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The toxic solution

I suspect a bunch of male priests thought this was a good idea for an ad campaign.

I rather doubt that recruiting from the ranks of people who talk about Real Men and think that Real Men cluster with other Real Men and exclude Real Women is going to help the Catholic Church’s problems — these are not the human beings you’re looking for. Also, isn’t it a little odd to emphasize the masculinity of a profession that demands all of its members be celibate?

I think Cybele had the right idea. Try campaigning on the notion that Real Men cut off their junk in the name of Mary Mother of God and serve as eunuchs. At least that would promote real change in the culture of the church.

Comments

  1. Dick the Damned says

    Mebbe you didn’t notice, PZ, but it looks like you’ve gotta be Caucasian to make the cut.

  2. roblee says

    Any time you hear the phrase “Real Men”, it is a pretty safe bet that it is going to come with a healthy dose of the Real Man’s trinity; chauvinism, misogyny, and homophobia.

  3. sambarge says

    Well, I suppose if you argued that “Real Men”TM are men who reject all things female, including heterosexual relations, then they might have a point.

    I think they’re branding workshop needed a paradigm shift though. Insisting they’re “Real Men”TM will probably generate more derision than recruits.

  4. johnhenry says

    It mentions a judge calling a five year old “unusually sexually promiscuous”, reading it broke my mind for a minute there and I was unable to do anything but repeat the word Fuck over and over. I’m feeling a bit better now but I may need to go bang my head against a wall until I pass out just to be sure.

  5. AussieMike says

    First period, Paedophilia 101.

    Second Period, Freeing yourself of guilt through your relationship with god.

  6. kaorunegisa says

    “Also, isn’t it a little odd to emphasize the masculinity of a profession that demands all of its members be celibate?”

    First of all, there’s more to being a man than the pursuit of sex.

    Secondly, isn’t “demand” a bit extreme for the priesthood? It’s more like “suggest” and “put limits on their member’s celibacy.” Remember the good old days when priests could have families out of wedlock, a bishopric was a bribe, and the freedom to fuck around kept small children reasonably safe?

  7. Rev. BigDumbChimp says

    First of all, there’s more to being a man than the pursuit of sex.

    Well in the world of advertising sex is the ultimate acheivement of men outside of competing in backyard football games in overly priced rugby shirts, high priced vodka in Vegas and sleek sport cars.

  8. kaorunegisa says

    Well in the world of advertising sex is the ultimate acheivement of men outside of competing in backyard football games in overly priced rugby shirts, high priced vodka in Vegas and sleek sport cars.

    You make manliness sound like a James Bond film

    Hey, wait a minute…

  9. drxym says

    The church should just bite the bullet and permit priests to marry and have relationships like any normal person. And recruit men & women to be priests including homosexuals, even if the church has to apply some weird “don’t ask don’t tell” contortions to the language to get over their own hangups about homosexuality.

    Perhaps by removing the barriers that bar normal people from serving they might find that the priesthood becomes more relevant and less associated with clerical abuse scandals.

  10. says

    Also, isn’t it a little odd to emphasize the masculinity of a profession that demands all of its members be celibate?

    First of all, there’s more to being a man than the pursuit of sex.

    Of course there is, but you have to remember that this is a recruiting ad, and think about the population they’re trying to recruit: Boys and young men of high-school and early college age, many of whose friends and peers do think being a man is all about the pursuit of sex (even if most of them will grow out of thinking that in a couple of years). IMHO, it’s not at all odd to emphasize masculinity in this ad, because peer pressure on the order of “c’mon, how can you even think about a whole life with no pussy?” is what they’re competing against.

    Mind you, I’m not at all defending the nested layers of crazy that an all-male, celibate priesthood represents… but the ad does make sense in terms of their goals. BTW, ads like this are a sign that the RCC is having an increasingly difficult time convincing young men to give up their normal, secular lives for (nonexistent) God… and that state of affairs (i.e., that the RCC priesthood is withering away) is a Very Good Thing®.

    Secondly, isn’t “demand” a bit extreme for the priesthood? It’s more like “suggest” and “put limits on their member’s celibacy.”

