RCC churches have to share clergy, or have laypeople doing more and more of what used to be reserved for priests. Priests are overextended and stressed as never before. The RCC is also losing ground in Central and Latin America to Pentecostal churches. If I were Pope, I would make celibacy elective, permit priests to marry, and also permit women to become priests. Maybe the next pope - or the one after that - will do so, but I have my doubts.

This statement is so utterly ludicrous that I’m really at a loss for how to respond to it. Let me just ask this. Expert on sociology that you are, you’re surely aware that many people are asexual, and that current research suggests there is nothing unnatural about such an orientation. How, then, can sex be a “need” comparable to food and air?

Do you have any evidence to back up this claim?

Like many other, I think you’re lying. I want to see what proof you offer that “many” priests (i.e. more than in the population at large) practice pedophilia, bestiality, alcoholism, etc… Until you provide such evidence, I’ll assume that you’re making malicious false accusations.

Lastly, I’m going to go out on a limb and suggest that you’re not a member of the Catholic Church, in which case it’s unclear why you think you have the authority to boss that Church around.

I don’t know. Are you suggesting that Paul was Gnostic? :smiley:

Most of the early sources for the opinions regarding celibacy are noted in my post to which I’ve linked. I do not recall any of them being strongly associated with Gnosticism, but it is always possible that a general philosophical movement became the underlying and unrecgnized substrate for various views.

Oddly enough, some people suggest just that:

http://www.amazon.com/Gnostic-Paul-Exegesis-Pauline-Letters/dp/1563380390

I have no idea of the credibility of such theories - this is just the result of some superficial Googling.

My interest is purely that of a curious non-Christian. It simply seems to me that there must be more than mere “anti-nepotism” behind the injuction against priestly marriage - that it would make sense if there was some correlation between the notion that sex is an inferior state, and the Gnostic preference for spirit over flesh.

Yes, I read that post with great interest, and noted that there was no discussion in the sources cited of this notion.

Seems to me you may be quite correct, I’d just be curious if anyone has looked into the question.

I’m not sure that it is fair to hold the population at large as a fair basis for comparison. Priests have vowed *not *to behave in such a manner. Priests are arbiters of morality. Priests explain the ways of God to Man. If they were just like everyone else, what use would they be?

The history of the celibacy requirement is outlined quite well at:

http://www.futurechurch.org/fpm/history.htm

You may note that Medieval times in the Church are usually designated as the 5th through the 15th centuries. The Council of Trent is the final kibosh on women being ordained and priests being married, though I haven’t picked out the details yet. The Church has a rotten history, which no Catholic learns until they are in the upper grades of Catholic education. Unlike some of the writers here, who express that priests are supposed to be “ABOVE” normal people, they are exactly and only that, i.e. “NORMAL PEOPLE”! They are not gifted with any more extra self-controls or weaker sex drives than any other human variety of men. They are simply “human”.

If you will note, one of the Medieval Popes DID actually come out and spell out the TRUE reason for the celibacy command during the sixth century. Pope Pelagius II was honest enough to say it out loud and did not bother to sanction any priests who were married, as long as they did not hand their property over to their wives or children. Usually information such as this is not revealed so frankly and matter of factly, and one must read between the lines by what proceeded after the decrees. Unfortunately, time machines are not invented yet to make it possible to spell things out for doubting Thomases.

Maerzie

P.S. I will not demean myself to accuse anyone of lying, such as this poster, who doesn’t even know me or anything about me.

"Like many other, I think you’re lying. " I would also like to know the “many others”, which sounds somewhat like an exaggeration.

I have no reason to lie. I was very fortunate to have lived next door to the rectory, where, in those days, we had a Monsignor, and three assistant priests, who visited and socialized at my parents’ home frequently. I learned very much of the inner-workings of the Church hierarchy, the history which they knew very well, and also how Bishops and Archbishops had their favorites (who were the brown-nosers, just like in our secular world), and the ones who got punished by getting sent to the “poorer”, smaller parishes when they did voice their thoughtful opinions, instead of just submitting to narrow-mindedness. Most of them (they changed occasionally over the years) voiced the desire to marry and live normally. One that I knew personally, became an alcoholic, and in my current small parish, 2 priests have left to get married, so we have NO priest now, except the mission volunteer. I would like to live in an ivory tower with blinders on, as that is easier, but fortunately, or unfortunately, I was taught to THINK!

Maerzie

There are a number of problems with your linked cite, but I’ll just say right now that:

is wrong. The pope they mean to mention is Pope Benedict IX. Benedict resigned in 1045 (for the second time), possibly so he could marry, but definately so he could sell the papacy to somebody else. Then after the Holy Roman Emperor deposed his successor, and put his man in instead, Benedict poisoned that Pope and took back the title.

Not really a good chance of Benedict IX getting canonized, all things considered.

“Well” is a subjective term that is belied by its actual content. As compiled, there are both inaccuracies of fact and presentations of fact distorted to argue the counter of the facts. (Individual suppressions of corruption are presented as indicating the normal practices of the church, for example.)

However, I note that it still appears to be more honest in its presentation than you are:

Since celibacy was not a universal decree during this period (which does not contradict my statements in the link I provided) one would note that your link provides the statement:

You seem to have changed the clause containing the words I bolded and substituted the word “their,” dishonestly implying that the church was claiming right to the property of ther priest’s family. The actual statement recognizing that the effort was to prevent the church’s property from being claimed by the family of the priest is consistent with my comments in my linked post in which, a few hundred yerars later, the practice of handing church property to the families of priests (who had not paid for it) had become a serious matter of corruption.

In other words, different attitudes were displayed toward celibacy for different reasons. However, the trend was clearly in the West toward celibacy for several hundred years. Since this trend began with statements regarding the need for a priest’s attention to his parishoners and the statements regarding the passage of property were only raised on a few occasions when abuse crept in, the ideas do not stand up to any serious scrutiny that taking (back the church’s) property from the priests was a 1) late development and 2) the only reason for celibacy.

Perhaps you should start looking a bit more closely at the details. There are plenty of married priests in the Catholic church right now. Priests of the eastern rites are allowed to marry. I personally also know three Anglican converts to the Catholic church who are married priests.

Knowledgable people have already addressed the claims about the Catholic Church, so I don’t feel bad about focusing on just one part of your screed.

Warped into homosexuals? Giving an innocent cloak or cover for homosexuals? I hadn’t realised that homosexuality was something that required an innocent screen, or that it was unnatural. Or that it was curable!

Oh, and Capslock is not an argument. Less typing like a revolutionary leaflet, please, it does your argument little good. :wink:

I would say the standards are higher still, since the Church isn’t a democratic body. Unless the OP is a priest, they have no such authority. However, I don’t believe they’re claiming to have authority - if they were, they’d actually order things to be done. Instead, there’s suggestions.

Edit: Hee. I just noticed Maerzie quoted him/herselff as being someone who knows nothing about them.

As a point, I can state that the Church could allow married peists but isn’t ready to do so. In fact, there’s a been a surge in new priests and ther sisters and brothers lately.

Congratulations and I hope that that effort it works out for you. You might, however, wish to look up a few better sources of information.

The RCC has a very long history and many of its members and leaders have been corrupt. It has also endorsed practices that are shameful. I was aware of this before I entered high school, although I do recognize that not everyone was as fortunate in their education as was I.

However, this particular thread–a thread that you started–is regarding whether celibacy is appropriate. It is quite possible to argue against the rule of celibacy without resorting to the lie that it was imposed to steal property from the families of priests or that it contributes, in any meaningful, way to alcoholisim or pedophilia.