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September 13th, 2011
09:44 AM ET

Top Irish Catholic cleric calls for church to end celibacy for priests

By Peter Taggart, CNN

Belfast, Northern Ireland (CNN) - A respected former Catholic bishop in Ireland is calling for an end to clerical celibacy in the wake of the sex abuse scandals that have rocked the church worldwide, and says he finds it "heartbreaking" that some prospective priests turn away from the calling because of the celibacy rule.

In his recently published book, "A Troubled See, Memoirs of a Derry Bishop," Dr. Edward Daly said that allowing clergymen to marry would ease many of the church's problems.

There needs to be a place in the modern Catholic church for a married priesthood, said Daly, a prominent figure in the Catholic church in Ireland and the most senior Irish cleric to question the Vatican's celibacy rule.

Daly, 77, reiterated his views in local radio interviews in Northern Ireland Tuesday.

"There will always be a place in the church for a celibate priesthood, but there should also be a place for a married priesthood in the church. I think priests should have the freedom to marry if they wish," the former bishop said.

"It may create a whole new set of problems but I think it's something that should be considered.

The retired bishop said he was worried about the decreasing number of priests and the number of older priests. The issue "needs to be addressed and addressed urgently," Daly said, adding that he finds it "heartbreaking" that priests were forced to resign or prospective priests were unable to join the priesthood because of the celibacy rule.

Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi told CNN Tuesday: "The position on celibacy is clear."

Daly said he accepted he might be out of step with current Vatican thinking, but he was "not engaged in a popularity contest."

His comments are expected to ignite fresh debate within the church as the number of priests continues to fall amid the international controversy over child sex abuse and a number of damning reports on pedophile priests in Ireland.

The retired bishop also addresses the issue of abuse in his book, saying he is "heartbroken and appalled that fellow clergy could engage in such horrible criminal acts against the most vulnerable." He said he was deeply ashamed and profoundly shocked there were so many instances of child sex abuse by clergy in Ireland and throughout the world.

Daly was Bishop of Derry from 1974 until 1993, during the height of the Northern Ireland conflict. As a priest, he was photographed waving a white handkerchief as he led a group carrying a dying victim of the Bloody Sunday shootings in Derry in 1972.

The picture became an iconic image of "the Troubles" - a term used to describe the 30 years of violence between pro-British and pro-Irish forces in Northern Ireland. Much of his memoir is devoted to that violence, but he called the issue of celibacy "the other conflict."

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Bishops • Catholic Church • Ireland • Sex

soundoff (784 Responses)
  1. carolae

    Being brought up Catholic, I understood that priests could never marry as their bride was the church and God. I think the time has finally come that priests should be allowed to marry just like other pastors do. It doesn't mean that they will love the church or God any less, but will be equal with other religious sects. I don't believe there is any reference in the Bible that says priests should not marry. Priests were allowed to marry during the 1st century and after that time, the Catholic church wanted to change this tradition while the Orthodox church wanted to keep it around. This was one of the issues that caused the schism between the Orthodox and Catholic church, not to mention the religious and political aspects.

    September 13, 2011 at 10:52 am |
    • HeavenSent

      carolae, please stop reading the man made doctrines of the Catholic Church. Instead, do what we all are suppose to do. Read Jesus Christ's letter (the Bible) He wrote to all of us. Once you read His truth, you will see the man made lies of the church doctrines. To help you read His truth, two Pastors from Shepherd's Chapel teach Jesus' truth, book by book, scripture by scripture. You can find their link at shepherdschapel.com. Check their site for the TV listings in your area.

      God Bless.

      Amen.

      September 13, 2011 at 11:10 am |
    • Howard

      @ HeavenSent ... let me be the first (and maybe not) to tell you that you are anything but heaven sent.

      September 13, 2011 at 11:18 am |
    • Avdin

      Paul does talk about celibacy in ! Corinthians, but he is speaking about people like himself, namely missionaries, not local or hierarchical leaders

      September 13, 2011 at 12:58 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Howard ... SKIP.