    No, it’s definitely a demand: Priests are required to remain celibate[1], and they take a sacred (to them, of course) vow to do so. This was not always the case in the RCC’s history, but it’s surely a demand made of current priests.

    Evidence of widespread transgressions suggests it’s not a very well enforced demand, but a demand nonetheless.

    ***
    [1] With the exception of certain already-married converts from other Christian faiths, whose prior ordinations can be confirmed and accepted under some conditions.

  11. tbp1 says

    This is so absolutely tone-deaf on so many levels I can’t even process it. It’s like that guy behind you in the school choir who only sings one note, and it’s not in any known key, let alone the key of the piece the choir is actually singing.

    Presumably something like this has to go through several levels of conception, approval and execution, involving a number of people with veto power, before it sees the light of day, and obviously has to cost something…why didn’t someone realize the sheer folly of it and pull the plug?

  12. says

    Perhaps by removing the barriers that bar normal people from serving they might find that the priesthood becomes more relevant and less associated with clerical abuse scandals.

    Probably so: Allowing women and gay people to be priests, and removing the demand of celibacy would probably mean more “normal” people would become priests, and that the priesthood would be more relevant and humane.

    On the other hand, I don’t necessarily want the world to be more comfortable for priests and their devoted flocks; I like the fact that the priesthood is increasingly irrelevant to the world most people perceive, and that priesthood is an increasingly unappealing life path for young men.

    On the gripping hand, the priesthood as it is clearly does immeasurable harm to innocent people, so if we can’t get rid of it quickly, I guess it out to be a less warping experience for those who become priests… not so much for their benefit as for the benefit of those who would otherwise be their victims.

  13. says

    “recruit men & women to be priests including homosexuals…..apply some weird “don’t ask don’t tell” contortions”

    I suggest this would not be a good thing for the church or anyone – I don’t want people to have to ‘tolerate’ homosexuality, I want people to just accept that some human beings just are homosexual and leave it at that.

  14. Larry says

    Channeling Stripes:

    Priest: So, are either of you pedophiles?

    Winger: You mean, like, flaming?

    Priest: Well, its a standard question we have to ask

    Ziskey: No, we’re not pedophiles, but we are willing to learn.

    Winger: Yeah, would they send us someplace special?

    Priest: I guess that’s “no” on both. Sorry, gentlemen, we can’t use you.

  15. Moggie says

    tbp1:

    Presumably something like this has to go through several levels of conception, approval and execution, involving a number of people with veto power, before it sees the light of day, and obviously has to cost something…why didn’t someone realize the sheer folly of it and pull the plug?

    Now read that back to yourself, and consider that it applies equally to much of what comes out of the church. What place does the hierarchy have for anyone who rejects bad ideas?

  16. kaorunegisa says

    @Bill #15

    No, it’s definitely a demand: Priests are required to remain celibate[1], and they take a sacred (to them, of course) vow to do so. This was not always the case in the RCC’s history, but it’s surely a demand made of current priests.

    I was mostly being facetious, but it’s worth looking into this. Clearly there is the verbal component of “demand” here, but does it count as a “demand” if there’s also an implied “wink, wink, nudge, nudge” with it that if they slip up they’ll be forgiven and moved to another location, no harm, no foul? It’s pretty obvious that while they talk a big game, the actual demand for celibacy is pretty loose and the margin for error incredibly wide, so does that still count as a demand other than in the most literal sense?

  17. Hurin, Nattering Nabob of Negativism says

    Yeah, that’s the ticket. Start talking about “real men”, and all those late teens macho guys will tell their marine recruiters to piss off and go join the priesthood instead.

    “There’s strong and then there’s Army Ratzi strong”

  18. madknitter says

    I attended a Catholic college as an undergrad. It was a harrowing experience. Some of the things I noticed about the priests at my college:
    1 All the straight ones had girlfriends. (one of them shared a house with his girlfriend)
    2 All the gay ones were very quiet about their sexuality. There was a sort of argument from silence surrounding their sexuality.
    3 There may have actually been one or two who were really celibate, but I really wouldn’t put any money on it.

