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Letter: Priesthood celibacy requirement must go

During the past few months, I have heard it argued that there is no connection between celibacy and the sexual abuse crisis that has engulfed the Catholic Church.

Declarations that “celibacy doesn’t cause pedophilia” may be true, but don’t mean that there is no connection.

In my opinion, the celibacy requirement has contributed to the severe shortage of priests.

This, I believe, has not only caused the church to be less than selective when accepting candidates for the priesthood, but is also the reason that predatory priests have been moved from place to place, hidden, and has persuaded church officials to ignore their moral and civic duties.

In the distant past, when parochial schools flourished, the church had fertile grounds from which to recruit both boys and girls to religious vocations. Children often went directly from the eighth grade to the seminary or convent.

They were at an age where most probably didn’t understand the importance of sexuality in healthy adult lives. By the time they matured, they had already committed to religious life.

Today, because candidates for the priesthood are probably older and sexually mature, it is likely, in my opinion, that they include a significant number of men to whom foregoing a normal adult sexual relationship is not a difficult sacrifice. Hence, I believe, it inevitable that they include a larger percentage of pedophiles than is true of the general population.

It is, therefore, my belief that regardless of conferences and decrees, and no matter their source, there can be no solution to this problem until the celibacy requirement is eliminated.

Larry Szantor

Niagara Falls

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