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Posted by: Nightingale ( )
Date: March 12, 2023 04:44PM

In a recent interview with Argentine media Pope Francis stated that he is open to reviewing the practice of celibacy.

Francis said "There is no contradiction for a priest to marry. Celibacy in the Western Church is a temporary prescription. It is not eternal like priestly ordination, which is forever."

This is the first I've ever heard of this. How could a teaching that is so definitive of the Catholic Church emerge as being temporary, reducing its importance after all? Wouldn't you be some ticked off if you spent a lifetime adhering to a life-changing vow that ends up being more take-it-or-leave-it than divinely required?

As recently as 2019 Francis affirmed the celibacy requirement.

You'd think a good few priests may be asking why now and why did I choose celibacy, etc. In short, what the hell.

The only decent article I could find on this interview (excerpts below) with Francis is subscriber only, annoyingly yet understandably, so I am not providing the link. The other write-ups I've seen about this papal statement need a bit of polish on their English so I'm not posting those either.

The article (The Telegraph, March 12, 2023) states: "Celibacy was only made a requirement by the Roman Catholic Church in the 11th century. The move was introduced partly for financial reasons: clergy without spouses were more likely to leave their wealth to the church."

So it's not divine inspiration? :O

From the article: "The Vatican currently enforces celibacy among priests, citing the example set by Jesus. But there are growing calls to drop the rule as the Catholic Church deals with the fall-out from child abuse scandals around the world."

"The German Synod has just voted on a resolution requesting the Pope to end the obligation for priests to be celibate."

"When asked if he would be open to reviewing the requirement, Francis said: "Yes, yes. In fact, everyone in the Eastern Church is married. Or those who want to. ... Before ordination there is the choice to marry or to be celibate."

As an aside, from the same article:

"Germany's Catholic Church this weekend agreed to a slew of liberalising reforms, including blessing same-sex marriages and allowing women to become deacons ... The review was launched in 2019 in response to the clerical abuse scandal."


So, some at least are attributing the widespread clerical abuse to the celibacy requirement for priests. Many sources indicate this idea to be mistaken.

Here's what 'Psychology Today' states in an article about safeguarding children in the church:


"Many argue that celibacy places Catholic clerics at risk of sexually abusing children. This isn’t true. Celibacy for any reason—such as religious vows, not having a suitable sexual partner, conflictual partnered relationships, medical or psychiatric disabilities, or personal choice—does not turn someone into a pedophile where children become the object of sexual desire. Celibacy may cause challenges with adult sexual expression that might result in a priest violating their religious vows with other adults but it doesn’t increase the risk of child sexual abuse (Manuel, 2012)."


If it's true that the incredibly restrictive celibacy teaching was more about the almighty dollar (back in the day) than about divine inspiration and/or all-encompassing devotion to one's calling that is astounding, from a church that has already astounded, and not in a good way.

Why am I so surprised. It's so often all about the dosh. Disappointing though when actual principles come last, or not at all.

I know it is a person's own choice about becoming a priest (most often I'd think). But is it a case of just another scam to own and control the peons under the authority of overlords?

Meanwhile, think of all those little Catholic babies never born. Even the prospect of filling up the world with Catholics didn't stop the originators of the celibacy vow from proceeding with it and subsequent leaders from carrying on the tradition.

You'd think a good few of the priests may be asking or at least thinking what on earth is it all about.

Imagine adhering to a vow of celibacy all your adult life and then the Pope comes along and says it ain't doctrine and maybe I'll repeal it. Some day. When I get around to it. Maybe.

It's. Not. Doctrine. Not. Eternal. Just a temporary prescription.

Like an antibiotic you'd pick up from the pharmacy to address a mild temporary infection.

Not a bane lasting 1000+ years.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/12/2023 04:48PM by Nightingale.

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Posted by: summer ( )
Date: March 12, 2023 04:50PM

I've always said that the Roman Catholic church would consider married priests long before it would entertain the thought of female priests. The church already accepts married priest converts from the Orthodox tradition, as long as they agree to not remarry if their spouse dies. These married priests are also free to have children.

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Posted by: blindguy ( )
Date: March 12, 2023 09:36PM

In fact, when I was attending Jesuit high school in the late 1970s, one of the priests, a man who would later leave the priesthood and then still later be accused of having sexual relations with at least one teenage female at the nearby Catholic girls' school (don't ask) predicted in one of our religious classes that the Roman church was more likely to allow priests to marry than it was to allow female priests.

And while I didn't know about the acceptance of married priests from the Orthodox tradition, I did know that Pope John Paul II did allow married British Episcopalian priests to give Catholic Mass (I don't know if that was ever extended to married U.S. Episcopalian priests).