      Amen.

      September 14, 2011 at 12:15 pm |
  2. Billy Blanks

    Celibacy is not a gift from God. It was a business decision. The clergy give themselves and all possessions to the Church. No descendants, no wife to leave possessions to. No messy divorces.

    The Catholic Church has to realize they cannot control basic human instinct. Maslow and Herzberg did enough research on this. Maybe if they allow clergy to marry little boys and girls will be left alone...

    September 13, 2011 at 10:51 am |
    • AGuest9

      All possessions? How 'bout their their sets of golf clubs, Cadillacs and restored '57 Chevy convertibles?

      September 13, 2011 at 10:55 am |
  3. Pemba123

    I am totally aware that I am not supposing to judge or condemn nobody as I am a sinner too. But this idea is great ooh my, what I have see these priest do behind the church, it is more than sinning. I totally agree priests shd marry and also allow them to consume alcohol anywhere coz what they are doing behind the curtains and the kids they have brought, being raise up without knowing their father is beyond measure, while they are fathers are pretending to be holy cow . Please lets allow this to happen

    September 13, 2011 at 10:51 am |
    • AGuest9

      The liquor store delivering cases of wine to the rectory? That wasn't ALL altar wine.

      September 13, 2011 at 10:58 am |
    • HeavenSent

      Pemba, Judging Is Believing in Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.

      Yes, and why, even of yourselves, do you not judge what is right? (Luke 12:57)

      What is right?

      The statutes of the Lord are right (Psalm 19:8).

      Amen.

      September 13, 2011 at 11:13 am |
  4. Linda

    The problems in the Church are not because a priest is celibate. The problems are because these men are pedophiles and have been allowed to hide their problems within the Church walls. There are many men who are married and are pedophiles.

    September 13, 2011 at 10:51 am |
    • HeavenSent

      Linda, stop generalizing. Not all priests are pedophiles.

      Amen.

      September 13, 2011 at 11:14 am |
    • Thomas

      Heavensent,

      Not all priests are pedophiles, but some are. What is the minimum number of pedophile priests that you would find acceptable?

      September 13, 2011 at 2:20 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Thomas, they are not acceptable, but, neither is generalizing just to make a ridiculous point.

      Amen.

      September 14, 2011 at 12:16 pm |
  5. DamianKnight

    I can't speak for every faith, but most Christian denominations nowadays allow and even encourage clergy to get married. I think this is trying to live what Paul said in 1 Corinthians 7:32-34 "I would like you to be free from concern. An unmarried man is concerned about the Lord’s affairs—how he can please the Lord. But a married man is concerned about the affairs of this world—how he can please his wife— and his interests are divided."

    But Paul also says that if that is impossible, it is better to get married. (1 Corinthians 7:8-9) So, I really don't think a priest who is married is any less or any more than any other priest.

    September 13, 2011 at 10:50 am |
    • Epidi

      @ DamianKnight – There was a time when priests married and even women (ordained – imagine that!) were hearing confession (oh my! heaven forbid a female be allowed to intercede on your behalf). Pope Urban's solution in 1095 is especially disturbing. It is unatural to be forced to remain in a celebate state for the duration of your life unless it is by personal choice. To not use the physical form that was created for you does NOT make you any more divine or demeans you spiritually. All this happened at a time in history when the church was trying to put an end to Paganism which holds the female aspect of Deity so dear and threw their own women under the bus in doing so.

      Eleventh Century
      1045- Benedict IX dispensed himself from celibacy and resigned in order to marry.
      1074-Pope Gregory VII said anyone to be ordained must first pledge celibacy: ‘priests [must] first escape from the clutches of their wives.’
      1095-Pope Urban II had priests’ wives sold into slavery, children were abandoned.

