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SEXUAL ABUSE IN THE CATHOLIC CHURCH.

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Argues celibacy of priesthood should be amended.... More...
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Paper Abstract:
Argues celibacy of priesthood should be amended. Discusses celibacy as a rule, not a doctrine. Claims allowing priests to marry would result in a healthier church. History of sexual abuse by clergy. Contends that celibacy may cause some priests to become emotionally and psychologically unstable. Presents two arguments, objections and rebuttals.

Paper Introduction:
Would changing the rules in the Roman Catholic Church in regards to celibacy prevent brutal acts of child molestation? Introduction According to the Catholic Encyclopedia, celibacy for the clergy of the Catholic Church is "the renunciation of marriage implicitly or explicitly made, for the more perfect observance of chastity, by all those who receive the Sacrament of Orders in any of the higher grades" (Thurston, 1999, http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/03481a.htm). This disciplinary rule was initiated in the 12th century in an effort to systemize and regulate a scattered church (White, 1999). During the Middle Ages, offering daily Mass had become the standard and some considered it inappropriate to have sexual relations the evening before celebrating Mass, a celibate clergy would relieve

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It is also true, however, thatcertain circumstances, such as loneliness and not being held accountable ona regular basis, may make worse already existing mental and psychologicaldisorders. . (1999). (1999). 17-25. If this rule were amended there are already a number of marriedpriests who are ready and willing to take up their duties again and fillvacant or strained posts. You will be required to continue in the service of God, and with His assistance to observe chastity and to be bound forever in the ministrations of the Alter, to serve who is to reign (Thurston, 1999, http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/ 3481a.htm). References Anonymous. (1999). It was also known that Pope Alexander VI had severalillegitimate children and that the nuns of Godstow were the ones who spreadsyphilis to the husbands of the families who lived around their convent(Durant, 198 ; Mee, 1972). 34, no. In fact, the number of priests entering the ministry hasdecreased by 15% in the last thirty years, while membership in the Churchhas increased by 33%. 11). 2. During the Middle Ages, offering dailyMass had become the standard and some considered it inappropriate to havesexual relations the evening before celebrating Mass, a celibate clergywould relieve this concern. How abuse scandals are playing in Catholic pews;Disenchanted parishioners donate less money, and a growing number want torethink celibate priesthood. In addition, the longer an abuser is able to get away withtheir acts, the more adept they get at hiding their crime. Argument #1 Before the current scandal regarding the enormous number of childrenwho had been molested and abused by priests, the Catholic Church wasalready having trouble recruiting people to enter the Church either aspriests or nuns. This type of abuse has continued down throughthe centuries to the present time. New York: GP PutnamSons. Six parishes havebeen closed and ten more will be closed by 2 5. 12). The Journal of Sex Research. This disciplinary rulewas initiated in the 12th century in an effort to systemize and regulate ascattered church (White, 1999). New York Times. F-1. b-7. Those who do enter theministry now are often given heavy pastoral duties before they are readyand burn out after only a few years of "frustration, loneliness andhyperactivity" (Jabusch, 1998, p. Argument #2 As noted before, the majority of parishioners, including many membersin the hierarchy of the Church, believe that changing the celibacyrequirement may prevent abuse from happening in the first place (NationalCatholic Reporter, 1998). A Different Kind of Altar Call. Kevin Knight Publishers.Available online at: http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/ 3481a.htm. Because of the decline in those entering thepriesthood, there are fewer priests to serve their communities. Rebuttal #2 There is a point to the argument that those who are disturbed will beso, no matter what their circumstances. New York: Simon and Schuster,pp. 3, pp. They in factbecome experts in their crimes (Ward, 1999). July 24, p. Introduction According to the Catholic Encyclopedia, celibacy for the clergy ofthe Catholic Church is "the renunciation of marriage implicitly orexplicitly made, for the more perfect observance of chastity, by all thosewho receive the Sacrament of Orders in any of the higher grades" (Thurston,1999, http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/ 3481a.htm). Bishop: Ordain Married Men. The result is that a majority ofCatholics believe that the notion of a celibate priesthood is not onlyoutdated, but dangerous, and there needs to be more participation by thelaity as to the running of the Church (Stern, 2 2). That personis disturbed in spite of their sexual status, not because of it. 11-12. (1972). Additionally, more qualified applicants would bewilling to join the priesthood. Some of them are Protestantpastors who are married and have children of their own. it will no longer be lawful to turn back from