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Morality and the Clergy....continued

THE CELIBACY QUESTION

Whilst we throw no stones, we have noted that the Roman Catholic Church have had its problems with priests and homosexuality. In some cases it appears that senior clergy knew of it, but either ignored it or sent the priests concerned to other parishes. Because of these scandals both in the USA and the UK they are now tightening up on discipline, and the Pope himself has made apologies to those who have been hurt. It is I believe a legitimate question to ask whether the required vow of celibacy has any bearing on these unfortunate episodes, and we would offer our contribution to the debate on the subject.

REASONS FOR CLERICAL CELIBACY
The Roman Catholic Church will admit that celibacy is a tradition rather than a biblical requirement for the priesthood, but they would say that it demonstrates a single-minded dedication to the holy calling. The celibate can give himself wholly to the ministry without the constraints of a wife and family. It also shows to the Church members his willingness to sacrifice for them. There may of course be more down-to-earth reasons. Seeing that the priest must hear the most intimate confessions of his people he will not be tempted to regale his wife with such secrets. This reflects rather badly on Catholic ladies' ability to keep secrets and also on the wives of ministers from other communions who manage to!

BACK TO AUGUSTINE
The subject of celibacy takes us back to St Augustine. In his early years he lived a rather dissolute life, but after converting to the Christian Faith his views on sexuality swung to an extreme, equating almost anything to do with sex as being sinful. Even his idea of the Fall (Adam's sin8) carried certain sexual connotations. He seemed to overlook the fact that sexuality is the gift of an all-wise heavenly Father, in short, God created sex, and although sin has thoroughly muddied that whole area of human behaviour it does not alter the basic facts. The Bible does not condemn sex per se, but does strongly warn against its abuses.

Index to the topic
Morality and the Clergy
Some Safeguards
The Crux of the Matter
Celibacy
Marriage is honourable
Guidelines and Helps

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