    The three guys who were considering the priesthood all had one thing in common: they were gay men who were terrified of coming out. However, if they joined the priesthood, they would be living in a community of men, their utter lack of romantic interest in women would never be questioned, and the only woman in their life would be their Mom.

    When I was in my late 20s I dated a Catholic priest. He was smart, funny, good in bed, and so deeply closeted that he was practically in Narnia. I ended things because I felt like I was dating a married man. Well, maybe I was: he was, after all, a bride of Christ.

    The whole Real Men campaign is a form of desperation. The priesthood’s ranks have been steadily shrinking since the 1960s, and now there aren’t enough priests to fill every pulpit in every diocese. Also, hidden in the campaign, is that Real Men don’t have sex with children. The Catholics are still labouring under the delusion that the majority of paedophiles are gay men. Real men are straight, and have “normal” sexual desires, centred on women. Real Men don’t have sex with other men, and certainly not with children.

    Desperate. And pathetic.

  19. says

    kaorunegisa:

    Clearly there is the verbal component of “demand” here, but does it count as a “demand” if there’s also an implied “wink, wink, nudge, nudge” with it that if they slip up they’ll be forgiven and moved to another location, no harm, no foul?

    Mebbe so, but I don’t think so: As a recovering Catholic, my sense was always that they took the demand of celibacy quite seriously, as a philosophical matter. It’s an utterly unnatural thing to demand, of course, which I think is why so many priests ultimately fail to adhere to it… but once they get caught, I think the church’s reaction has much more to do with damage control and CYA than it does with secret approval of the behavior. The RCC is a huge business, and like any business, it wants to avoid legal exposure and bad publicity. Many a miscreant employee in the secular world has avoided full accountability for hir behavior in just the same way.

  20. raven says

    Perhaps by removing the barriers that bar normal people from serving they might find that the priesthood becomes more relevant and less associated with clerical abuse scandals.

    QFT. They really should open up the priesthood to normal people. This celibacy thing isn’t working and probably never did work.

    All the priests I’ve met in the last few decades (not many and mostly online) have been none too bright and seemed to be somewhat twisted humans. They are screening out who they should be hiring.

    There is no biblical justification for it anyway. It’s just something a Pope made up around 1200 CE. It used to be Popes could get married and have kids themselves.

    When I was in my late 20s I dated a Catholic priest.

    One of my friends did the same thing with a seminarian. He never took his final vows or whatever they do. I’m sure she saved him from a miserable existence.

  21. Thomathy, now gayer and atheister says

    I wouldn’t want the Catholic Priests to be eunuchs either, though. I’m unsure if that would preclude the existence of members of the priesthood who are inclined toward child molestation and rape. Unless of course, advertising that Real Men who become priests become eunuchs is supposed to be a deterrent …?

    Who wants to be eunuch? …I thought so.

  22. Brother Ogvorbis, OM . . . Really? says

    It used to be Popes could get married and have kids themselves.

    (Please keep in mind this is off the top of my head) In the 11th an 12th centuries, married priests were still quite common in Western Europe. If a priest was elevated to a bishopric, archbishopric, or to cardinal, it was normal for the wife to join a convent (often as a cloistered lay sister). Marriage was considered an impediment to higher ecclissiastical office (primarily because the church (sorry, The Church) sought to prevent the offices becoming hereditary (and (for the most part) they were successful)). So I have to disagree about the acceptability of marriage for the Pope and other higher ecclessiastics, but heartily agree when it comes to the first and second ranks (the priests at the, as it were, front line).

    Priests (and higher ecclissiastics) often took concubines well into the Counter-Reformation period. If I recall corrrectly, one of the Borgia Popes had his bastard legitimized and then made a cardinal. Of course, he was also the same one who fathered a child on his bastard daughter (yes, the squick was strong in the Borgias).

  23. kaorunegisa says

    #27:

    Mebbe so, but I don’t think so: As a recovering Catholic, my sense was always that they took the demand of celibacy quite seriously, as a philosophical matter.

    But if it’s functionally meaningless, can it be considered a demand? I’m sure they take it seriously, at least internally, but there is no real consequence. I don’t think the Church secretly approves of that behavior, but if they’re saying, “Don’t do that, though nothing will happen if you do it anyway,” can we call that a “demand” rather than a “strong encouragement”? I would contend that demands with no consequence aren’t really demands at all, or such weak demands as to make them pointless.

