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#1 Jun 07 2012 at 2:02 PM Rating: Excellent
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Had a conversation with my officemate the other day about marriage in Roman Catholic church, and what, if any, effect it would have on the incidence of sexual abuse. If folks don't know, priests in the RCC are not allowed to marry, ever*. I believe the official stance is something like "a priest is married to the Church." The two positions came out as:

1. Allowing priests to get married might change the statistics, but it won't change sexual abuse. Allowing priests to be married will likely increase the amount of people willing to be ordained, but it won't change those who are already in the faith as molesters. If someone is sexually attracted by children, having a wife won't stop them from acting on those impulses. Pardon the unfair comparison, but it's like saying that if a *** man gets married to a woman he stops being attracted to other men. A paedophile will still be attracted to kids.

2. Allowing priests to get married would lower sexual abuse rates, but it would not increase the number of people who would become priests. While abstinence is definitely a major issue, being a priest is about more than just earthly concerns - it's an entire lifestyle. Changing only a part of that would not alter the lifestyle enough to increase applicants. As for the abuse, most of it comes from seclusion. Imagine you're under pressure to remain celibate, but still have desires. A relationship with an adult in the congregation would be admitting to your sin, and the rumors could spread. But after spending day after day, year after year, around children... things start to become more intimate. Starting a relationship with a child might seem more innocent. Most of the abuse isn't from people who sexually fantasize about children, but from people whose lack of an outlet eventually led them to pursue a forbidden relationship. If they had the chance they'd much prefer the comfort of a monogamous, accepted, relationship.

What does the board think? Is it one or the other, or a mixture of the two: would allowing priests to get married really slow the abuse of children?

(Additional food for thought; about 4% of priests have been accused of abuse, and about 80% of the cases are against young boys. However, some pro-RCC folks have said that the numbers reported by insurance companies indicate that abuse is even higher among US Protestant sects, the vast majority of which allow marriage for their clergy).

*Edit: Unless they were married and their wife died prior to them entering the priesthood.

Edited, Jun 7th 2012 4:02pm by LockeColeMA
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#2 Jun 07 2012 at 2:44 PM Rating: Excellent
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Had a conversation with my officemate the other day about marriage in Roman Catholic church, and what, if any, effect it would have on the incidence of sexual abuse.


It would solve the problem, entirely, obviously. The issue isn't putting children in an environment where strangers have complete authority over them, and environment which exists *solely* to indoctrinate, where questioning of any kind is unacceptable. No, it's not the utter lack of transparency or oversight that draws predators to the role, it's just the the otherwise well meaning priests are so fucking HORNY that they decide to rape children.

As to your other meaningless questions, allowing marriage would increase the number of priests. So would allowing *** marriage, so would allowing animal sacrifice. At some point you lose the unique identity of what your particular imaginary man in the sky sect stands for. If part of it is that *** is a terrible, terrible, burdensome sin that should generate guilt in everyone, letting your dress wearing store managers openly **** might send the wrong message.

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#3 Jun 07 2012 at 2:55 PM Rating: Excellent
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Paul talks in one of the epistles about how it's better for a man not to marry because his devotion should be towards the Church but, since men are prone to lust, it's better to marry than to sin. I always assumed that was the scriptural basis for the prohibition but I never looked too hard at it, either.

When I was younger, there was a sexual abuse scandal at my local church. It was a priest and a 15 year old girl who attended that church and religious school. He was discovered by her parents when they found various expensive gifts from him and questioned her. Point being, it's not as though being a priest who can't control your ***** means you have to molest boys. I've looked at -- and am too lazy to find now -- stats for other jobs with heavy child interaction (teachers, sports instructors, club leaders, etc) and there wasn't much deviation (heh) in chance for abuse. I think the Church got nailed (heh x2) because years and years were exposed in a very short period and because it was a single institution. I don't think priesthood in of itself attracts pedophiles (are we allowed to say that here yet like grown-ups?). If you wanted to hang with five year olds, there's hella easier ways to do it than years of seminary and hoping you're put into a position with child contact (heh x3). Go become a YMCA swim instructor or something.

What would help change it? I think there needs to be significant institutional change within the Church itself about how it reacts to charges and incidents. They need to be quicker to remove people (not just shuffle them around) or allow police intervention. The terrible shame of it wasn't that priests in general were worse than whoever, it was that the Church allowed these same people to hurt so many children by just moving them about and covering things up. Had these men been removed, the incidents fully investigated and the guilty arrested as soon as they occurred, it would have been a far different story.
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#4 Jun 07 2012 at 3:36 PM Rating: Excellent
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The priest at one of the Catholic churches in the city where I grew up had a girlfriend whose name was Trisha. Trisha was a rather spicy young blonde woman whose hobbies included tanning at the salon and playing tennis. She was the church secretary as her day job, which allowed her and the priest to work very closely together...

My mother was rather annoyed at this whole arrangement, and when she (the ex-nun, herself) confronted Trisha one day, Trisha responded flippantly with "celibate just means we can't get married!"

Since she was a consenting adult there was no real scandal to be had there, but it was enough that my mother moved our entire family to a different church.
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#5 Jun 07 2012 at 5:19 PM Rating: Good
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IIRC there's been a sort of "on again off again" over the past 2000 years in the Catholic church of priests being allowed to marry. Or not being able to, as the case may be.

The last time they changed policy was like 1500 or whatever.
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#6 Jun 08 2012 at 3:02 AM Rating: Good
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#7 Jun 08 2012 at 6:59 AM Rating: Good
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What is the rate of child-molestation among the ordained of other religions that allow marriage, and how do they compare to child molestation rates among catholic priests?

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#8 Jun 08 2012 at 7:23 AM Rating: Excellent
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LockeColeMA wrote:
However, some pro-RCC folks have said that the numbers reported by insurance companies indicate that abuse is even higher among US Protestant sects, the vast majority of which allow marriage for their clergy.
It's not like people go pedo because they can't get legal strange.
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#9 Jun 08 2012 at 10:44 AM Rating: Good
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I went to Catholic school and had some pretty kind and benevolent priests in my time.

That being said, my old boss was raised Catholic, and born in Holland. He brought his family's chocolate business to the states. Anyway, ~40 years ago, when he told his father he was ***, his father had a strange relief come over him, because apparently it was accepted that if you were ***, you became a priest. I'm not sure if it's another manifestation of our puritanical (ironically) American society, but I always thought it was interesting that someone old and traditional like his father would be accepting of the *** because it just meant your prayed harder, gave your life to service of others, and never stuck it in anything (ideally).
#10 Jun 08 2012 at 2:35 PM Rating: Excellent
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LockeColeMA wrote:
Had a conversation with my officemate the other day about marriage in Roman Catholic church, and what, if any, effect it would have on the incidence of sexual abuse.
Zero, assuming you're using that term correctly. Someone who gets his rocks off by overpowering someone sexually wouldn't be deterred just because someone decided to put a ring on it.

It's one of the great sadnesses of my life that the religion that provided such comfort to me in times of struggle has failed to grasp what a colossal mess they have made of the way they approach these crimes. At one point (and not so far back, in 2009)--they tried to characterize the abuse as closeted homosexuality because the children, some as young as 11, were considered to be "adolescents". Smiley: oyvey
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#11 Jun 08 2012 at 6:21 PM Rating: Excellent
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Quote:
Trisha responded flippantly with "celibate just means we can't get married!"


Well, pedantically speaking, that is true. Chastity is refraining from sexual activity. Celibacy is remaining single. These days, of course, no one talks about chastity and celibacy is broadly used to mean both.

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