It is burdensome and seemingly pointless to discuss what is at the core of the sexual abuse epidemic within the Catholic Church. Indeed tens of thousands of people have flocked to social media and the airwaves to opine on why this scandal has happened — before taking the time to read the facts, do some historical research, or even meditate and pray. As you know, this sort of nonsensical behavior has simply become standard protocol in our society these days. No one listens to rationality, reasoning, evidence or biblical truth. They simply spew a lot of inane ideas and worthless conjectures before moving on to the next soap opera. Thus a meaningful conversation becomes nearly impossible and all the more frustrating to implement.
However, the need for a coherent discussion is nonetheless necessary and critical, particularly as this scandal has resulted in so much brutal scrutiny of believers and criticism of the Catholic faith.
In the midst of the cacophony, I’ve noticed a rather disturbing theory that appears to be the most common, even among people who profess to be “believers” within other denominations. One Facebook user summarized it like this: “Well, if only Catholic priests were allowed to marry, this sort of thing wouldn’t be happening.”
Yes, that’s the overwhelmingly brilliant answer from most of America on how to solve the problem of sexual abuse within the Catholic Church: Just let those poor, pitiful priests get married. Then they wouldn’t have to go around raping little boys and girls. Never mind that Bishop Robert C. Morlino of Madison recently published a letter in which he openly admitted that there is undeniably “a homosexual subculture within the hierarchy of the Catholic Church that is wreaking great devastation in the vineyard of the Lord.”
Never mind that this report from Catholic News Agency reveals an unbridled, unchecked and prevalent gay culture within the Archdiocese of Newark. As you’re probably aware by now, this is where the homosexual predator priest Cardinal McCarrick served for quite a while.
Never mind that one report documented a priest who raped a girl and subsequently forced her to get an abortion.
Never mind that another report documented a priest who made a hospital visit for a little girl who was having her tonsils removed and instead raped her while he was there.
Oh, and never mind that the current Archbishop of Newark — Cardinal Tobin — once vehemently advocated for an “LGBT pilgrimage and Mass.”
Obviously the problem here is not that these Catholic priests were expected to adhere to celibacy requirements, but that they intentionally and knowingly chose perversion instead of righteous living. They chose the "practices of the sinful nature" which are "clearly evident" as "sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality (total irresponsibility, lack of self-control)..." (Galatians 5:19-21) In fact, the Apostle Paul himself boldly declares that “it would be better for [them] to marry” than to “burn with passion" (1 Corinthians 7:1-9), although it should simultaneously be noted that marriage itself certainly does not solve the moral dilemma of sexual depravity, lusts and temptations. Marriage is not a magical cure. One can still be married and struggle with tendencies toward homosexuality, pedophilia or any number of other sexual sins. And, I think it goes without saying that molesting little kids or living a gay lifestyle certainly qualify. Not to mention that the mere act of intentionally causing a child to stumble and be involved in such sin is worthy of being drowned in the ocean with a millstone around your neck. (Matthew 18:1-6) The ultimate cure, of course, is confession of one's sins (1 John 1:9), true repentance (Acts 3:19), and a daily walk with Christ.
And if getting married means that you can no longer be a Catholic priest, then so be it. Hang up your robe and throw away your collar. Pray and seek God’s will for the next chapter of your life. At least your conscience and soul will be clear before your Creator. Better to walk in the Truth and the Light than to risk forfeiting your soul to the eternal fires of Hell. Indeed, there is actually nothing unbiblical about being a pastor/priest and simultaneously being married. However, there is something unbiblical and immoral about sexual sins like pedophilia and homosexuality. That much is clear and inarguable.
It’s also worth noting that God often calls many Christian men and women alike — of various denominational beliefs — to a life of “singleness” for His divine purposes (Matthew 19:9-12) and yet the vast majority of these folks don’t wind up in the news for sexual abuse crimes. The reasons for a life of celibacy, singleness or sexual abstinence often differ widely in scope. Not everyone who adheres to such a life is doing so because he or she is in a ministry leadership position (although that could be the case for some.) There are also countless individuals — believers and unbelievers — who choose singleness in order to more actively focus on their careers; or out of fear of making the same mistakes their parents made; or because they feel safer when they’re single than in a relationship; or any number of other sound psychological, emotional or biblical reasons.
So, could it be that this priestly sexual abuse crisis actually has far more to do with perversion, debauchery, wickedness, satanic evil and sin than it does with any sort of Catholic celibacy requirement? Could it possibly be that “man’s heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked?” (Jeremiah 17:9) Could it be that these men made active choices of their own volition to give into sexual temptation and perversion; to give into their sin natures?
Could it be that “the celibacy requirement” is nothing more than a theological scapegoat upon which so many people seem to be blaming this horrific tragedy so that they don’t have to confront the real problem? Perhaps — just maybe — the notion of confronting sexual sin makes us uncomfortable because we know it’s not just a problem within “the Church.” It’s a problem within society. It’s a problem within our culture. And it’s a problem within our own hearts.
Perhaps that’s why we are so squeamish about it.
And yet, it is all the more reason why we should confront and combat it.
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