Roman Catholic theologian, Father Hans Kung, has linked clerical sex abuse with priestly celibacy, blaming the Church’s “uptight” views on sex for child abuse scandals in Germany, Ireland and the US and adding that the Church’s attitude was also revealed in its opposition to birth control.
Writing in The Tablet, Father Kung said that it was the case that abuse was found also in families, schools and other churches. But he asked: “Why is it so prevalent in the Catholic Church under celibate leadership?” He said that celibacy was not the only cause of the misconduct but described it as “the most important and structurally the most decisive” expression of the Church’s uptight attitude to sex.
Citing the New Testament, he says that Jesus and St Paul practised celibacy but “allowed full freedom in this matter to each individual”. St Paul in his first letter to the Corinthians wrote: “Because of cases of sexual immorality, each man should have his own wife and each woman her own husband.” Peter and the apostles were married and their ministries did not suffer, he said, pointing out that thousands of priests protested when the new law was introduced as late as the 11th century.
Father Kung said: “Compulsory celibacy is the principal reason for today’s catastrophic shortage of priests, for the fatal neglect of eucharistic celebration, and for the tragic breakdown of personal pastoral ministry in many places.”
He argues that there are two simple solutions to the shortage of priests: “Abolition of the celibacy rule, the root of all these evils, and the admission of women to ordination. The bishops know this, but they do not have the courage to say it in public.”
The German church has rejected any suggestion that abuse is linked to celibacy.
COMMENT: You would think a church that bases so much of it's dogma on natural law would be more understanding of the natural needs of all its adherents, including its priests. Sex is about as natural as it gets.
If the Roman Catholic hierarchy believes that birth control and same sex marriage will lead to the breakdown of society because they are, in their opinion, unnatural, then surely they should also believe that celibacy, being blatantly unnatural if you apply the logic of their natural law theories, will also lead to antisocial behaviour. They want their cake and to eat it too when the sensible thing would be to allow their priests to have their crumpet and eat it too.