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 OZschwitz Catholic church must drop celibacy for its priests or lose school funding

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PostSubject: OZschwitz Catholic church must drop celibacy for its priests or lose school funding    Sun Jul 24, 2016 7:41 pm

The scandal of child sexual abuse within the Catholic Church will not be over until the lessons of this global tragedy are recognised and acted upon. From my own experience, I am convinced that to set things right the church (for which I retain respect) must abolish the requirement for priestly celibacy.



The good news is that this change can be made.

The requirement for celibacy has no basis in scripture; no aspect of Catholic faith is at stake in its abolition.

The requirement for celibacy has no basis in scripture; no aspect of Catholic faith is at stake in its abolition. It is a matter of what is termed "discipline" in the church and became mandatory only from the second Lateran council of 1139. Prominent church leaders have recently confirmed that it is open for debate. Pope Francis acknowledges the rule can change. The Primate of All Ireland, Archbishop Eamon Martin, favours abolition.

Christ had no issue with sexually active men leading his church. As four New Testament passages make clear the first pope, St Peter, was a married man who (by other historical accounts) fathered children. He is also the epitome of the forgiven sinner and was famously nominated, by Christ, as the rock upon which he would build his church.

Study after study confirms that many Catholic clergy ignore the vow of celibacy and engage the full range of adult sexual behaviour. Significant numbers maintain mistresses or same-sex partners. This has been so for centuries, occasionally reaching the very top. Pope Alexander VI, who died in 1503 and was considered by Niccolo Machiavelli as the most effective pope, fathered up to 11 children four of whom he acknowledged during life.

Some studies suggest 80 per cent of clerics break the vow at some point. Others say half of that. If the actual number is 40 per cent then almost every second priest and bishop lives a life of deceit. This breeds a culture of active dishonesty and cover ups focused around illicit sexuality. It renders church leaders uniquely susceptible to blackmail and corruption at the hands of sexual deviants. I know of three senior bishops to whom this complication apparently applies.

Where is the reliable moral leadership of a bishop who is compromised by maintaining a mistress or same-sex partner? When confronted with a suspected paedophile priest who has knowledge of the relationship, and who is prepared to out the bishop and destroy his career, what will the bishop do? Diligently pursue the suspected paedophile and risk the sack? Or cover it all up and sacrifice children to save his career? It is in the nature of things that some compromised bishops will do the former and some will do the latter.

Time and again, in case studies of the royal commission, we see a familiar pattern of covering up and lying about paedophilia in the church, with no one prepared to take responsibility.

This poses a great risk to the 760,000 children at Catholic schools in Australia especially when it is understood that the governance model for all Catholic schools reserves ultimate power to clergy. Parish priest and bishop appoint and can sack the school board, appoint and sack the principal. They approve or reject the school budget. Catholic schools must be run in accordance with canon law, placing each one firmly under the control of the group most open to corruption.

That clergy have largely been removed from frontline teaching roles is irrelevant. Based on the prevalence of paedophiles in the general community, it is estimated 900 of the 19,000 male teachers in the Catholic education system in Australia, would have paedophilic tendencies. Incorruptible leadership is required to stop them acting on those tendencies.

Of course the church may choose to retain its corrosive and corrupting rule about celibacy. If it insists upon that, and retaining the moral hazard which follows, the flow of public funds to Catholic institutions with the care of children must cease starting with the $7.5 billion a year that is paid to Catholic schools in Australia.

Defunding Catholic schools is not an outcome that I want. However, there is no doubt that further children will be abused in Catholic schools in circumstances that could be avoided if it were not for the corruption brought about by the imposition of this unrealistic discipline upon the clergy. The church must chose.

http://www.smh.com.au/comment/the-catholic-church-must-drop-celibacy-for-its-priests-or-lose-school-funding-20160722-gqbzaq.html
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