your purpose. (1998). In the middle of a system thatstretches its priests' capabilities in such a manner, it is not surprisingthat some would act out with inappropriate or abusive behaviors. No other denominations or religionscarry such a requirement and there is the danger that this rule may causesome priests to become emotionally and psychologically unstable. but if you receive this order . In DodgeCity, for example, the diocese takes up 28 counties. . This has often been the way that the Catholic Churchhas dealt with its problems, but now the parishioners are speaking out.Amending the celibacy requirement for the priesthood does not change whatthe Church or its parishioners believe since it is not a doctrine, simply arule. The result would be a much healthierChurch. Ward, T. Position However, either despite this rule, or because of it, the CatholicChurch has had a history of abusing the very people that they are pledgedto pastor. National CatholicReporter. The beginning of the ceremony begins with an admonishment bythe bishop: You ought anxiously to consider again and again what sort of a burden this is which you are taking up on you of your own accord . 298-3 5. White Robe, Black Robe. pp. Undersuch circumstances, someone only slightly disturbed, who would normallyhave the support of many of his order, is suddenly alone to deal with notonly parish problems, but his own as well. May 22, Volume125, no. Sincethe requirement for celibacy is not a doctrinal issue or dogma, but more ofa disciplinary rule, then there is no reason why this requirement cannot beamended to reflect the changing times. 44, p. (1998). Just as Jesus and Paulwere able to live a celibate life, so each priest is able to also,sustained by their order and belief in their mission. White, G. 64-5. February 15,p. Objection #1 There are those, including the Pope, who point out that when nuns andpriests enter their orders, they do so knowing and willingly accepting thislimitation. Steinfels, P. F. Others live alone inrectories that used to house 4 or 5 priests. These were two of the major reasons thatcelibacy was instituted. This paper will arguethat the most ethical position for the Church to take would be to allowpriests to get married if they desire. (2 2). In a Church whose resourcesare stretched so thin that those holding the priests accountable are fewand far between, it would behoove the hierarchy to find some way to fillthe current vacancies and alleviate the inclusiveness that allows for suchbehavior to continue. L. The Reformation. Mee, C. One of the primary reasons people gave for finallynot entering the Church was the celibacy requirement (Jabusch, 1998). 36,no. Rebuttal #1 According to the Constitution 5 of the Fourth Lateran Council(1215), a change in discipline -- otherwise known as statuta humana -- maybe called for because of a "change in the times." Also called "appropriateemendations" by Pope John XXIII, the discussions regarding change ofdiscipline at Vatican II decided that adjustments are indicated "when thereis urgent necessity of obvious usefulness" (Jabusch, 1998, p. So, illicit sexualbehavior and perversion are not limited to the celibate Catholicpriesthood. In addition, there was the consideration ofwhether or not sons of clergy could inherit Church property (NationalCatholic Reporter, 1998). October 16, Vol. Objection #2 According to Catholic Answers, those who enter are "called" and thenscreened and trained for their vocations (2 2). . 9. Screening, instead of being desperate,would be extensive. Those who chose to remain celibate, could do so, whilethose who would like to share their ministry in the partnership ofmarriage, could do so as well. Conclusion Only recently have the Church hierarchy admitted that sexual abuse isnot an isolated moral failure to be prayed away, but a deep-seatedcompulsion demanding treatment and possible prosecution (Steinfels, 2 2).The Catholic Church's method of dealing with this abuse is to cover it upand transfer the priest to another location in an attempt to deal with theproblem internally. (198 ). Thurston, H. Stern, S. Infact, there is an International Federation of Married Catholic Priests whoworking to get the Church to allow priests to remain active in the Churchif they choose to marry (White, 1999). Celibacy of the Clergy. Competency and deficit models in the understandingand treatment of offenders. May 4,p. By that time, 24 priestswill be serving 13,7 households in 41 parishes (Jabusch, 1998). 1 p. The Christian Science Monitor. Many ofthe priests now serving who are close to retirement age are delayingretirement until their replacements may be found. . In fact, concerningincidents of abuse and molestation, there are many married men, as well assingle, who inflict such abuse on children. CatholicEncyclopedia, Volume III Online Edition. Being married, single, celibate, promiscuous, gay or straightdoes not make one disturbed enough to abuse or molest a child. Jabusch, W. Would changing the rules in the Roman Catholic Church in regards to celibacy prevent brutal acts of child molestation? Crucial data is still needed to understandthe extent of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church. Commonweal. At All Costs? August, Vol. Durant, W. During the Middle Ages, for example, clergy were known tosolicit sexual favors from their female penitents and some priests keptconcubines. (2 2). The AtlantaJournal-Constitution.

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