There is No Such Thing as Compulsory Priestly Celibacy

I read an article recently that declared “compulsory celibacy” to be the common denominator to the Church’s problems of reputation loss, due to abuse by priests, and the shortage or priests.  First, calling priestly celibacy “compulsory” is like calling marital monogamy “compulsory.”  Nobody forces a man to become a priest and adopt celibacy, just as no man is coerced into marriage and adopting monogamy.

Secondly, saying that attempted celibacy is in any way responsible for any instances of abuse by priests is to declare that nobody can or should attempt to abstain from sexual relations for extended periods of time.  Therefore, blaming attempted celibacy is akin to saying that single persons, having yet to find a spouse, should not be expected to refrain from sex.  Consequently, fornication is eliminated by decree.  And I thought the sexual revolution of the 60s and 70s was bad!

If you can’t accept a permanent commitment to have sex with only one person for the rest of your life, don’t get married, but don’t expect the Church to bless your fornication either.  And if you can’t make a lifelong commitment to celibacy, don’t become a priest, but do find a wife and be faithful to her.  If you can’t accept those propositions, then you are rejecting the moral teaching of the Church and are yourself actively refusing communion with her.