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Should Catholic priests remain celibate?

17:59 UK time, Friday, 12 March 2010

Pope Benedict XVI has defended celibacy among priests, saying it was a sign of "full devotion" to the Catholic Church. Do you agree?

The Pope was speaking at a theological conference before meeting Germany's top bishop for talks about a new crisis over sexual abuse of children.

The Archbishop of Vienna had suggested that the Church should examine celibacy and priests' training. He said, "It requires a great deal of honesty, both on the part of the Church and of society as a whole."

But the Pope said on Friday that celibacy is "the sign of full devotion, the entire commitment to the Lord and to the 'Lord's business', an expression of giving oneself to God and to others".

Is the Pope right to reaffirm celibacy for priests? Would removing the vow of celibacy make priests less devout? Does celibacy show a priest commitment to the Catholic Church? Should Catholic priests be allowed to marry and have families?

Comments

Page 1 of 9

  • Comment number 1.

    Although I don't agree with the Catholic Church on many issues, if a man entering the catholic priesthood is willing to remain celibate, then it's up to him. If you think that remaining celibate will bring you closer to God and make you a better person, best of luck to you.

    It's not like the church is pressuring you to do anything you don't want to do. Not everyone is meant to become a priest. But I guess that's just me...

  • Comment number 2.

    They have challenged the basic human instinct and failed.
    So what next? Castration?

  • Comment number 3.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 4.

    Theres a BIG difference between should and do....
    After all Priests are only human too...

  • Comment number 5.

    Of course they should not remain celibate. How on earth can they expect to advise and help people with everyday problems when they haven't experienced that life themselves ? I think the Catholic Church is terrified of changing the ruling because many gay men choose to be priests as it's a way of hiding their sexuality from their parents and provides a convenient way of avoiding explaining why they haven't got a girlfriend or chosen to get married. If the ruling changes then less men will choose to be priests because it would no longer provide a hiding place. I don't for one minute think all gay men are child abusers, like the media likes to suggest, but I do think that being a priest has helped many gay men avoid telling their families that they are gay.

  • Comment number 6.

    He is wrong and always will be. It is not natural for anyone to be forced into celibacy. As an atheist I find it impossible to understand the mind set of a man who is totally out of touch. At least within the Anglian church the clerics can all marry and have children and therefore have a greater understanding of family life and all other matters thereof;RC priests are too fond of pontificating about matters such as birth control and marriage.

  • Comment number 7.

    It should, and I believe will, stay as it is. The church has more sense than to bow to the fashions of the day. Commitment might not be in vogue but we should thank God, the socialists can't dictate religion like they manipulate social norms.

    More power to Benny, more power to God!

  • Comment number 8.

    Are catholic priests celibate ???

  • Comment number 9.

    I do wonder if the pope does actually know why the celebacy rule was imposed on the Priesthood.
    1345 was when it happened. Why, you may ask? A fairly simple answer is MONEY!!!! That is what the church are wanting. What happened was that many older Priests were going to their maker before their wives. Therefore all their wealth was being given to the wife, and not the church. So to counter this terrible iniquity, Priests as they still do take a mistress, not a very bad thing to do, after all it is a natural function in life. Pity so many of them actually believe in celebacy, and turn their attention onto small boys and girls. I know, I was one of them and at 74 years of age still suffer the consequences.

  • Comment number 10.

    "Where in any bible did it say that ? The apostles' were all married men .This cannon law only dates from the middle ages' to stop the priest and nuns and monks haveing familys e.tc. its very wrong to stop men haveing normal relationships with women? All the trouble with his priest, and bishops around the world, should have told him this fact.

  • Comment number 11.

    Judging by some of the recent news stories about Catholic priests many are 'celibate; in the same way some benefits claimants are 'single'.

  • Comment number 12.

    I don't think it's the place of HYS to question Papal infallibility. How dare the BBC question whether the Pope is right.

  • Comment number 13.

    Celibacy of the priesthood is not "biblical". The Council of Trent made it Canon law, and as the Catholic Church has done for over one thousand years, *IT* decided what a Christian is supposed to believe. Many Christians are still unaware of this fact of history. They believe fairy tales invented by Rome. Unfortunately, celibacy of the priesthood is one of those fairy tales and it has led to some great evils, including this problem of sexual abuse of kids. Anyone who has studied the history of the C. Church knows that this problem is not new - it has been going on since the Dark Ages. Does anyone doubt for a moment that there are priests abusing kids even as we speak, and are protected by their superiors? Of course there are.

  • Comment number 14.

    Making a priest remain celibate is the stupidest thing I've ever heard. I mean seriously: Sex is awesome. Wouldn't an all loving God WANT YOU to have sex? Especially if it was in a loving relationship (or marriage) in which a good Christian family would arise? Forcing someone to go against one of the strongest instincts humans have just to "prove their devotion to God" is a great example of why I don't believe in any of this stuff.

