- Religion and Philosophy
Revisiting the Aspect of Celibacy Among the Catholic Clergy: Is it Really Possible?
Celibacy is a state where a person, whether single, divorced or widowed accepts voluntarily to be sexually abstinent, unmarried or both of the two, normally for religious purpose. Often, it is in association with the role of religious devotees or officials. Throughout history, celibacy has existed in one form or the other, in almost every religion worldwide. Different people have had different views on the same. The Romans have always taken it as a peculiarity and monetary penalties have been legislated against it. Ancient Judaism was opposed strongly to celibacy. Catholics and some other Christians in the Middle Ages however believed that celibacy is a requirement for clerical duties.
To begin with, when a person becomes celibate, it means their relationship with the opposite sex is cut off completely, and if it exists, is very limited. This is a very hard thing for any person since we are all human and as such should have feelings. Additionally, all the media messages we receive in our daily lives point to a man getting intimate with a woman. From the soaps, to the advertisements, to the reality shows, wedding shows, and even the news. Almost everything both in the media and in the internet has something to do with sex. This makes it so hard for any person to be celibate. The magazines, music, movies, billboards and television shows attack every sensibility that a person could have toward living a life of chastity.
The catholic clergy has had a very hard time convincing the world how it is able to uphold celibacy. This is due to the fact that several people have tried and failed upholding this standard. Members of the clergy have been reported to have been involved in sex scandals all over the world. It should be noted that these are only reported cases and there are several other unreported cases of sex and sex abuse in the catholic clergy. In 1985, the very first issue of sex abuse by the Priests in Roman Catholic was publicized. This is when a priest from Louisiana pleaded guilty to having molested 11 boys. In the 1990s, a number of books were published on the same topic. It became clear that the truth existed to the many allegations and that there had been a way to cover up these wicked acts in large catholic dioceses all over the world and especially in the United States (Allen 2010). The issue grew to be a nationwide scandal and created a crisis in the United States for the Catholic Church. The most saddening factor was the catholic Bishop’s actions of keeping the crimes a secret and reassigning the accused priests to other parishes, meaning they must have continued their unsupervised socialization with the members of the parishes thereby exposing them to risks of sexual abuse. The Catholic Church had historically addressed sex abuse as an internal affair. Priests who were found abusive were sanctioned under canon law while others received treatment from catholic service agencies, but none of the offending priests were reported to the authorities (Bruni 2002).
To the larger extend, it is evident that upholding celibacy is no easy thing to do, and the catholic clergy should therefore explain how they are able to do so. Even so, the evidence of the reported and unreported sex scandals and child abuse reveal that almost all of the celibate members find one or more ways to experience sexual pleasure.