      Twelfth Century
      1123-Pope Calistus II: First Lateran Council decreed that clerical marriages were invalid.
      1139-Pope Innocent II: Second Lateran Council confirmed the previous council’s decree.

      Fourteenth Century
      Bishop Pelagio complains that women are still ordained and hearing confessions.

      September 13, 2011 at 11:12 am |
    • DamianKnight

      @Epidi,

      Wow. I didn't know a lot of that information (I'm not a Catholic scholar by any stretch of the imagination.) In your statement, you said, "It is unatural to be forced to remain in a celebate state for the duration of your life unless it is by personal choice. To not use the physical form that was created for you does NOT make you any more divine or demeans you spiritually."

      One could argue that becoming a priest -is- a choice. There's no "priest draft" (LOL) and so by becoming a priest you willingly deny yourself the urges of your physical body. That said, I think denying someone the ability to minister to others and to help others spiritually, simply because they want to get married (which is spoken about as a holy unity many times in the Bible) is an outdated mode of thinking.

      I don't know if marriage will help pedophilia. After all, there are many married people involved in se.xual as.sault on children. So I'm not certain this is actually the answer.

      September 13, 2011 at 11:18 am |
    • Epidi

      I don't think marriage will help pedophilia either. 🙂 Pedophiles try to get jobs in positions that exposes them (pardon the pun) to as many potential victims as possible. The preisthood is a perfect prey field if you think about it. So are summer camps, schools, etc. It's a scary world for our little ones out there. How horrible that someone you are taught to trust and respect betray you in such a way. Very sad indeed.

      September 13, 2011 at 11:25 am |
    • DamianKnight

      I agree. Pedophilia and ra.pe are not crimes of se.x. They are crimes of power. It's the thrill of getting to do what you want to another person and not having any consequences.

      I'm not sure what the answer is, but I hardly think allowing them to marry into another family, potentially with kids of their own or stepchildren, is the correct one.

      September 13, 2011 at 11:37 am |
    • jorgath

      That's the theological justification, yes. The practical one was that the early church didn't want ecclesiastical offices to become hereditary positions.

      September 13, 2011 at 12:27 pm |
    • A concerned catholic

      The Roman Catholic Church for the first 1000 years had married priests. Bringing celibacy in was for Papal Control over the priests and errant heretical theology that a man who touches the Body of Christ cannot touch the filthy body of a woman. Sorry folks, that's the truth. The Latin Rite may try to sugar coat it and twist scripture, but that's the truth.

      I also want to add that celibacy did not cause pedophilia as many pedophiles are married. However, celibacy greatly lessened the pool of candidates and ambitious bishops tended to look the other way at some psychiatric tests. How do I know? I know several priests who told me.

      September 13, 2011 at 1:02 pm |
    • Kirk

      @Epidi,

      The Church has never ordained women, never! Where did you ever hear such a lie?

      September 13, 2011 at 3:42 pm |
  6. Reality

    Ending celibacy for priests will not solve the problem since 50% of those men convicted of pedophilia are married.

    Then there is the high divorce rate. Will parishnors have to pay for the pastor's alimony?

    Mas-turbation might be the easier solution? A pill to temporarily control the se-x urge?

    But then there is this:

    Recognizing the flaws, follies and frauds in the foundations of Islam, Judaism and Christianity, the "bowers", kneelers" and "pew peasants" are converging these religions into some simple rules of life. No koran, bible, clerics, nuns, monks, imams, evangelicals, ayatollahs, rabbis, professors of religion or priests needed or desired.

