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Letter: Celibacy is not the cause of pedophilia by priests

Celibacy is not the cause of pedophilia by priests

I was abused at 10 years old by Father Joseph Friel several times as an altar boy at St. Aloysius Gonzaga Parish in Cheektowaga. I’ve had 56 years to research and ponder things.

One thing is the abuse by a pedophile has no connection with sexuality or sexual orientation. It is a violent act perpetrated by a powerful human being on a powerless human being. It gives the abuser a sense of power and control, and is very similar to what a rapist does.

Celibacy, although I disagree with that vow for Catholic priests, is not the cause of pedophilia. Nor is homosexuality. There are pedophiles in all walks of life. The problem with the Catholic Church is that in the ’50s, ’60s and early ’70s, it created an environment where pedophiles felt safe to act out, and if caught they knew they would be fully protected. The victims were on their own!

These pedophiles were shrewd and targeted extremely Catholic families. They knew their victims would not likely tell their families, and most of us didn’t. I told my parents in my 40s, and they couldn’t seem to process it – mostly stared at me – and I never brought it up with them again. I sensed it threatened their belief system.

I think the idea of women priests and married priests could help the situation from never occurring again. Celibacy could be a choice rather than a mandate. That would increase vocations to the priesthood. The feeling of being lonely does not increase spirituality, yet it could be chosen by some if they preferred it.

Mike Stockmeyer


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