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Celibacy not the issue, Vatican says

March 15, 2010

Church officials are moving quickly to answer suggestions that the discipline of clerical celibacy is responsible for clerical sex abuse.

In an article published by the Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano, a former professor at the Gregorian University made the argument: "It has been established that there is no link." Bishop Giuseppe Versaldi made two main points: "First, it is known that sexual abuse of minors is more widespread among lay people and married people than among celibate priests. Second, research has shown that the priests who are guilty of abuse had long since stopped practicing celibacy." "Science now tells us that there is no correlation between celibacy and pedophilia," agreed Manfred Lutz, a consultant to the Congregation for Clergy, in a March 12 talk in Rome.


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  • Posted by: niall - Mar. 15, 2010 4:11 PM ET USA

    The facts will just be brushed off by those who are pushing an anti-compulsory-celibacy agenda. But it's common sense that living a life of celibacy is no more the cause of child abuse than compulsory marriage would guarantee that no child abuse will ever occur. Plus celibacy for priests is a choice that they have several years to examine - there are many people in the world who are celibate not by choice but simply by circumstances: where do they come into the picture - they don't, of course.