The Deacon's Bench

The other day, in the Boston Globe, former priest and current author James Carroll had this to say about celibacy:

The Catholic scandal has laid bare an essential pathology that is unique to the culture of clericalism, and mandatory celibacy is essential to it. Immaturity, narcissism, misogyny, incapacity for intimacy, illusions about sexual morality — such all-too-common characteristics of today’s Catholic clergy are directly tied to the inhuman asexuality that is put before them as an ideal.

Reading that, Jesuit writer James Martin — understandably — hit the roof:

Frankly, I’m sick of this crap. It’s one thing to address the clerical culture that has given rise to the sex abuse crisis. It’s one thing to take aim at an all-male clergy that prevents women from entering into roles of leadership (and married men, too). It’s one thing to investigate how celibacy contributed to a hermetically sealed world in which married men and women were seen as “less than,” and therefore whose cries were not heard during when it came to sexual abuse. It’s one thing to wonder how much a celibate world provided a refuge for men with sick sexual impulses. And, to be fair, some of his piece does try to do this.

But it’s quite another thing to malign an entire group of people who live their promises of celibacy with integrity and their vows of chastity with love. And why, pray, has Carroll left out celibate women? Where are the evil Catholic sisters in his opinion piece? Are they immature, narcissistic, misogynistic (misanthropic?) incapable of intimacy and deluded about sexual morality, too? They live celibately, in case he hadn’t noticed. Oh, but wait, Carroll likes nuns. “The nuns acted as if the reforms of Vatican II were real,” he wrote a few weeks ago. But how could they do that if they were celibate, and therefore immature, narcissistic, incapable of intimacy and deluded about sexual morality?

I can’t help but agree with Jim Martin’s conclusion:  “I eagerly await The Boston Globe publishing his description of traits
that are “all too common” in women, Jews, blacks, Muslims, gays and
lesbians, and, well, fill in your own ethnic group or social minority or
religious group.” 

Read the rest here.

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