  • Comment number 15.

    We already have some married C of E vicars who have converted to Roman Catholicism so in a sense "the cat is out of the bag" already. That said, vocation to the Roman Catholic priesthood has included the vow of celibacy for several centuries and it does mean that Catholic priests can devote all their attention to their parishioners without the added responsibility of a wife and family. Celibacy is also practised by Buddhist monks for much the same reasons of detachment. And let's not forget all the nuns in convents who take their vow of celibacy as part of a voluntary vocation. It is quite clear that those who cannot practise celibacy for whatever reasons should not seek ordination to the Catholic priesthood but they can still fill a vital role as zealous members of the various charitable lay organisations such as St Vincent de Paul.

  • Comment number 16.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 17.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 18.

    Complete celibacy among priests is unnatural.
    I hate it when anyone, including the Pope, pretends to know what God wants as devotion or entire commitment. How on earth so many people KNOW what God wants is totally beyond me? To me it's the epitome of human arrogance.
    The writings of the Church fathers clearly show that, in the early Church, married priests were not the accepted norm in the main centers of Alexandria, Antioch and Rome, but marriage was considered a “problem” in the outlying regions. By the 3rd century there were almost no married priests. By the 9th century many bishops and priests were at it again – taking wives and having kids. The church retackled the issue.
    The problem was not really the marriage; it was the ‘WILLING” OF Church property to priests’ families. A church could go broke with all these kids inheriting church property. In 1123, celibacy was made official. So the official decision had more to do with church property and keeping it within the Church then anything devotional or spiritual.

  • Comment number 19.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 20.

    What a stange and conficting message to send to the people with the srongest faith.You have to be able to deny sex to demonstate faith in your religion.
    Has it dawned on these wise men of Rome,that if everyone followed this doctrine,they would eventually have no one left to preach to.

  • Comment number 21.

    I seem to recall 1 Timothy ch 4 vs. 3 suggesting this practice of forbidding to marry was not Gods will ?

  • Comment number 22.

    I think the celibacy should be lifted, this was imposed by the church not out of "full devotion" but to avoid the passing or property to his heirs, sorry this pope guy is not telling the whole story behind it(not the 1st time that happens anyway). I don't think is HEALTHY that a young man/woman (when most people start priesthood) should repress his/her sexuality. Celibacy should be an individual choice but not out repression but out of boredom and wisdom, and comes only after you have enjoyed, experienced, and lived sexuality to the fullest.In the meantime it feels (for me at least) that a priest talking about sexuality is like a kindergarten kid talking about university life.

  • Comment number 23.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 24.

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  • Comment number 25.

    I`ve always had the belief that religion is a man-made thing. So really, it makes no difference what any priest does.

  • Comment number 26.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 27.

    I believe priests must allow to be married. I may not be an expert on this subject as I don't belong to the religion. However, I can say one thing for sure. There are some scientific techniques for remaining celibate. It is impossible to remain celibate unless you follow these rules
    1) Wake up at 3 am in the morning
    2) Avoiding meat, fast food (very important)
    3) Physical exercises and constant occupation of the mind

    If these are not followed, one must have a will of steel to remain celibate. I anyway doubt the celibacy of 90% of catholic priests

  • Comment number 28.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 29.

    Speaking as a roman catholic celibacy evoloved in the church and is a matter of cannon law rather than doctrine as married priests in the UK who have converted from the church of england shows. This matter has been raised in the context of the dreadful behaviour of a small number of priests. It is also important to remember these events reported now happened in the past and today both the degree of vigilance and willingness to act is different today. We should not confuse paedophillia and celibacy as being part of the same arguement they are not - paedophiles will not be deterred by marriage but they will always seek positions of trust such as the clergy, paedophiles must be rooted out and dealt with under the criminal law. As the Holy Father says paedophillia and covedring it up is an abomination. Celibacy is something that will be kept under review but remember all christian traditions are short of ministers so allowing priest to marry will not solve that matter. Being a priest is a big ask and only those who really have a deep commmitment to serve people should do it.

  • Comment number 30.

    Well, I suppose it leaves more for the rest of us. But seriously, what a load of nonsense. There is no obvious religious reason for celibacy, gay or straight.
    If you really must go down this route, it's up to you. What I can tell you as a bloke is that the need carries on for ever, regardless of the opportunity or capability. Perhaps if you're into God big time you're better off not having the experience, then you can only guess what you've missed.

  • Comment number 31.

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  • Comment number 32.

