Does celibacy cause priests to abuse?

From Today’s Irish Independent:

“Nobody within the official church has looked at the deeper issues and seriously asked the question why so many priests and religious did these things, because it raises fundamental questions about the lifestyle of priests.”

“Can they say with any degree of definiteness that the fact that so many priests abused children is not connected to celibacy and clericalism and the whole style of life that a priest is forced to live today? I don’t think they can and until such time as the church authorities face up to that and seriously discuss it and investigate it, the problem will not go away.”

Many concerned with the seeming epidemic of abuse by priests have asked themselves why this particular group of men is so given to taking sexual advantage of those under their care. The two quotes above are from Father Tony Flannery, an Irish priest and co-founder of the Association of Catholic Priests who is asking exactly that question and pushing church officials to face it.

For his outspoken opinions and refusal to back down from his convictions, Father Flannery has been removed from his ministry and threatened with excommunication. He’s written a book A Question of Conscience, about the conflict he finds himself in.

Read the full story of this priest threatened with excommunication for his stand on clergy sex abuse by Sarah MacDonald in the Irish Independent.

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