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"I have seen the future and know that it works."

By Diogenes (articles ) | Jul 28, 2003

A couple weeks ago I relayed NCR reviewer and ex-priest William Cleary's enthusiastic endorsement of McBrien's prediction that obligatory priestly celibacy would soon be tossed onto the ash-heap of history:

Fr. Richard McBrien was asked on a network television special recently: "Will mandatory celibacy survive another church council?" He replied without hesitation: "No." Then smiled: "It's toast."

Moe recently, playing around in the Richard McBrien archives at the National Catholic Reporter site, I came across this gem from December 30, 1996.

Yamil Lara, a Catholic attorney in New Haven, Connecticut, proposes that "celibacy for Catholic clergy is fundamentally incorrect from a genetic perspective. Catholic clergy are and have been, on average, above-average individuals." Therefore, "their failure to have children has lowered and continues to lower the quality of the Catholic gene pool across the centuries and around the world.

In 1900, he writes, if each of about 40,000 Roman Catholic priests had fathered three children, their descendants, with each generation having just three children, would have numbered more than one million by the year 2000. The damage is geometric as grandchildren and great-children and their progeny are not born. The DNA of Catholic clergy becomes extinct, never to be seen again." ...

"This is a tragic loss because these men have spiritual qualities, intellectual powers and talents that enable them to be Catholic clergy. ...

"Genetically," Lara argues, "Catholics cannot afford to continue to practice institutionally mandated celibacy. It is the extinction of our finest and the opposite of what our knowledge of genetics dictates."

I suspect the majority of women in the greater South Bend-Mishawaka area, even without formal instruction in population genetics, can spot the flaw in the argument.

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  • Posted by: I am Canadian! - Jul. 28, 2003 3:48 PM ET USA

    Not to mention that most priests have brothers and sisters who can then continue the same genes into further generations. Also, for many in the UN, 1 million less people would be a good thing. Why they don't praise the Church for this is a little hypocritical.

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