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Should The Requirement for Celibacy Among the Catholic Clergy be Disbanded?

Updated on January 14, 2016

Celibacy refers to a formal oath taken by individuals who vow never to engage in sexual activity or get married. In the Catholic Church, women who become nuns and men who take the holy orders of becoming priests take the celibacy vow. This means that they are willing to put aside their right to experience sex or marry so as to devote themselves completely to the church and God without the burden of a family. The topic of celibacy has been subject to heated debate since the 1990s when sexual abuse and sex scandals were reported among the clergy of the church. Several people feel the need to disband celibacy in the Catholic Church and campaigns have been started to ensure the same.

The general argument put forward by the clergy of the Catholic Church to validate the celibacy policies that it enable priests to be committed to their priesthood and to God fully, without being distracted by their family, their kids or their wives. Thus far, several people question this practice. They argue simply that suppressing the sexual urges or desire of a person to find a partner is harmful and unnatural. Several Catholic priests find themselves falling in love and engage in romantic affairs and consequently come under contempt and scrutiny as a result. Evidence also suggest that the sexual suppression created by celibacy results in priests having the despicable inclination to molest young boys or even girls in the church. In this light, there has been widespread sexual molestation in the Catholic Church. This is what has led many to believe that it is high time for the church to re-evaluate its Celibacy policy. Additionally, people argue about the possibility of celibacy being a divine doctrine and law or simply being some kind of church discipline which if it is can be un-done so easily. Even as the number of priests diminishes, several people wonder if celibacy really is the cause, and if the number would rise after priests are allowed to marry.

Thomas DeMatteo, a non-practicing member of the church declares that the church allows pastors and ministers to marry and this has never interfered with their work or commitment with God. Priests being councilors, counsel individuals about several matters in life and how to please God. As such, since marriage is so sacred and important in living morally, they would better understand married members ff the church and offer better counseling if they were also married. It is noted in paragraph 2362 of catechism that the acts in a marriage whereby chaste and intimate union of the spouse takes place are both honorable and noble. It goes on to state how the act result in joy and gratitude. This stresses the need to allow the priests to marry, because who doesn’t need joy in their lives.

To sum up, celibacy subjects priests to a life of loneliness and sadness, and there is no sad thing as an old priest who lives his old days with no famiy of their own. When the zeal and fervour of youth has departed and there is only, loneliness, it is very saddening, as such, priests should be allowed to marry and have families.


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    • Nyamweya profile image

      Silas Nyamweya 2 years ago from Nairobi, Kenya

      That is very much correct, celibacy doesnt benefit anyone either the church or the priests themselve

    • Kathleen Cochran profile image

      Kathleen Cochran 2 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      As I understand from church history, celibacy was imposed on previously married priests to keep his family from inheriting and to keep the money in the church. From all accounts, there is much evidence that individual priests over the years have unburdened the restrictions of celibacy by way of assaults on children and others. So what is the benefit to the church or anybody else? Other religions get along as well or better with married clergy and even - God forbid - female clergy.


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