    Ditto for houses of "worthless worship" aka mosques, churches, basilicas, cathedrals, temples and synagogues.

    o http://www.adherents.com/Religions_By_Adherents.html
    o
    oReligion............................. Adherents

    Christianity .........................2.1 billion
    Islam....................................1.5 billion
    Irreligious/agnostic/atheism 1.1 billion
    Hinduism 900 million
    Chinese traditional religion 394 million
    Buddhism 376 million
    Animist religions 300 million
    African traditional/diasporic religions 100 million
    Sikhism 23 million
    Juche 19 million
    Spiritism 15 million
    Judaism 14 million
    Baha'i 7 million
    Jainism 4.2 million
    Shinto 4 million
    Cao Dai 4 million
    Zoroastrianism 2.6 million
    Tenrikyo 2 million
    Neo-Paganism 1 million
    Unitarian Universalism 800,000
    Rastafari Movement 600,000

    September 13, 2011 at 10:49 am |
    • doihave2

      Us humans are flawed just as you pointed out, but that's why Christ died not so you will live as a slave of sin but that you will learn to live free from the slavery of sin. It's a choice for everyone to commits these foul acts on another person or chose not to. Isa. 53:1 Who has believed our message?
      To whom has the LORD revealed his powerful arm?
      2My servant grew up in the LORD’s presence like a tender green shoot,
      like a root in dry ground.
      There was nothing beautiful or majestic about his appearance,
      nothing to attract us to him.
      3He was despised and rejected—
      a man of sorrows, acquainted with deepest grief.
      We turned our backs on him and looked the other way.
      He was despised, and we did not care.
      4Yet it was our weaknesses he carried;
      it was our sorrowsa that weighed him down.
      And we thought his troubles were a punishment from God,
      a punishment for his own sins!
      5But he was pierced for our rebellion,
      crushed for our sins.
      He was beaten so we could be whole.
      He was whipped so we could be healed.
      6All of us, like sheep, have strayed away.
      We have left God’s paths to follow our own.
      Yet the LORD laid on him
      the sins of us all.
      7He was oppressed and treated harshly,
      yet he never said a word.
      He was led like a lamb to the slaughter.
      And as a sheep is silent before the shearers,
      he did not open his mouth.
      8Unjustly condemned,
      he was led away.b
      No one cared that he died without descendants,
      that his life was cut short in midstream.c
      But he was struck down
      for the rebellion of my people.
      9He had done no wrong
      and had never deceived anyone.
      But he was buried like a criminal;
      he was put in a rich man’s grave.
      10But it was the LORD’s good plan to crush him
      and cause him grief.
      Yet when his life is made an offering for sin,
      he will have many descendants.
      He will enjoy a long life,
      and the LORD’s good plan will prosper in his hands.
      11When he sees all that is accomplished by his anguish,
      he will be satisfied.
      And because of his experience,
      my righteous servant will make it possible
      for many to be counted righteous,
      for he will bear all their sins.
      12I will give him the honors of a victorious soldier,
      because he exposed himself to death.
      He was counted among the rebels.
      He bore the sins of many and interceded for rebels.
      Welcome Christ and His sacrifice for you and no longer let your mind, body and soul be a slave to sin any more!

      September 13, 2011 at 11:01 am |
    • Reality

      From Professor JD Crossan's book, "Who is Jesus" co-authored with Richard Watts:

      "Moreover, an atonement theology that says God sacrifices his own son in place of humans who needed to be punished for their sins might make some Christians love Jesus, but it is an obscene picture of God. It is almost heavenly child abuse, and may infect our imagination at more earthly levels as well. I do not want to express my faith through a theology that pictures God demanding blood sacrifices in order to be reconciled to us."

      "Traditionally, Christians have said, 'See how Christ's passion was foretold by the prophets." Actually, it was the other way around. The Hebrew prophets did not predict the events of Jesus' last week; rather, many of those Christian stories were created to fit the ancient prophecies in order to show that Jesus, despite his execution, was still and always held in the hands of God."

      "In terms of divine consistency, I do not think that anyone, anywhere, at any time, including Jesus, brings dead people back to life."

      September 13, 2011 at 11:19 am |
  7. IRONMIKE

    Why not the Pope's use top have wives.

    September 13, 2011 at 10:48 am |
    • AGuest9

      And one wasn't even a man.