    Does it really matter? The Catholic Church is free to set whatever rules it likes for its own members. As long as it doesn't encroach on the rest of us (eg by opposing condom distribution in HIV-ridden parts of Africa), then it can insist that its priest be celibate, vegetarian, naturist, or any other character trait that it chooses.

  • Comment number 33.

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  • Comment number 34.

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  • Comment number 35.

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  • Comment number 36.

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  • Comment number 37.

    Many Catholics are in favour of celibate priests and strongly against homesexuality, because of what is written in the Bible. I suggest that they read Leviticus 21. This states that priests must have perfect bodies and that any people with deformities are not fit to represent God. Yes, this discriminates against disabled people and if Catholics really believe in the Bible being the word of God, Pope John Paul II would have been kicked out of the priesthood long before his death and I doubt if Pope Benedict XVI has a perfect body.

    If Catholics scream, "No, we can't be prejudiced against disabled priests and we should ignore Leviticus 21", then why can't they ignore sexist and homophobic passages in the Bible and why should all Catholic priests be celibate?

  • Comment number 38.

    Brother Pope: we are not supposed to be fully devoted to the church; we are supposed to be fully devoted to Jesus Christ! People go to Heaven, not churches! When Jesus comes back, he will rule from Jerusalem, not from the Vatican. Drop celibacy, even if the wife does not receive a salary from the RCC.

  • Comment number 39.

    It is time for the Catholic Church to come in from the dark ages; to stop trying to control humanity through ignorance and fear; and to stop limiting the totalilty of God baced on the stupidity of this man-made institution.

  • Comment number 40.

    It's the Roman Catholics' church and their decision to make about priests' celibacy. But if that church permitted more marriage among priests in addition to those who have been allowed to be married by special circumstances, perhaps the child sexual abuse situation would not have been as widespread as it has been, and the church also likely would be able to fill more of those thousands of vacancies. The flip side of the vacancy situation - more lay ministry as the church hierarchy ever so slowly loosen their clerical grip on its members.

  • Comment number 41.

    it was my understanding that in order to be a catholic priest you have to take vows - one of them is to remain celibate? surely if you break those vows then you prove you aren't qualified to be a priest and should be dismissed. But what seems to have happened here is that it was simply swept under the rug.

    If a person breaks the terms of their contract in any other profession, they would be collecting their dole. Why is it different just because your "boss" is the pope?

  • Comment number 42.

    24. At 8:24pm on 12 Mar 2010, Will Bungay wrote:

    "12. At 7:23pm on 12 Mar 2010, ThoughtsRThings wrote:
    I don't think it's the place of HYS to question Papal infallibility. How dare the BBC question whether the Pope is right."

    I hope this is a joke. I'll give you the benefit of the doubt, but be aware that sarcasm travels poorly over the internet.

    The Catholic Church is an appalling organisation and the world is sorrier for its existence. The pope is a joke, how some people follow this man as a role model I will never understand.

    Celibacy is ridiculous, it's all part of some weird notion that sexual activity is somehow linked to morality. Living in a moral way is to live in a way in which you are honest and hurt nobody. It's nobodies business who you have sex with and it's nobodies right to make you feel bad for doing so.


    Actually when the person you are having sex with is a child then it is someone else's business, the police.

    Though I agree with your statement in regards to sexuality of adults, in the case mentioned in the article the priest in question wasn't gay, he was a paedophile. telling him he should remain celibate and this somehow makes him being sexually attracted to children acceptable is monstrous. The church should have handed him over to the authorities after the first reported case of molestation, instead they "moved him" and gave him "counselling".

  • Comment number 43.

    Celibate as a sign of devotion. Hmmmm.
    Would modern psychology/management theory advocate such a regime?

  • Comment number 44.

    Its a sin to use contraception but its okay to be celibate?

  • Comment number 45.

    > I don't think it's the place of HYS to question Papal infallibility

    You're kidding, right? But just in case...

    I jolly wel hope you don't think it's the place of the Pope to tell the BBC or any individual or any institution in the UK what to do, and I doubt very much whether the Pope thinks it's his place to do that either.

  • Comment number 46.

    I really do not understand this assumed link between celibacy and child abuse, the church of england has many cases of child abuse yet there is not a celibacy issue there. The bible clearly refers to celibacy as the optimal way of life for christ followers but accepts that this is difficult for most followers. We look to priests as shepherds, examples in faith. To all the people on here who talk about being forced into celibacy they are naive, no one is forced into being a priest, it is a choice they have made and has certain requirements. Perhaps if society was less sex obsessed and allowed people to live celibate lives without being considered abnormal this would not be such an issue. The problem lies with an immoral society and not with the priesthood.

  • Comment number 47.

