A reader writes:
I don't see how getting rid of celibacy is going to alleviate child molestation in the Church. Allowing married priests is OK with me, but let's not pretend that the stature of the Church would be enhanced by the works of Father Tiger Woods or Bishop Bill Clinton. Since they haven't repressed their sexual nature, just what is their excuse?
Child molestation is evil, but you seem to be saying that the surrounding culture's refusal, and the Church's refusal, to normalize the gay orientation is somehow the root cause. Do you realize what you are saying? You are saying that being gay is somehow involved. I have to differ with you on this. If, following Susan Brownmiller, rape is primarily a sociopathic act of dominance, rather than a sexual act as such, then I think we can agree that child abuse is not really about sex; it's about control.
I know the distinction may appear precious, but I think it holds true. Put it this way: how many people, who really want to have sex with someone, would want it and enjoy it if the partner had to be coerced, or drugged, or was otherwise not a willing and knowing participant? I would wager very few. It follows therefore that child abuse, like rape, has to be centered in some other psychological realm, not just an attraction to some person.
Therefore, a priest is abusing boys not because he is a closet homosexual but because he is a sick person, period. And that priest would just as easily be abusing girls or, for that matter, small mammals or dead bodies if he could. Boys are just the targets of opportunity. I don't think being gay has anything to do with it.
I do think the Church should consider jettisoning celibacy. However, in the current climate, what do you think that would lead to? It would lead to overwhelming suspicion against asexual and gay candidates. Let's hope the priesthood opens the doors to marriage down the road, but not right now.