  24. Crow says

    The solution is glaringly obvious: Android Clergymen!

    Ultimately programmable by the Vatican, no risk of undesired pedophilia, and with built-in WiFi they will have better odds of connecting with god than any human clergy would!

  25. raven says

    The Eastern Orthodox churches still have married priests.

    As far as we can tell, the effect of that on anything is nil. If god or jesus is appalled, they certainly haven’t said anything about it.

  26. Brother Ogvorbis, OM . . . Really? says

    Ultimately programmable by the Vatican, no risk of undesired pedophilia, and with built-in WiFi they will have better odds of connecting with god than any human clergy would!

    So the Vatican would be able to programme in ‘desired’ pedophilia?

    (emphasis added)

  27. Aquaria says

    Mebbe so, but I don’t think so: As a recovering Catholic, my sense was always that they took the demand of celibacy quite seriously, as a philosophical matter.

    But if it’s functionally meaningless, can it be considered a demand? I’m sure they take it seriously, at least internally, but there is no real consequence.

    Uh… No, the Catholic church does take seriously some violations of celibacy:

    An internationally known Catholic priest who was shown in photographs last week embracing a bathing-suit-clad woman on a Florida beach has admitted they had a two-year affair.

    The Rev. Alberto Cutie — sometimes called “Father Oprah” because of the advice he gave on Spanish-language media — said Monday on CBS’ “Early Show” that he is in love with the woman and is considering his options: Whether to break up with her or leave the priesthood and marry her. The woman, who has not been publicly identified, wants to get married, Cutie said.

    The priest was removed from his duties last week at St. Francis De Sales Catholic Church in Miami Beach, Florida, and on the Radio Paz and Radio Peace networks.

    Removed from his duties.

    No longer allowed to do his radio shows.

    How are those not serious consequences?

  28. Aquaria says

    The official word from the church, later in the same article:

    In a message posted on the Miami, Florida, archdiocese Web page last week, Archbishop John C. Favalora apologized to parishioners and radio listeners for what he called a “scandal.”

    “Father Cutie made a promise of celibacy and all priests are expected to fulfill that promise with the help of God,” Favalora said. “Father Cutie’s actions cannot be condoned despite the good works he has done as a priest.”

    Oh, the irony…

  29. says

    even if the church has to apply some weird “don’t ask don’t tell” contortions to the language to get over their own hangups about homosexuality.

    I thought it already did. I vaguely remember a quote from a priest that if they expunged teh gays, there would be practically no priesthood left.

    My first thought was why destiny is tough. Surely destiny happens regardless of your actual effort. My second thought was a quote from “Small Gods”.

    Many feel they are called to the priesthood, but what they really hear is an inner voice saying, ‘It’s indoor work with no heavy lifting, do you want to be a ploughman like your father?’

  30. kaorunegisa says

    #38

    Point. Sometimes they actually do take it seriously. Apparently when it’s a consensual affair, celibacy makes sense. When it’s child rape, that’s when the line gets blurry for Church officials. So, this adds another question: if the application of consequence for violating a demand is entirely arbitrary or based on the public awareness of the crime/person in question, does it remain a demand? Or, to put it another way, is the Catholic demand, “don’t have sex,” or “don’t get caught”?

  31. Brother Ogvorbis, OM . . . Really? says

    You read that correctly, sir.

    Thank you.

    And don’t call me sir, I work for a living.

    And it is an expression of respect.

  32. tbp1 says

    From #27: “It’s an utterly unnatural thing to demand, of course, which I think is why so many priests ultimately fail to adhere to it… ”

    (I still haven’t figured out the block quote thing)

    In Huxley’s The Devils of Loudon, the protagonist, Grandier, is a priest who has multiple sexual affairs. He justifies breaking his vows of celibacy by saying that it is impossible for a young man to be celibate, and that promises to do the impossible aren’t morally binding. It would be like promising to fly.

    Huxley puts it much more eloquently, of course, but that’s the gist of it.