    24. At 8:24pm on 12 Mar 2010, Will Bungay wrote:
    "12. At 7:23pm on 12 Mar 2010, ThoughtsRThings wrote:
    I don't think it's the place of HYS to question Papal infallibility. How dare the BBC question whether the Pope is right."

    I hope this is a joke. I'll give you the benefit of the doubt, but be aware that sarcasm travels poorly over the internet.

    The Catholic Church is an appalling organisation and the world is sorrier for its existence. The pope is a joke, how some people follow this man as a role model I will never understand.

    Celibacy is ridiculous, it's all part of some weird notion that sexual activity is somehow linked to morality. Living in a moral way is to live in a way in which you are honest and hurt nobody. It's nobodies business who you have sex with and it's nobodies right to make you feel bad for doing so.

    So you're not a Catholic and I respect that. Please have the common decency to respect my views as a Catholic.

    The Pope's comments are directed at Catholic believers. If you don't believe then that's fine but it doesn't give anyone the right to criticise and insult those who do.

  • Comment number 48.

    Catholic priests should be allowed to have normal sexual relationships. However, celibacy would be preferable to molesting children.

  • Comment number 49.

    The Celibacy is ofcourse totally unnecessary,but should not be used
    to excuse sexabuse cases.Marrige dont stop a Paedophlile,but can be
    used as a cover.Maybe some Prist did choose to become Prist,because
    a long time,prists where untoucheble. And who would have belived a
    childs acussation against the word of a Prist?aspeacally if high
    ranking?Not so long ago,it had been like that,in their Prist Talar
    they where relativly safe,evan to be suspected.

  • Comment number 50.

    The Catholic church makes its rules to suit its objectives, much like an army makes its rules for behavior and following orders. If priests were married as they were until the 14th century, they would have a more satisfying personal and emotional life, as well as have a better understanding of their parishioners. The offending priests who engaged in pedophilia are not treated like ordinary citizen are under the law - they usually get a PASS / Get out of Jail Free ticket.
    The Church has modified its beliefs and what is acceptable to the hierarchy over the centuries, kicking out those that did not agree with the changes.
    Apart from their activities in propagating ignorance and blind, unthinking faith, they keep trying to convert others. Yet most of the wars and conflicts in history and today are caused by religious differences. Without religion to cause these conflicts, the world would be a better place. While the "christian" religions have largely grown up and do not cause internecine conflicts, the conversions in Africa cause slaughters like the one in Nigeria. The Islamic faith is divided by a 1360 year old disagreement and look at the deaths it causes today.

    A life or ethics and morals and good will towards one's fellows is all that is needed to do away with the blind faith that exists for billions today. Does their God save them from poverty, illness or death?
    No, but their churches want them to pay and keep the church alive and prosperous. So in the end, it is : Follow the Money. Sell indulgences, directly or indirectly.

  • Comment number 51.

    There is no room in modern society for dark ages religion. Religion should not be protected by any laws.

  • Comment number 52.

    I'd like to ask why people think priests SHOULDN'T be celibate? it isn't as though having sex is compulsory? if the church feels only celibates can make good priests then that is the way is must be - if they can't control their urges they should not have become a priest. end of story as far as I'm concerned.

  • Comment number 53.

    Only if they're ugly.

  • Comment number 54.

    Celibacy does not answer the issue of human need in respect to family life. Becase of this the Catholic church is known for having devout prists which makes celibacy questionable.Full devotion comes from change to serve God and a married prist has all the right to serve HIM as long as he is obedient to HIS Command.

  • Comment number 55.

    Celibacy is an unnatural condition. Some people never get married due to various circumstances in their lives that impeded that possiblity, others have mental probelms, some chose celibacy both male and female because of their personaliites, honestly some people are unfit to be parents and are incapable of loving relationships, but to make it into part of a insitutionalized religion stinks of medievalism, the Inquisition, and obduracy from unyieding dogma. Is it any wonder that there has been so much sexual abuse of children by Catholic clergy? There were times in the history in the Catholic Church when convents where really nothing but sanctimonious brothels frequented by clergy to relieve themselevs of the "fire down below" as the rock song says. Many babies born in convents were murdered to hide what was going on. Historical fact. That may not occur today but people are people even if they wear the habit of a religioius order. Do away with this ridiculous notion of a man inhibiting himself from having desrious thoughts towards women, let priests marry and be normal men and that will go a long way to reforming the Church which is stuck in the mud of another century. Otherwise the Church will be left behind becoming irrelevant as world society progresses. The Church's silence about the anti-gay laws being passed in Uganda that penlaize gays with execution is also morally indefensible, atrocious, and complicit in legalized murder. This Pope has a nack for atagonizing just about everybody everywhere. The Catholic Church either shakes off the cowebs of its fossilized past or it dies as more and more worshippers abandon the faith. We are not living in the times of the Spanish Conquista of the Americas and the Church should forget what it once was or it will be nothing in the future but a museum of curiosities. Having faith doesn't mean being stupid.

