Along with the recent child-molesting Catholic priest scandals comes another less disturbing revelation of priests breaking their celibacy vows– in the context of heterosexual, monogamous relationships, many of which result in the birth of children. But this normal social situation is, of course, seen as a betrayal of God and parishoners as the Catholic church struggles to uphold the archaic celibacy laws imposed on its thousands of priests.
Albert Cutiť is a former Roman Catholic priest who engaged in a hidden relationship with a woman (who is now his wife). He was forced to leave the church because of the scandal, but is now part of a growing movement to abolish the requirement of celibacy for Catholic priests.
Why not, indeed?
A loophole appeared in the church’s demand for celibacy when, at the beginning of this year, the Catholic church invited American Anglican (Episcopal) priests to convert and become Catholic priests in an effort to reunite Catholics and Protestants. Many Episcopal priests are married and have children but they were also welcomed to join the movement, which could “provide fodder for Catholics who want the Vatican to open up on the issue of priestly celibacy.”
Because the Episcopalian movement in America is quite small compared to Catholicism and Protestantism, it is unclear how many congregations will convert to Catholicism and what effects that will have on Catholic/Protestant relationships. But allowing married Episcopal priests into the Catholic church is sure to spark discussion on both sides of the issue.
Cutiť sums up his position on clerical celibacy with an elegant sentiment, urging all to “reconsider whether the imposition of celibacy for all priests and bishops called to serve God is necessary. Maybe having married clergy will help us all move on from a culture of sexual taboos and help us all deal with sexual issues with greater openness and transparency.”
Photo credit: thetalesend