    It’s a really good book, and should be mandatory reading for anyone who doesn’t understand the importance of separating church and state. It’s the basis for a harrowing movie by Ken Russell (why, oh why isn’t it available on DVD?) and a terrific opera by Penderecki as well.

  33. Crow says

    And it is an expression of respect.

    Did I appear disingenuous? I was unaware ‘sir’ was offensive. Or is it only reserved for the likes of Paul McCartney and Patrick Stewart?

  34. Dhorvath, OM says

    Real Men ™, eh? Kill that idea and burn the remains. There is no marker that serves for that distinction.

  35. ericpaulsen says

    Okay, fess up – I wasn’t the only person who scanned all of those pictures looking for a crying child somewhere in the bunch.

  36. Matthew says

    Since these men do not intend to have children, why not castrate them? It might help solve the child rape problem.

  37. ericpaulsen says

    Service Guarantees Heavenly Citizenship!

    Would you like to know more?

    A citizen was convicted of thought crimes against the church – execution at 11… would you like to know more?

  38. Gregory Greenwood says

    …these are not the human beings droids you’re looking for.

    I now have an image of PZ sitting in a speeder in Mos Eisley and uttering this dialogue, accompanied by a wave of his hand, to bamboozled catholic priests Storm Troopers…

  39. Brother Ogvorbis, OM . . . Really? says

    Did I appear disingenuous?

    No, you did not. I just do not want to be expected to live up to those standards.

  40. Gregory Greenwood says

    Aquaria @ 38;

    So, consensual sex with an adult woman is a big scandal warrenting punishment, but repugnant child rape is swept under the carpet as if nothing happened?

    I can imagine few organisations or groups outside organised religion being able to sustain such a twisted sense of inverted morality, and none being able to get away with it with the ease that the child rape club catholic church does.

    I would ask what is wrong with these people, but the answer is sadly obvious – they are priests. What is more most of them became priests voluntarily, and you have to wonder long and hard as to why someone would want to do that…

  41. tbp1 says

    Also from #27 (we seem to on similar wavelengths about this):

    “The RCC is a huge business, and like any business, it wants to avoid legal exposure and bad publicity. Many a miscreant employee in the secular world has avoided full accountability for hir behavior in just the same way.”

    Indeed. I think of the RCC as simply the world’s first and longest lasting multinational corporation. It’s not the richest anymore, but still behaves in essentially the same way: it abhors competition, seeks to establish a monopoly whenever it can, and shuns accountability. Ostensibility in the service of others (the parishioners/stockholders), it actually serves the interests of those at the top of the hierarchy (bishops and higher/board and other top execs; Pope/CEO) almost exclusively. Certainly the interests of the institution will ALWAYS be served before the interests of anyone else, no matter who the innocent victim is. It will protect its lower ranking members if doing so will avoid bad publicity, but throw them under the bus without a second thought if that will benefit the institution.

  42. RickR says

    This ad dovetails nicely with a television commercial I’ve been seeing lately here in Phoenix. The commercial is for Catholicscomehome.org. It seems the mother church is trolling the airwaves to try and get a few of the wayward sheep back in the flock.

    That commercial, coupled with this recruitment ad for Real Manly Priestly Boys™, just reeks of the sour sweat of desperation.

    It tastes sweet.

  43. plutoanimus says

    Wait, I’ve got a better slogan for a campaign to recruit new priests:

    Join the Priesthood-

    You’ll never get laid again.

  44. Anri says

    There’s a bit character from the comic series The AuthorityChaplin Action, He-Man of the Cloth!

    …that’s how he describes himself.

    He’d be perfect for this ad, except for the awkward business of him being black.

    Ok, I have just eaten two large pieces of date & nut cake and therefore might not be in my right mind – feel free ignore my silly ramblings.

  45. raven says

    The RCC should be desperate.

    Surveys show that in the last few years, they have lost 1/3 of their members, 22 million people. Roughly 10% of the adult US population are former Catholics.

  46. Happiestsadist says

    I’m really not that comfortable with the claims that the solution to child-raping priests is just to let priests marry. Rapists don’t rape because they can’t get the sex they want, they rape because that IS the kind of sex they want. It feels like it’s saying that if they don’t get enough pussy, well then, who can blame them for raping kids, eh?

