Action Alert!

If only priests could have shotgun weddings!

By Diogenes (articles - email) | May 27, 2010

They are used to secrecy, to hiding their feelings, to waiting in the shadows for their men. But now a group of women who have had intimate relationships with Catholic priests has decided to speak up against celibacy.

Give these women credit for consistency: what they say matches what they do. They don't just speak against celibacy. 
 
Still the story in the Global Post leaves a reader asking a familiar question: Should the Church take advice from people who discover their objections to moral laws only after they violate them? If you were in charge of hiring night watchmen for a bank, would you be favorably disposed toward an applicant who spent his interview arguing that the state laws against bank robbery should be repealed? No doubt those laws are imperfect, and better legislation might be devised. Yet… Well, you see my point.
 
But wait, you say. Bank robbery is inherently wrong, whereas intimacy with a woman is not. Fair enough. (And we'll leave aside the freakish circumstances under which bank robbery might be morally licit.) But intimacy with a woman is wrong for a man who has taken a vow not to engage in such intimacy.
 
Moreover, the story unintentionally makes that point. As the women tell their stories, we hear about men who wanted pleasure without demands, intimacy without commitments. They're ready to toss their women aside when they are in trouble, or when they are offered a chance at ecclesiastical advancement.
 
“Most of them are not ready to give up their life as priests for a woman," reports Stefania Salomone, who set up a web site for women involved in relationships with priests. "They want to have it both ways," she says. "There is never a happy ending."
 
Never a happy ending. Over the centuries many thousands of women have learned the same sad lesson. Sometimes they learn it after an affair with a married man, sometimes after a dalliance with an irresponsible bachelor, and sometimes-- rarely-- it's a priest. Cads come in all shapes and sizes; a few wear Roman collars. 
 
The women interviewed for this story were wronged. They were exploited. But at the risk of stating the blindingly obvious, they weren't wronged by priests who honored their vows of celibacy. 

Richard Cross holds a doctorate in psychology, who has taught at the university level, including at Franciscan University. He is currently an educational researcher and consultant in the field of psychology and related disciplines.
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