Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Forced Celibacy

I don't mean to rag on our Catholic friends two weeks in a row (some of my closest friends are Catholic) --but I happened to watch Celibacy, a documentary on HBO, this weekend and really wanted to talk about it...

"The Roman Catholic Church has taken the tradition of renouncing all sexual acts, including thoughts and desires, to its most extreme form. Celibacy became mandatory for the Church clergy in 1139, but its enforcement has never really been effective. With the recent revelations of sexual abuse cases in at least ten countries, including the U.S., and virtually every state, the requirement that clergy must be celibate for life is being challenged. Legal settlements are now estimated at more than one billion dollars, and the crisis has contributed to ongoing widespread defections among priests and nuns, as well as taking an immeasurable toll on thousands of the faithful. Some 200,000 priests have renounced their vows since 1960, and the intake of new priests is shrinking dramatically." (source)

Before watching this documentary I never really thought about celibacy "creating" pedophiles --I always figured pedophiles were drawn to Catholicism thinking this would be a way to suppress urges they felt were wrong. This film presented the idea that scientifically the urge to procreate trumps even the urge to eat in the human brain --and what does it do to a person to suppress this indefinitely.

Most of the priests interviewed said they had "outlets"-- whether it is porn, a secret woman friend or a man friend...but maybe it's those without these outlets who end up hurting children.

I was really interested to learn that celibacy was not always required and even the "father of all Popes" was married with children. It seems that the "marriage to God" was yet another way to commandeer money. Anything the priest earned or acquired would go right back to the church upon his death.

Considering the staggering numbers (all over the world) of children that have been abused at the hands of a catholic priest, it may be time to reconsider the celibacy vow. Let them get married like even the first Popes did. The money you are inherited from the priests can't be anything close to what you are putting out to pay off victims!

I am sure you are all aware by now that I love HBO documentaries –and this one is really good. It explores forced celibacy in many religions and exposes the seedy underbelly of this unnatural requirement. It’s worth the hour investment...