  • Comment number 56.

    42. At 9:26pm on 12 Mar 2010, androstempest wrote:
    24. At 8:24pm on 12 Mar 2010, Will Bungay wrote:

    "12. At 7:23pm on 12 Mar 2010, ThoughtsRThings wrote:
    I don't think it's the place of HYS to question Papal infallibility. How dare the BBC question whether the Pope is right."

    I hope this is a joke. I'll give you the benefit of the doubt, but be aware that sarcasm travels poorly over the internet.

    The Catholic Church is an appalling organisation and the world is sorrier for its existence. The pope is a joke, how some people follow this man as a role model I will never understand.

    Celibacy is ridiculous, it's all part of some weird notion that sexual activity is somehow linked to morality. Living in a moral way is to live in a way in which you are honest and hurt nobody. It's nobodies business who you have sex with and it's nobodies right to make you feel bad for doing so.

    Actually when the person you are having sex with is a child then it is someone else's business, the police.

    Though I agree with your statement in regards to sexuality of adults, in the case mentioned in the article the priest in question wasn't gay, he was a paedophile. telling him he should remain celibate and this somehow makes him being sexually attracted to children acceptable is monstrous. The church should have handed him over to the authorities after the first reported case of molestation, instead they "moved him" and gave him "counselling".







    Well of course I wasn't talking about paedophilia, just celibacy in general but I should have been clearer.

  • Comment number 57.

    I believe that this is an issue that should be decided by the Catholic Church and that those outside the Catholic Church should have no say about it. You either believe or don't believe. If you believe, you play by the rules. If you don't believe, then you do whatever you want outside the Catholic Church. As simple as that. Should circumcision be abandoned? Well, this is a matter for Moslems and Jews. We are talking about issues that are specific to specific religions or branches of a specific religion. I am against Proletariat Dictatorship.

  • Comment number 58.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 59.

    47. At 9:37pm on 12 Mar 2010, ThoughtsRThings wrote at me:

    So you're not a Catholic and I respect that. Please have the common decency to respect my views as a Catholic.

    The Pope's comments are directed at Catholic believers. If you don't believe then that's fine but it doesn't give anyone the right to criticise and insult those who do. "



    I have, and will exercise my right to criticise whoever I want as is proper in a free society, but my main objection with what you wrote was "How dare the BBC question whether the Pope is right". Catholics view the pope as infallible, but it doesn't mean anyone else has to respect him and given his worldwide influence he can't escape criticism.

    I'm sorry but I can't respect your views as a Catholic or any other religious belief as I feel they do not warrant the least reverence.

  • Comment number 60.

    The Pope is the last person on earth to dictate on matters of the flesh. Whole continents are condemned to suffering from HIV/AIDS because of his antiquated and narrow minded view on the use of condoms.
    Surrounded by riches beyond compare he lays down laws for Catholics to obey. Its time they all moved into the 21st. Century.

  • Comment number 61.

    Yes, when it involves young boys.

  • Comment number 62.

    12. At 7:23pm on 12 Mar 2010, ThoughtsRThings wrote:
    I don't think it's the place of HYS to question Papal infallibility. How dare the BBC question whether the Pope is right.

    Methinks you are a little too defensive. Go forth and question you might be surprised at the answers.

  • Comment number 63.

    Priesthood should be celibate. The reason being they are married to God and second marriage is not a nice thing to do. God provides fodder to the soul which is much much more filling then female providing fodder to the body through food and sex as a married man. Still it should be optional for the Priest to decide if he can afford two in these high inflation times.He may have a different view point to offer for marriage as its also considered holy bonding of two noble hearts on this planet earth.

  • Comment number 64.

    I once asked a Catholic priest if he would like to marry and have children. He replied "yes, of course I would." He went on to say the main reason the Catholic church disallowed marriage of priests was due to the fact they would have to pay for the support of the wife and children. This would be a burden to the church's finances.

  • Comment number 65.

    I never thought the Roman Catholic Church had authority to criticise anything in society. Its past is extremely violent and dirty, besides it had persistently tried to halt science and social progress by persecuting, torturing and killing people for centuries and centuries.

    As to celibacy at all, it is against the natural instincts of any sexual being, which persistently seeks to achieve three major goals: to avoid being killed by others, to avoid starvation and to reproduce itself. It is as simple as that.

