that devil celibacy made him do it

By Diogenes (articles ) | Jan 17, 2011

 A Catholic priest in England, convicted of downloading 740 pieces of child porn, told a court that celibacy was to blame. His legal advocate explained:

“He has never had a chance to explore his sexuality. It has remained bottled up and boxed up and he thinks it may be to do with that unexplored sexuality.”

Let's see if I grasp the argument: the Church won't permit him to marry, so the natural desires normally satiated within marriage continue to increase in urgency, so he finally gives up the struggle and dives into indecent photos of 9-year-olds.

Yup. Clearly the Church's fault.

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  • Posted by: a son of Mary - Jan. 20, 2011 9:12 PM ET USA

    @animadversor - when you hire an attorney, he speaks for you and you coordinate responses Unless the priest disavows his attorneys comments, you can pretty much assume it's agreed-upon response.

  • Posted by: - Jan. 19, 2011 4:36 PM ET USA

    "Curiosity and lack of self-control", eh? To someone with normal sexual desires there is no curiosity to see child porn and no self-control called for - such material is repugnant and avoided at all costs. Only a seriously depraved sexuality would need self-control for these purposes. It's like saying one needs self-control to avoid eating dirt instead of healthy food. Absurd.

  • Posted by: - Jan. 17, 2011 10:33 PM ET USA

    Go figure.

  • Posted by: - Jan. 17, 2011 10:06 PM ET USA

    [Somehow I cut off the end of my comment.] was blaming the Church's discipline of celibacy. His own statement is rather more honest. And if I may anticipate objections that what his lawyer says for him in court, Mr. Shannon himself says: that's certainly true for the court, but men in the world are not bound so to attribute. Remember St. Thomas More at his trial regarding the legal notion that silence implies consent.

  • Posted by: Clorox - Jan. 17, 2011 9:02 PM ET USA

    But the 1980s definition of celibacy is (From the "Modern Seminarian's Dictionary"): CELIBACY: Refraining from heterosexual genital activity.

  • Posted by: - Jan. 17, 2011 7:18 PM ET USA

    As you note, it was his lawyer, Andrew Finlay, who said that celibacy was to blame. What the priest, John Shannon, said was that it was, “curiosity and lack of self-control that led him to access these websites and it became a compulsion.” A lawyer will, quite properly, offer any halfway-plausible argument possible on behalf of his client, if that's all he's got, and apparently that was the best that Mr. Finlay could come up with. But I don't think it's quite fair to say that Mr. Shannon himself