Should priests be celibate? | The Tylt

Should priests be celibate?

Catholic priests cannot marry, which means they must abstain from sex of any kind. Yet, priests now have a tragic reputation for sexual abuse against minors, and now nuns as well (confirmed by Pope Francis in early 2019). According to Catholic doctrine, priests are celibate in order to prioritize their connection to God. But others point out contradicting evidence in the bible for such a mandate. Clearly, the consequences are dire. What do you think?

FINAL RESULTS
Culture
Should priests be celibate?
A festive crown for the winner
#NoPriestCelibacy
#PriestsStayCelibate
Dataviz
Real-time Voting
Should priests be celibate?
#NoPriestCelibacy
#PriestsStayCelibate
#NoPriestCelibacy

Since 2002, the priesthood has become synonymous with sex abuse, particularly the abuse of minors. After The Boston Globe's Spotlight team famously revealed the church's massive coverups for priests guilty of such charges, the public has been on red-alert when it comes to priests abusing power and position. 

In early 2019, Pope Francis confirmed another sex scandal within the church: the abuse of nuns by priests. The New York Times' Jason Horowitz and Elizabeth Dias report: 

Francis spoke about a case in which Benedict dissolved an order of nuns “because a certain slavery of women had crept in, slavery to the point of sexual slavery on the part of clergy or the founder.”
Even though the abuse of nuns gets less attention than the abuse of children and young men, it is not new. In the 1990s, as the child sex abuse crisis was starting to emerge in the United States, leaders of women’s religious orders wrote several reports calling attention to cases of priests abusing nuns.
#NoPriestCelibacy

These allegations come from all over the world. Although a rule of celibacy cannot be blamed for widespread abuse, as the Washington Post's Robert Mickens points out, many priests are not "psychosexually mature" because of the rule of celibacy. For that matter, the church's blatant disregard of varying sexual orientations among priests only accelerates the issue.

Mickens explains his thinking: 

The Vatican knows all too well that there are large numbers of priests and seminarians with a homosexual orientation. But rather than encourage a healthy discussion about how gays can commit themselves to celibate chastity in a wholesome way, the Church’s official policies and teachings drive such men even deeper into the closet.
And like any other dark place lacking sunlight and air, this prevents normal development and festers mold, dankness, distortion and disease. Nothing kept in the dark can become healthy or flourish.
#PriestsStayCelibate

It is irresponsible to blame sex abuse on clerical celibacy. Doing away with abstinence will not end abuse. It is the power structure and the corruption within the church itself that are to blame for decades of widespread misdeeds.

#PriestsStayCelibate

Celibacy among priests has nearly 1,000 years of precedent. According to U.S. Catholic, Pope Gregory VII barred married priests from taking up the cloth in 1075. The First Lateran Council formalized Gregory's decree in 1123, and celibacy has been a rule for Catholic Priests since. 

Santiago Cortes-Sjoberg writes:

Current church teaching sees celibacy as a gift that God bestows on those who are called to the priesthood. Among the church's arguments in defense of celibacy is the example of Jesus, which must be reflected in the life of a priest. Through celibacy the priest mirrors the love that Christ has for all, a love that the priest, unattached to spouse and children, can also extend.

A priest's full commitment must be to God and his Parrish. Marriage and families would distract from priests' responsibility of acting as spiritual guides.

#PriestsStayCelibate

Pope Francis himself has confirmed that celibacy is a gift. Yahoo! News reported on the pope's comments: 

"Personally I think that celibacy is a gift to the Church," the pope told journalists aboard his plane returning to the Vatican from Panama.
#NoPriestCelibacy

Out of all the Christian denominations, Catholicism aligns most with the Orthodox church, which splintered from Catholicism in what is known as the Great Schism in 1054. However, among their differences is this very topic: Orthodox priests can marry, while Catholic priests cannot. 

An Orthodox priest can only marry before he takes his vows, if he is to do so at all. Wesley J. Smith explains for First Things, an interreligious research and educational organization, that most Orthodox priests do choose to marry, considering it the "the penultimate step before becoming a priest." According to Smith, this Orthodox policy can have a positive effect on a congregation:

There are several benefits to having married priests. It allows the men who toil in the trenches of parish life to experience the joy of having a wife and children, which makes the priestly call easier to follow. Many believe that having a family helps a priest better understand the everyday trials of the laity. At the same time, since a married priest must find a mate before being ordained, he is not distracted from his parish duties by the search for love.

Imagine what the same practice could have on the Catholic church at large. 

FINAL RESULTS
Culture
Should priests be celibate?
A festive crown for the winner
#NoPriestCelibacy
#PriestsStayCelibate