    The celibacy in the Catholic Church seems to be something based upon solid material considerations, its justification being spurious and not to be taken seriously by reasonable folks. As a matter of fact, this institution should not be out there telling people what to think and what to do concerning sexual behaviour or anything at all. The cases of child abuse about which we have been informed through the media all over the world are not new. These despicable deeds done by evil priests have been happening over centuries and centuries. After all, perpetrators and those who protect them believe that they will be eventually forgiven by the merciful god they worship, expecting an act mercy that they did not show to the defenceless souls they preyed on. It's about time the Catholic Church paid for its heinous crimes, judicially and financially.

  • Comment number 66.

    59. At 10:23pm on 12 Mar 2010, Will Bungay wrote:
    47. At 9:37pm on 12 Mar 2010, ThoughtsRThings wrote at me:

    So you're not a Catholic and I respect that. Please have the common decency to respect my views as a Catholic.

    The Pope's comments are directed at Catholic believers. If you don't believe then that's fine but it doesn't give anyone the right to criticise and insult those who do. "



    I have, and will exercise my right to criticise whoever I want as is proper in a free society, but my main objection with what you wrote was "How dare the BBC question whether the Pope is right". Catholics view the pope as infallible, but it doesn't mean anyone else has to respect him and given his worldwide influence he can't escape criticism.

    I'm sorry but I can't respect your views as a Catholic or any other religious belief as I feel they do not warrant the least reverence.


    As I stated, I respect your views. You seem incapable of respecting other people's views which is a shame.

    You state 'The Catholic Church is an appalling organisation and the world is sorrier for its existence.' Where do you get the evidence for this sweeping statement?

    As I mentioned previously, the Pope was addressing the Catholic Church with his comments. he was not addressing non Catholics.



  • Comment number 67.

    Where in the Bible does it say priests should be celibate?

  • Comment number 68.

    Archaic, anachronistic and illogical--just like many of the Church's other policies.

  • Comment number 69.

    re# 12. At 7:23pm on 12 Mar 2010, ThoughtsRThings wrote:
    "I don't think it's the place of HYS to question Papal infallibility. How dare the BBC question whether the Pope is right."

    If the Pope is infallible then why did the Church admit that Galileo was right and that the earth does in fact revolve about the sun--but only after modern science had proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that Galileo had been correct all along? Apparently only a living pope is infallible, a dead one can be wrong.

  • Comment number 70.

    Of course it is a silly idea that priest cannot marry. It dates back to the Dark Ages. By what other road would a person truly understand the nature of suffering unless they get married. I'm sure my wife would agree!

  • Comment number 71.

    I had understood that priests were at one time allowed to marry, and that celibacy was only required before communion? This does seem to me to be a more realistic idea of people's emotional and physical needs. If celibacy was then their own personal choice, it would be a matter just between them and God.

    Nos 32 & 57: it may be that no one outside the Catholic Church should have a say in this - except that some children have been abused by Catholic priests, and I do wonder whether those priests would have done so if they had been allowed a natural sexual life.

    No 62: historically, at times Popes have supported appalling causes. Even in religion it can be dangerous not to question.

  • Comment number 72.

    A man has needs and for him to deny himself puts him in a very vunerable state of mind particularly when they are close to children! Also for a priest to know about every day problems they must have first hand experience otherwise the advice given will be treated with sceptism.
    There has been that many scandals in the catholic church its done the faith no good at all and to simply deny a man his emotional and physical needs makes the likelyhood of it occuring again inevitable.
    Best thing they can do is obolish the ruling let them be normal human beings.Covering things up is not the solution, changing the rules is a more sensible solution.

  • Comment number 73.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 74.

    It's a bit TOO LATE to be asking that question .... about celibacy, when ALL the priest I have read about in books about, YEARS of sexual abuse in Ireland, shows that most of them clearly were NOT!!! The damage has already been done! Over a generation has been abused, because of so called 'celibacy'. Having read many such books and seen heartbreaking documentaries, in my view there is NO such thing as celibrate priest! You ask the thousands, if not millions of abused kids (now adults) around the world. And the sad thing about that? They, now adults are 'abused' again as even in the books, that they have now written, they are not allowed to name and SHAME them! So the abuser dies protected and the victim dies in torment. It's just TOO LATE.....

  • Comment number 75.

    Catholic priests should remain in a cell for a bit.

  • Comment number 76.

    I think priests should marry. It is not normal for a man to be celibate and by living a family life i believe it could prove to the public that they are 'normal'. Too many paedophiles hide behind the walls of monastries.

  • Comment number 77.

    66. At 11:06pm on 12 Mar 2010, ThoughtsRThings wrote:
    59. At 10:23pm on 12 Mar 2010, Will Bungay wrote:
    47. At 9:37pm on 12 Mar 2010, ThoughtsRThings wrote at me:



    "As I stated, I respect your views. You seem incapable of respecting other people's views which is a shame." - I respect other people's opinions but only when they are the product of rational consideration and religion just doesn't qualify. I do respect your right to have these views, but you cannot ask me to respect the views themselves.