    That said, nothing more stereotypically traditionally masculine than avoiding sex and hanging around with fellow assumed-celibates in dresses. Yep. As long as you’re all white.

    My last two interactions with priests/priestly types were as follows: Being really, really, blatantly hit on by an absolutely ancient priest in the receiving line at my grandmother’s funeral, with my parents on either side of me, and about four feet from my grandmother’s coffin. Hilarious now.

    And an acquaintance of a friend who had just left seminary at a Halloween party. He had to be physically restrained from groping women, and I needed to be restrained from delivering a beatdown. The dude was then convinced to leave the ladies alone by doing a rosary’s worth of shots, with the Latin prayers between. That party was terrible and a waste of the one time I have successfully worn fake eyelashes.

  47. RickR says

    “That party was terrible and a waste of the one time I have successfully worn fake eyelashes.”

    Ugh. I hear that.

  48. Brother Yam says

    I’m suprised no one has yet brought up the Electric Monk from Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency

    The Electric Monk was a labour-saving device, like a dishwasher or a video recorder. Dishwashers washed tedious dishes for you, thus saving you the bother of washing them yourself, video recorders watched tedious television for you, thus saving you the bother of looking at it yourself; Electric Monks believed things for you, thus saving you what was becoming an increasingly onerous task, that of believing all the things the world expected you to believe.

  49. Crow says

    Choosing a life of celibacy seems indicative of some form of deeper seeded sexual issue going on, doesn’t it?

    It seems plausible that an individual in hir teens who may be aware of bad thoughts/desires (e.g. pedophilia) may react in such a way as to reject sexuality completely as a coping mechanism.

    For someone who fits this profile, the clergy would not only be a profession that would accept the suppression of unwanted sexual desires but also promote and encourage celibacy for societally accepted reasons.

    Granted, not all celibate priests would fit this profile, but my point is that priesthood would be especially suited to those that do.

  50. pj says

    @Brother Ogvorbis

    Of course, he was also the same one who fathered a child on his bastard daughter (yes, the squick was strong in the Borgias).

    Ah, the much maligned Lucrezia Borgia.

    I know that you’re a (an?) historian and I am not, but is that view of her still seriously held by scholars? I’ve seen it contested in some sources. IIRC these unremembered sources of mine (sorry that cannot give citation) stated that the original accusation of incestuos relationships came from Lucrezia’s first husband whom the Borgias forced to leave Lucrezia when the political alliances shifted. As divorce was not an option the marriage was to be annulled under the pretence of never having been consumed at all due to hapless husband’s impotence. Cue an angry, insulted and vindictive reneissance man…

    And that the mother of the presumed offspring of that incestous liason (a bastard boy whom both pope Alexander and his son Cesare, Lucrezia’s brother that is, acknowledged) never was confirmed to be Lucrezia.

    What say you of this?

  51. Brother Ogvorbis, OM: Reading Comprehension Fail Warning! says

    What say you of this?

    I say that I was obviously misremembering some readings from 20 years ago. The rennaissance, Reformation, and CounterReformation are not now, nor have they ever been, nor have I tried to imply that they are, a strong suit in my knowledge of history. Sorry. I’ll keep my mouth shut on this one.

  52. Ms. Daisy Cutter says

    Thomathy, and Matthew: What Happiestsadist said. And given that one does not need an erect penis in order to commit rape, and certainly not to commit physical abuse(*), priestly eunochdom will solve nothing.

    (*) Ever read the Ryan Report? The physical abuse of children that went on in Irish institutions has been compared quite seriously to the brutality of the Khmer Rouge.

    pj: From what I hear, Lucrezia has been much maligned in history.

  53. Brother Ogvorbis, OM: Reading Comprehension Fail Warning! says

    Lucrezia has been much maligned in history.

    And I could have sworn that I was maligning whichever Borgia it was who actually become Pope (with my admittedly limited and misremembered knowledge!). Lucrezia was one of the more effective politicians of the day and understood power, the uses of power, and the limitations of power far better than most of the males among the Borgias.

    And now I’ll shut up. Sorry.

