Archbishop: Let's Reexamine Celibacy

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Though the furor over German Catholic sexual abuse cases has reached into the heart of the Vatican, the pope thus far has defended the principle of celibacy. One bishop, however, isn't toeing the line. Cardinal Christoph Schönborn, archbishop of Vienna and one of the more outspoken skeptics of celibacy, wrote the following last week in a letter in Thema Kirche, the magazine of the Vienna archdiocese:

It's necessary really to put the victim before the perpetrator here, to blame by name. It is also necessary to ask about the causes of the abuses. That means the question of priestly training as well as the question of what was accomplished ... with the 'sexual revolution.' That means the matter of celibacy as well as the matter of personal development. That also means a large amount of honesty, in the church as well as in society.

Cardinal Schönborn's words spring from a deep frustration with the continuing evidence of abuses. "Enough!" he exclaims, saying that many are fed up with the continuing problems. In this letter as well as an earlier one, Cardinal Schönborn makes reference to a passage from the Gospel of John: "the truth will set you free."

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.