    "You state 'The Catholic Church is an appalling organisation and the world is sorrier for its existence.' Where do you get the evidence for this sweeping statement?" - Widespread child abuse and cover-ups, support for the Nazi regime, opposition to HIV preventing contraception and it is a power hungry freedom hating organisation famed for its bigotry.

    "As I mentioned previously, the Pope was addressing the Catholic Church with his comments. he was not addressing non Catholics." - So? The slave owners used to whip their slaves, does that mean that an outsider might not object?

  • Comment number 78.

    My dad is a Baptist minister,and I don't think he's less devoted to his job, or his faith, because he has a family; in fact I think he's more so than he might have been as the difficulties my family has faced have consolidated his faith.

  • Comment number 79.

    All priest should be allowed to marry & have children! Life is hard enough! Without adding that pressure too. In my view, we have ONE LIFE & to go through this one life denying yourself something like that .... Why can't a Christian have both? A married life & a Christian life! Wouldn't life be better? I am SURE if that were changed and priest could marry & have children, that more men would want to join. As it is, I would HATE it if my son said he wanted to join!

  • Comment number 80.

    Celibacy hasn't worked out well, for the church or for those they were supposed to supporting - the children under their care and in their parishes. The Catholic Church has taken in protestant ministers who've left their denominations due to lack of social conservatism and these ministers are married with children. So it works even for the Church. And if one goes back historically, Catholic priests were married with children.

    I say this as a life-long Catholic with 16 years of Catholic school education. We were lucky parish and don't have any history of sexual abuse against children. But given the horribly evil acts of abuse we just keep hearing about I am convinced the Church needs to change. I also believe that allowing more normalized life-style for priests and nuns will mean increased number of persons wanting to serve the Church. I also believe having priests and nuns living as we do ourselves better serves all of us.

  • Comment number 81.

    Wow! My comment broke the house rules! Which part? Was it the suggestion that allowing priests to marry would increase enrolment?
    Was it the fact that recruitment is down and that when I visited Quebec city a few years ago, the large seminary only housed one priest in training?
    Was it that an increase in recruitment would encourage the Vatican to remove priests who were guilty of abuse rather than shunting them to a new diocese?

    These are hardly contraversial or offensive. If these comments are considered so by the moderators of this HYS, how can this topic be discussed at all?
    I suppose this comment will be rejected too and it will look as if I said something homophobic. In fact I defend the rights of gays and lesbians and it goes without saying that youngsters can be abused by heterosexuals. I think something I said was extrapolated into something else entirely in a 2 plus 2 equals 5 sort of way.
    I remain stunned!

  • Comment number 82.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 83.

    Ideally, priests should have a family, in order to be closer to families and to do their "job" better.
    however, celibacy was imposed for money reasons and because most gay people that weren't allowed to come out, could have a hidden place and be privileged with the best education.
    my father was joining priesthood because he was interested in education, and ended up leaving because the gay culture in priesthood was like being forced, especially on novices.
    I find this quite disturbing, because if celibacy was a real option, then there wouldn't be so many cases of paedophilian abuse :(

  • Comment number 84.

    "Celibacy is a sign of full devotion" I disagree!!!! I dont think most priests believe in GOD why do I say that? Because it is when you are on your OWN with a child or children, if a priest has NEVER abused in any way a child, for thinking to himself, 'GOD is watching'. For all the thousand of children around the world who have been abused by priests - then those many priests could not have thought for ONE MINUTE God sees them. That's what celibacy has done, it has made them hungry & wanting release & in secret, the children suffered!

  • Comment number 85.

    Not only is celebacy a proven failure, it provided Official Clergy-cover for Paedophile's and Sex-Abusers.
    The whole intent was to Imitate the Life of Jesus Christ by those with Human FLAWS. Indoctrination that Priests had the power to Forgive Sin via Confessional, intimidated many into Accommodating perverts.
    If the RC Religion wants to persist with this doctrine, then Voluntary Eunichs would be the answer. A Real Vow "Not to use It" would mean "Not Missing It". More of the same will simply produce another Generation of VICTIMS.

  • Comment number 86.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 87.

    The real problem I have with the Pope's pronouncement is that it assumes that marriage and a family life are a "distraction" that in some way implies a weakness in the priest's commitment to his charge. In my experience of working with Ministers in the Church of Scotland, the support that spouses give to their ordained partners allows them to exercise their commitment with great dedication.

  • Comment number 88.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 89.

    Nobody is "married to God" that's why God said it is NOT good for man to be alone & using Adam's rib, he made Eve. So if it's good enough for God, it's good enough for us too. It is a manmade rule not & not as God intended. Celibacy in a religion is not good, even more so now, that the truth has all come out, that most of the priests were not celibate at all, for we know now they had years of sex with children!

