Monday, June 22, 2009

Sex and the Priestly: Father Cutie Renews Celibacy Debate

Amy Sullivan has written an interesting article about the renewed celibacy debate in the latest issue of the online Time ezine. The article "Sex and the Priestly: Father Cutie Renews Celibacy Debate" can be found HERE.

Obviously, former Catholic priest Alberto Cutie and former Milwaukee Archbishop Rembert Weakland have brought the celibacy debate to the forefront in recent weeks through Cutie's actions and Archbishop Weakland's memoirs.

In a quote from the article: "Although both he and Cutie have insisted they do not want to be held up as poster boys for changing the Church's celibacy requirement, their stories have added new fuel to a long-simmering debate. The Catholic Church in the U.S. has a serious priest crisis — the number of men entering the priesthood has dropped by 60% over the past four decades and the current average age of active priests is 60. Many dioceses have been forced to close parishes or import foreign priests to deal with shortages. But advocates of celibacy reform say there is a better solution: ditch the 900-year-old church law prohibiting priests from marrying or being sexually active."

Ms Sullivan gives a short history of celibacy in the Catholic Church in her article and notes the possibility of making the "rule" into a voluntary discipline, advocated by some theologians.

What say you?


Robert Dibdale said...

The one example of a fallen cleric in your posting would not have his problems solved within a Christian marriage and the other cleric's quick apostasy to Protestantism would seem to indicate that his issues involve more than a desire for marriage. He could have left the clerical state and remained within the Church if he adhered to her doctrines. Evidently he does not even hold to the Catholic Church's beliefs about marriage if he was open to submitting himself to Canterbury.

The celibacy issue is part of the venerable tradition of the Latin Church - as opposed to the Byzantine or Maronite Churches and has contributed much to the obvious success and amazing growth and spread of western Catholicism around the world. Other US dioceses where vocations to the priesthood are more plentiful than in Richmond give evidence that "celibacy" is not the most significant cause of our difficulties here. Additionally, our local Church was able to recruit plenty of priests in recent history without any significant difficulty - celibacy is no more difficult for men today than it was for men in previous generations.

Anonymous said...

If priests were allowed to get married, we wouldn't have all these problems with priests molesting little boys.

MaryEllen said...

For the last 870 years the Church has required that priests be celibate. This is a vow to God as well as to the Church itself.

He knew what he was getting himself into when he entered the priesthood. He broke his vow plain and simple.

He should have left the priesthood immediately upon realizing he had "feelings" for this woman instead of dragging it out this long.

He says he does not want to be held up as the "poster child" for reforming the Church on this issue, but his "actions" speak otherwise.

The Episcopals took him in too quickly as well. What is to stop him from breaking any vows they make of him?