      September 13, 2011 at 11:00 am |
  8. ThinkForYourself

    Not that I have a horse in the race, but considering the shortage of priests in many areas and the fact that the original reason for not allowing priests to marry – that the Church might lose land to inheritance, I don't see any good reason not to allow priests to marry, other than the Church is just hard-headed.

    September 13, 2011 at 10:47 am |
  9. MLatino

    The bishop was talking about marriage to gain more priest. Marriage will not stop sick men from molesting children, and other churches show it, but marriage will allow Catholics who are married to be priest.

    September 13, 2011 at 10:46 am |
  10. Zlati

    Yea!!..I was so happy to read the post by "R"..The Orthodox Christian Church always allowed priests to marry and have a family...This was the way of the early Church before the Catholics split from us in 1051... People need to read the history and social-economic reasons behind the celibacy rule..It was not a part of the original Christian church..

    September 13, 2011 at 10:45 am |
    • Monte

      So true.

      September 13, 2011 at 10:49 am |
    • Andre

      Not a part of the early Church? Read the Bible. Both Paul and Jesus extol the benefits of choosing celibacy for the kingdom.
      Read all of 1st Corinthians Chapter 7 as well as Matthew 19:10-12.

      September 13, 2011 at 10:59 am |
    • marie

      absolutely right!!

      September 13, 2011 at 11:05 am |
  11. MJSouth

    Time to get in the 21st century. Celibacy is not needed and is only another antiquated rule made long long ago. If we add women to the mix as priests, we will have all the good clergy needed.

    September 13, 2011 at 10:44 am |
    • Kebos

      Agree but this will not happen in our lifetime unless membership tails off so much that the Catholic executive board decides to make some radical changes to keep this "virus" alive.

      September 13, 2011 at 10:47 am |
  12. Leah

    This is the danger of following man made doctrine. NOWHERE in the scriptures does it say that a Christian man taking the lead in the congregation has to be celibate.

    September 13, 2011 at 10:41 am |
    • myweightinwords

      Paul does say that it is better to not marry, to focus all of your heart upon God.

      But I don't think he meant just the priest/pastor.

      September 13, 2011 at 10:47 am |
    • doihave2

      The bible says, "to tell someone they can't get married is a doctrine from demons." Read below

      1 Tim 4:1
      Now the Holy Spirit tells us clearly that in the last times some will turn away from the true faith; they will follow deceptive spirits and teachings that come from demons. 2These people are hypocrites and liars, and their consciences are dead.
      3They will say it is wrong to be married and wrong to eat certain foods. But God created those foods to be eaten with thanks by faithful people who know the truth. 4Since everything God created is good, we should not reject any of it but receive it with thanks. 5For we know it is made acceptableb by the word of God and prayer.

      September 13, 2011 at 11:11 am |
    • HeavenSent

      1 Timothy 4:1-3

      1 Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;

      2 Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron;

      3 Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth.

      Amen.

      September 13, 2011 at 11:21 am |
    • HeavenSent

      doihave2, it is better to read from the KJV. All other versions have been corrupted. The King James Version allows the reader to check back to the original manuscripts for accuracy.

      Amen.

      September 13, 2011 at 11:25 am |
    • HellBent

      And always read the British-printed editions of Harry Potter. And other versions are heresies.

      September 13, 2011 at 11:34 am |
    • jorgath

      KJV is pretty bad too. I recommend learning Hebrew, Aramaic, and Ancient Greek and reading the original.

      September 13, 2011 at 12:34 pm |
  13. angry jack

    from what i read, priests were allowed to marry and have children at one time and the idea of celibacy for priests was initiated long ago because the pope at that time was afraid of the power that some priests could have with their large and extended families. personally, i think the church itself should be dismantled and the pope prosecuted for allowing these crimes to continue.