  • Comment number 90.

    70. At 11:14pm on 12 Mar 2010, Will wrote:
    Of course it is a silly idea that priest cannot marry. It dates back to the Dark Ages. By what other road would a person truly understand the nature of suffering unless they get married. I'm sure my wife would agree!

    Ironically, in "The Dark Ages" (a term no self-respecting historian would use, but I'm assuming you mean the 5th-8th Centuries) Catholic priests could and did marry.

  • Comment number 91.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 92.

    A celibrate priest, when he dies thats it! No children to follow on his looks or name. He is then soon forgotton. He has denyed himself all his life & then he dies! How sad is that!

  • Comment number 93.

    "Is the Pope right to reaffirm celibacy for priests? Would removing the vow of celibacy make priests less devout? Does celibacy show a priest commitment to the Catholic Church? Should Catholic priests be allowed to marry and have families?"-BBC. Yes, it's the Pope's right, why not? Lord Jesus recommended celibacy but it's for highly advanced, blessed, and spiritually empowered souls. Out thousands in a community, how many have Ph.D? It's an ecological and individualistic fallacy to condemn celibacy. Focus, spiritual/devotional determination, sophia, compassion, resoluteness, etc, are some of the merits of celibacy. The practical intervention being employed to purify the mind againsts sensory gratificatory desires should be addressed in the Catholic.

  • Comment number 94.

    Hardly a subject up for discussion given the track record of some priests that have already exploited their position with young boys. If celibacy is a vow they take and subsequently have a problem with it, surely it's time to get rid of it, it's unnatural and frankly rather stupid in my view.

  • Comment number 95.

    Full devotion? The catholic church sits on trillions of dollars, does nothing to help the starving nations and they talk about devotion? I'm catholic but they don't practice what they preach. They are no different to politicians. They just don't want to tackle difficult, expensive problems. Only these minor issues which does nothing to ease the suffering around the world.

  • Comment number 96.

    No. For the Catholic church to remove any shadow of doubt about the priesthood, and for it to remain relevant to the lives of millions of people, two things have to happen:

    1. The Catholic church needs to come completely clean in all matters that relate to allegations of abuse;
    2. Priests must be allowed to marry and have children.

    The Pontiff's position is so antediluvian it's almost laughable, if it weren't so sad. Does the Catholic church really believe that priests who have sex can be any less devout than those who don't? With all the absolute hypocrisy with which the Priesthood has behaved over the centuries, one would have assumed the timing for a complete change in the Church's position would be very timely.

  • Comment number 97.

    I suppose that it is not so important these days, but in the past the church was one of the few career paths open to the more intelligent, educated man or woman. Consequently insisting on celibacy (if fully observed) slowly but surely drains the gene pool of the best minds.

  • Comment number 98.

    "I think the problem is deeper. It has to be seen as a question of personal maturity, how someone relates to his personal development."

    I think that has to be the most appalling cop-out Ive ever read/heard.

    Is this Cardinal really saying this 'grouping' of Religious Men are under developed? and that somehow this excuses their disgraceful, and more importantly SINFUL, behaviour?

    Talk about spitting in the face of the victims, the same victims who they pay off with loyal Catholics donations to save these 'poor undeveloped priests' names being dragged through courts.

  • Comment number 99.

    I am a catholic and I love my faith. However, I am convinced that celibacy is contributing to the dwindling respect for the catholic church.Celibacy was introduced supposedly to curb excesses by priests but most people would agree with me that celibacy has paradoxically become the linchpin that is slowly killing one's respect for the priesthood. Imagine a priest lovingly rubbing both arms of your wife, in your presence. Doesn't such an action speak of someone who is hungry for a woman, and someone who does not have any respect for his parishioner's marital status? Let priests be given their own wives,please. Let them feel what it is like to be a family man that desires to protect the dignity of his marriage.Then all their sexual cravings will have a point of last resort i.e their wives and not another man's wife or some innocent boy. Finally,I believe that the present Pope does not want to go down in history as the one who abolished a long,albeit disturbing,tradition in the church. I am hopeful that one day the world will have a pratical Pope that would wisely choose to put nature above nurture.

    Blain Walcott-Taylor,Dallas,Texas,USA

  • Comment number 100.

    As a Muslim I am not qualified to judge on Catholic issue of celibacy. However, I may point out that in Islam, celibacy is not advocated for priests. Even the holy prophet Mohammad was married. The holy portal is abused by many a priests resulting in lawsuits, criminal presecutions and scandals. Priests are humanbeings and are given to biological needs. Marriage has nothing to do with full devotion. This is a matter of faith.

 

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