  54. 'Tis Himself, OM. says

    The physical abuse of children that went on in Irish institutions has been compared quite seriously to the brutality of the Khmer Rouge.

    I went to Catholic schools in the US. I was once beaten so severely that I still have scars on my buttocks almost 50 years later.

  55. fastlane says

    Real men don’t need imaginary friends.

    (I actually have that bumper sticker on my car. Most people don’t get it.)

  56. says

    I’m really not that comfortable with the claims that the solution to child-raping priests is just to let priests marry. Rapists don’t rape because they can’t get the sex they want, they rape because that IS the kind of sex they want. It feels like it’s saying that if they don’t get enough pussy, well then, who can blame them for raping kids, eh?

    Happiestsadist, you have it backwards. The argument is not that marriage would stop men raping kids. It’s that if priests were allowed to marry, then you would have a lot more “normal” priests. Men who are NOT rapists and pedophiles would no longer be so deterred from the priesthood.

    I think this is probably true, but it would still be far from a solution. Priesthood also attracts those who want power over others. The married southern baptist (& similar) bible-thumpers have plenty of sexual abusers and rapists in their ranks. The less authoritarian religion, liberal not literalist in style, with marriage allowed, and women priests allowed seems to help somewhat.

  57. pj says

    @Brother Ogvorbis

    And I could have sworn that I was maligning whichever Borgia it was who actually become Pope (with my admittedly limited and misremembered knowledge!).

    That is how I read you. I just went off with a tangent because it touched the Lucrezia of mythical proportions. She is a very fascinating historical figure.

    And now I’ll shut up.

    Please don’t.

  58. Happiestsadist says

    Alethea H. Claw @ #71, while that may be what is being meant in this thread, I’ve seen exactly the claims I stated happening way too often elsewhere.

  59. says

    Sorry to jump back in so late; I spent all day out shopping (which I count as actual fun, so I suppose I’m not a Real Man©, either).

    But if it’s functionally meaningless, can it be considered a demand?

    Yes. A demand isn’t automagically converted into a polite request just because it’s ineffectual.

    Besides, as others have alluded to, “ordinary” violations of celibacy — things that wouldn’t be especially scandalous to lay people or non-Catholics, such as a consensual affair with an adult woman[1] — are dealt with fairly harshly (“harshly,” that is, assuming the priest actually values remaining a priest). It’s when a priest gets caught in something that would shock the public and expose the church to legal liability (like, say, the brutal rape of a child) that the institutional urge to self-preservation trumps matter of broken vows (never mind, you know, doing the right thing).

    Or so it seems to me, anyway; I’m really not an expert on the inner workings of the church.

    ***
    [1] Yes, I realize that consensual and adult are, in a sense, redundant here; just covering all the bases.

  60. says

    Happiestsadist:

    I’m with Alethea. That is, I don’t doubt that some people make the argument you quote, but in my experience it’s fairly rare… and it’s not really worth talking about, is it? If the problem for priests was just getting sex, there are plenty of otherwise socially acceptable ways to violate their vows, and (in my admittedly limited experience) no shortage of Catholic women who’d be interested in snuggling with “Father Whatawaste.”

    Rather, I think it’s far more plausible to imagine that the restriction of celibacy is preferentially more attractive to men with a troubled relationship to their own sexuality than it is to men with normal[1] human sexual impulses. It’s not hard to imagine men with sexual snakes in their head (of one sort or another) thinking, “If I vow to God that I’ll be celibate, then I won’t have to deal with these terrifying feelings and urges.” Sadly, it’s also not hard to imagine how often that sort of self-sequestering is impossible to sustain. And this is what I think most thoughtful people mean when they talk about the linkage between priestly celibacy and priestly sex abuse.

    ***
    [1] Understand that I’m including under the heading of normal anything that is consensual, noncriminal (by rational standards, that is; the laws of Alabama, et al., are of no interest to me), and doesn’t wig their ownselves out. I don’t mean a narrow heteronormative, vanilla version of normal.

  61. win0987654 says

    Thomathy…I would like to continue this conversation. You should still have my email address at hotmail. Hope to be in touch soon…and hope to see you back home again sometime. Chris in Windsor