    September 13, 2011 at 10:40 am |
    • Alison

      It is disgusting and completely hypocritical that crimes like those are allowed to happen. Not to mention, the church constantly turns the other cheek. Things like that make me despise religion. And yes, if the church and the pope know these crimes are occurring and do nothing, they should definitely be held accountable.

      September 13, 2011 at 10:45 am |
    • YBP

      The reason has to do with the priests' widows and children inheriting the church's real estate.

      September 13, 2011 at 10:49 am |
  14. Matt

    Peter was married (the Bible accounts how Jesus healed his mother-IN-LAW)....and don't Catholics consider him the first "pope"? So of course marriage should be permitted.

    "Simon’s mother-in-law was in bed with a fever, and they immediately told Jesus about her. So He went to her, took her hand and helped her up. The fever left her and she began to wait on them." (Mark 1:30-31)

    September 13, 2011 at 10:40 am |
  15. Santa Claus

    Even I got married!

    All these guys do is touch all the little kids. GET A ROPE AND HANG'UM HIGH!

    I'll personally take a dump in all their stockings this year.

    September 13, 2011 at 10:39 am |
  16. ColoredMountains

    Maybe just in Ireland. Celibacy is a beautiful gift of God and must not be abandoned. There are always overcomers, not just deserters.

    September 13, 2011 at 10:28 am |
    • AGuest9

      It apparently doesn't stop the Brothers in Baltimore from sneaking out to g.a.y bars on "the block" in the middle of the night on weekend. I had a close friend leave the order, then finally, the priesthood. Celibacy means celibacy, not just to refrain from sleeping with a woman.

      September 13, 2011 at 10:35 am |
    • Prolifer

      Where in the Holy Bible does it say that Celibacy is a gift from God? Please at least quote scripture and not your made up belief just to defend a useless practice. This guy is right, Celibacy is unnatural, unnecessary and non-bliblical. Let them get married.

      September 13, 2011 at 10:36 am |
    • Kebos

      Celibacy is a man-made rule (although the whole concept of God is too.....and your fooling only yourself for thinking otherwise).

      The act of celibacy goes against millions of years of evolution.

      Celibacy also plays into the whole meme that women are subservient to men and mankind. Women are here to serve men, their just one rung up from the animal kingdom. To now allow a priest to marry puts his wife on somewhat equal footing as him and does it not open the door, just a bit, for females to become priests. Oh my, that won't do!

      September 13, 2011 at 10:45 am |
    • AGuest9

      It doesn't. It doesn't say anything that the Apostles were celibate. Mary Magdalene wasn't celibate and she was mentioned as much as in the gospels as Mary, the mother of Jesus and James, and may have been married to Jesus (a little editing by the church may have eliminated that part.)

      September 13, 2011 at 10:45 am |
    • stonrdude

      Horsehockey! God had nothing to do with celibacy. God had nothing to do with the rules of the Catholic Church. Wake up and smell the coffee, the Catholic faith is all about what a bunch of power crazed old men that want to keep tradition alive. God does not speak to the pope or the bishops or the love starved priests. He crys for the poor victims of abuse

      September 13, 2011 at 10:57 am |
  17. ConfucianScholar

    They should let Catholic Nuns have boyfriends.

    September 13, 2011 at 10:26 am |
    • John W

      Hell yeah! Nuns are hot.

      September 13, 2011 at 10:37 am |
    • AGuest9

      I know ONE that I wouldn't mind starting a relationship with. I knew her growing up, and she pulled The Sound of Music, "Get Thee to a Nunnery" bit after her fiancee left her at the altar. What a waste!

      September 13, 2011 at 10:39 am |
    • Thomas

      Some of those nuns have dirty habits.

      September 13, 2011 at 2:25 pm |
  18. us1776

    Just ban all of these "Invisible Being" cults.

    People are past the days when rulers needed their little psychological spy-in-the-sky to keep people in line.

    .

    September 13, 2011 at 10:25 am |
    • angry jack

      well said. i believe god was an invention to do just that.

