What Does It Matter Who Priests Don’t Have Sex With?

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The New York Times has a long piece of the terrors faced by gay priests in the US Catholic Church. Claims that 25 to 70% of all priests are in fact gay. That might even be true and so what? What does it matter who priests aren’t having sex with?

All priests must wrestle with their vows of celibacy, and the few priests who are publicly out make clear they are chaste.

Sure, we can all argue that the celibacy of Catholic priests is more than a little silly. It came about – at least it’s a good story abut how it came about – to make sure that no one was a legitimate child and thus able to inherit Church property. But it is central to the religion these days. Catholic priests are celibate males and that’s that. Thus who they’re not having sex with isn’t really one of those great issues.

It’s worth pointing out that Catholicism doesn’t insist that sexual urges are sinful. We’re all God’s snowflakes and he did make us as we are. It’s acts in this area of life which are. It might well be that we’d not want a paedophile priest running the boy’s changing room but that someone who is a priest is sexually attracted to children isn’t the specific sin. Doing something about it is what gains that millstone and ocean.

That all priests struggle with celibacy is true, who they struggle over not sex with isn’t really an issue.