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A man with courage comes forward and makes a suggestion that could end the abuse of children by the Catholic church, solve the shortage of nuns and priests, and bring the church into the 21st Century.
This man, an Australian bishop, was immediately dismissed by the Pope, who thinks that the 21st Century is still a few hundred years away and that Henry VIII is his biggest problem and any suggestion of doing away with the celibacy rule is tantamount to treason and death should be the penalty.
The fact is the Roman Catholic church (catholic clergy not led by Rome are often allowed to marry) is steeped in tradition, one that is destroying it from within. To deny a person, a man or a woman, their basic needs, is the sin, and it is the mortal sin of a church, led by an ancient pope, who cannot accept the reality that many of his representatives of God on earth are criminals.
Celibacy for priests, by the way, is a discipline in the Latin Catholic Church, not a doctrine: in other words, a church regulation, but not an integral part of Church teaching. It is based upon the life of Christ and his celibate way of life. However the first pope, St. Peter, as well as many subsequent popes, bishops, and priests during the church’s first 270 years were in fact married men, and often fathers. The practice of clerical continence, along with a prohibition of marriage by men once they were ordained a deacon, priest or bishop, is traceable from the time of the Council of Elvira.
This law was reinforced in the Directa Decretal (385) and at the Council of Carthage in 390. The tradition of clerical continence developed into a practice of clerical celibacy (ordaining only unmarried men) from the 11th century onward among Latin Rite Catholics and became a formal part of canon law in 1917. This law of clerical celibacy does not apply to Eastern Catholics. Until recently, the Eastern Catholic bishops of North America would generally ordain only unmarried men, for fear that married priests would create scandal. Since Vatican II’s call for the restoration of Eastern Catholic traditions, a number of bishops have returned to the traditional practice of ordaining married men to the presbyterate. Bishops are still celibate and normally chosen from the ranks of monks.
What the Catholics don’t want you to know is that the bigger reason for denying priests the right to marry was that upon their death they were to leave their estates to the church, not some pesky wife or squealing kids thus enriching the Catholic coffers.
I don’t want to say that allowing priests to marry would completely stop priest abuse of children. It would not, but it would certainly curb it, and that is a statement borne out not just by common sense but by the lack of widespread abuse of children by clergy not prohibited to marry by their God, who apparently is different from the Catholic God, a leader of a religion that touts itself as the only true faith.
Personally I believe religion to be dangerous to mankind at large. It is based on myths, magic and ancient beliefs that have no basis in fact, but that is not the issue. We are stuck with this nonsense so the best we can do is to make the religious tolerable and less of a threat to society. Perhaps allowing Catholic priests and nuns to marry would go a long way to neutralizing that threat and returning to these faith filled unfortunates a dignity and humanity once thought forever lost.
Finally, isn’t it a little ironic that a religion that preaches the value of family and marriage forbids its religious leaders from enjoying the union?
Here is the story from the AP:
An Australian bishop claims the Roman Catholic church sacked him because he advocated the ordaining of women and married men. The Vatican confirmed today that Bishop William Morris had been “removed from pastoral care” by Pope Benedict XVI, and Morris claims the ouster was a result of a 2006 message in which he argued that the church should consider ordaining women and married men, in light of the current priest shortage.
The pope, however, is staunchly against anyone other than celibate men being ordained in the Roman Catholic church. Morris claimed his message sparked a Vatican investigation. The Vatican’s move against Morris was strong by its typical standards, the AP notes; usually, the Vatican will ask a church leader to resign and then simply announce that the pope has accepted the resignation.