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Posted by: Lot's Wife ( )
Date: March 12, 2023 09:52PM

At a few points in history the Catholic Church has encouraged Orthodox priests to convert. Those who did were allowed to keep both their priesthood authority and their wives and families.

The same thing has happened with Episcopal priests who converted to Catholicism. There are a scores of such married priests in the United States as we speak; people having marital troubles reportedly feel more comfortable talking to such priests than to celibate ones.

It's important to note--and ironic for Mormons--that celibacy in the Catholic Church is considered "policy" and not "doctrine."

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Posted by: Lot's Wife ( )
Date: March 12, 2023 04:56PM

That information is a bit "spun." The reason the church adopted celibacy in the 11th century was financial, but it wasn't to encourage donations to the church.

It was to stop nepotism. If a church leader had a family, he was highly likely to take all the money and power he could and transfer it to his children. He would also give them whatever church positions he could. The result was the personalization of church money and power.

Celibacy was designed to stop that practice, and it was probably 80% successful. The notion that allowing marriage will stop child abuse, however, is laughable. Pedophiles are not satisfied by relationships with adults be they women or men. This is just Frank trying to increase the number of men willing to enter the priesthood and then spinning that policy as child protection.

Which it is not.

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Posted by: summer ( )
Date: March 12, 2023 05:02PM

Right. The RC church is desperate for priests, and a move to end celibacy for parish priests (at some point) could easily be predicted. I think that Francis is simply testing the waters with the membership to see how the idea flies.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/12/2023 05:03PM by summer.

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Posted by: tensolator ( )
Date: March 12, 2023 04:56PM

Early Christians were naughty. Charlemagne had viele Frau. archeological digs have discovered ornate, ivory, self pleasuring devices.

Then Aquinas ruined that.

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Posted by: Brother Of Jerry ( )
Date: March 12, 2023 05:00PM

I fully expect that some day (though no time soon) the Q15 will announce that all LDS women who have been through the temple have been given the priesthood. The only difference between them and the men is that the women were not ordained to a specific office in the priesthood.

And starting from the time of the announcement, the Q15 have received a revelation that the time has now arrived to ordain women to offices within the priesthood.

I wonder what the female offices will be called. High Priestess? Younger Elder?

All doctrine everywhere is subject to change. As it should be when circumstances change.

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Posted by: Nightingale ( )
Date: March 12, 2023 05:04PM

Brother Of Jerry Wrote:
> All doctrine everywhere is subject to change. As
> it should be when circumstances change.

Yes. But in the worlds of fundy-leaning faiths, doctrine is eternally sacrosanct. That has been pounded in to my brain and it's hard to extract it.

I guess that's why the thought of changing doctrine seems like a big deal to me, even if I don't and have never believed in it.

I've often wondered how the Catholic Church could get out of their 'doctrine' of celibacy because what an explosive change. But all it takes is for the Pope to say it's not actually doctrine.

Simple as that.

And I can somewhat imagine myself, were I a nun, banging my head against the wall. (If the retraction of celibacy would include nuns. It would, wouldn't it?)

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Posted by: summer ( )
Date: March 12, 2023 05:09PM

I think there would still be plenty of room for celibacy within the church -- for nuns, brothers, and certain orders of priests. The priests for whom it would be eliminated would be the regular diocesan (or parish) priests, who do not have the restrictions of certain orders (i.e. the Jesuits, Dominicans, Franciscans, etc.) to follow. The church could also specify that certain higher positions (i.e. archbishop on up,) would only be open to celibate priests.

I think that changing the celibacy rule would go over well, once the membership has had time to get used to the idea. If you want to discuss major changes that *really* upset the membership, you'd have to go back to Vatican II. :)

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/12/2023 05:10PM by summer.

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Posted by: elderolddog ( )
Date: March 12, 2023 05:07PM

In my country, celibacy is known as intermission.

It has its uses.

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Posted by: Dave the Atheist ( )
Date: March 12, 2023 06:39PM

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/12/2023 06:42PM by Dave the Atheist.

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Posted by: bradley ( )
Date: March 12, 2023 07:43PM

Argentine latinas would give any pope second thoughts.

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Posted by: Dead Cat ( )
Date: March 13, 2023 02:13AM

Here's what happened.

Pope Frank sent a linguist down into the vaults at the Vatican to translate the original papal bull commanding celibacy.

The linguist came back and said "there was a translation error."

Pope Frank said how bad?

The linguist said "well just one word"

Pope Frank said "it can't be that bad then can it?"

The linguist said "it was supposed to say Celibrate not Celibate."

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