      September 13, 2011 at 10:36 am |
    • Alison

      I definitely agree with that.

      September 13, 2011 at 10:37 am |
    • MrHanson

      Yes life is just an accident and we are no more worthy than a tapeworm.

      September 13, 2011 at 10:43 am |
    • Sean

      Let's see... your nickname is us1776, so I'm dangerously assuming you are a patriot of sorts... and patriots should know how important religion was to most founding fathers.
      " We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."

      September 13, 2011 at 10:44 am |
    • ThinkForYourself

      @Sean,

      Most of the founding fathers were spiritual, but many were extremely wary and cautious of religion.

      September 13, 2011 at 10:51 am |
    • Alison

      Life isn't an accident. It's science.

      September 13, 2011 at 10:52 am |
    • YBP

      Amen, us1776 (pardon the expression). Ban religion.

      September 13, 2011 at 10:55 am |
    • AGuest9

      Jefferson, a deist, wrote that in to make the Calvinists happy. They also struggled with the concept of slavery and freedom and equality, but would have lost the southern half of the conventions in Philadelphia and Annapolis.

      September 13, 2011 at 11:05 am |
    • Citizen

      Yeah, ban 'em! Who needs freedom to worship. Then they can ban our rights to have more than 1 child, speak our minds or read what we want, watch what we want on TV or the internet, and any other rights that you feel we shouldn't have.

      September 13, 2011 at 11:08 am |
    • HeavenSent

      us1776, why not write the truth ... that you are anti-social and proud of it. I'm sure your parents and grandparents, along with aunts and uncles are proud of you. NOT.

      Amen.

      September 13, 2011 at 11:28 am |
    • HellBent

      @HeavenSet – Did heaven also send you with such animosity and insults? You seems to truly delight in insulting others and telling them how they are going to suffer. Do you get a rise out of this?

      September 13, 2011 at 11:38 am |
    • jorgath

      Actually, if you think about it, religion is science. It's an attempt to explain the observed world by the best theories available. It's just that writing it down makes people rely on it long after it's out of date. It's like arguing that there are no sub-atomic particles, or that Ptolemy's cosmology was better than Copernicus'.

      September 13, 2011 at 12:39 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Now it's HellBent handle to hide behind. Reality, you're a coward.

      Amen.

      September 14, 2011 at 12:19 pm |
  19. BRC

    Voltaire had a very interesting point in his "Philosophical Dictionary". He alwasy found it absurd that priests weren't allowed to marry and thought that they should not only be allowed, but required to have a family. His basic issue, was that he couldn't see how someone could see to the spiritual development of a large group of people, if he didn't have the experience of caring for and raising one. Basically, he didn't approve of calling someone father, if they had never been one. It's not a bad point.

    September 13, 2011 at 10:12 am |
    • R

      Well all Voltaire had to do was go visit an Orthodox Christian church and realize that is exactly what Orthodox priests do: have a wife and family.

      September 13, 2011 at 10:33 am |
    • Alison

      That is an excellent point!

      September 13, 2011 at 10:34 am |
    • Sean

      A lot of priests can still be called Father because they were married and had families before they became priests. So, take that Voltaire! 🙂

      September 13, 2011 at 10:37 am |
    • BRC

      @R,
      I'm sure that he was aware of that, his criticisms were always directed at the branch of a religion he thought had the flaw. He had an especially long list of them for Catholicism.

      September 13, 2011 at 10:53 am |
  20. prophet

    this will not solve the problem as most are abusers before they become catholic clergy it just makes it easierr for them to do what they do and this is why the catholic clergy protect them so the vatican is a place for abusers sadly.

    September 13, 2011 at 10:03 am |
    • John Richardson

      It won't by itself CURE the problem, but it could dramatically change the population from which they are recruiting priests. It would like be a healthy improvement. Ordaining women would be an even more healthy improvement.

      September 13, 2011 at 10:07 am |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.