Saint Thomas Aquinas

Friday, May 8, 2009

Common Sense and Clerical Celibacy: A Response to Turretin Fan


It seems that it has not taken long for Turretin Fan to realize the statement he made was absurd, and he has drawn up a list to divert attention away from his statement which was "Yes, sexual abuse may be a real problem in Catholicism. It may even be the necessary and natural outworking of the celibate priesthood that Rome imposes."

I demonstrated that clerical celibacy does not cause sexual scandal. Now let me look at the Top Ten list that Turretin Fan put together, address his points one by one, and add a few recommendations of my own for Turretin Fan.

Turretin:
10) If you're going to cite statistics, don't cite statistics that actually show Roman Catholic sexual abuse at about twice the rate once one adjusts for the size of the population generating the abuse cases.

My Response:
If he had read the entire articles he would have noticed that no, it is not twice the cases per population. Either that or I know not what statistic he is talking about. The Fox News article says, "
Responding to heavy media scrutiny, the Catholic Church has reported that since 1950, 13,000 “credible accusations” have been brought against Catholic clerics (about 228 per year.) The fact that this number includes all credible accusations, not just those that have involved insurance companies, and still is less than the number of cases in Protestant churches reported by just three insurance companies, should be making front page of The New York Times and the network evening news. It’s not. The report is even more telling if we consider the plethora of independent or “store front” Protestant churches that don’t have insurance and whose numbers, therefore, certainly are not taken into I am comparing Protestant cases to Catholic cases in total."
So I am not sure what Turretin is talking about when he tells us that with an adjustment for population size, the Catholic Church has twice the number of cases. Recommendation #1: when stating a fact please cite your sources like I did.


Turretin:
9) If you're going to argue that celibacy is not imposed on the priesthood, don't make your leading argument that no one is forced to be a priest.

My Response:
As I have written in my first article, no one is forced to be a priest. It is a unique calling and a unique charism that must be discerned by the individual and the Church. So the idea that people are forced into being celibate is false, plain and simple. I also stated the fact that the Eastern Rites have married clergy and that the Latin Rite has made exceptions as well. The fact is, no man has ever been forced into priesthood. That means that if he has discerned correctly along with the Church, then he has been given the graces to live a holy life of celibacy. Turretin Fan claims in his video that the Catholic Church was thinking of changing this discipline, but once again never gives us a source to back up what he is saying. As far as I know, there is no official Church document or spoken announcement from the Vatican telling us that this will be changed.


Turretin:
8) Don't reveal your ignorance of Reformed churches by suggesting that their "clergy" are self-appointed.

My Response:
If they are not appointed by the Catholic or Orthodox Church through apostolic succession, then they are self-appointed, plain and simple. There is no divine precedence for the election of your 'pastors' or 'clergy'. If one is not ordained and given faculties by a bishop, then that one is self-appointed, or appointed by another self-appointed person. You eventually regress to someone during the Reformation era who rejected the Church and therefore has never been able to pass on an ordination legitimately. So yes, they are all self-appointed. They do not carry the unbroken line of the Gospel through the Church. They carry their own inbred heresies that originated sometime after the 'Reformation', or re-emerging heresies that the Church rejected long ago.

Turretin:
7) Don't ignore common sense, which tells you that people who are forbidden the option of marriage are more likely to have their sexual desire burst forth in some inappropriate way.

My Response:
It is common sense to see that they were never forbidden marriage, but chose the call to celibacy. Please do not deny the fact that people can and do choose to follow the charism that God has given them to live a celibate life. So no, they are not more likely to have a sexual outburst because of this. In fact even if they were not 'called' to this, that type of thinking comes directly from the Freudian view of sexuality. Turretin, you have bought into the modern fallacy that abstinence causes sexual deviancy. This is simply not true. Sex drives do not work as if some sort of pressure is building up which must be acted on. This is a lie of modernism. Priests are not forbidden marriage; they have given it up for the kingdom of God to serve Him more fully.

Turretin:
6) If you're going to quote Paul's writings about celibacy, remember that he actually confirms what we already know from common sense, namely that not everyone has the gift of celibacy, and that the result of not marrying for such people is that they burn with lust.

My Response:
I did quote Saint Paul and I do recognize that those who burned with lust were not called to celibacy. Recommendation #2 for Turretin: read all of a post before chastising your opponent for not referencing something that he indeed referenced. As I stated already, those who discern a calling to the priesthood properly do have the gift of celibacy; Turretin, you have not brought forth any evidence to suggest otherwise. Remember we are not arguing whether there are people who are priests who should not be (homosexuals, etc), we are arguing whether or not celibacy is the cause of the deviation. These are two completely different subjects; but Turretin, you insist on conflating the two to obscure the fact that you made a bad choice of words in your previous post, stating, "Yes, sexual abuse may be a real problem in Catholicism. It may even be the necessary and natural outworking of the celibate priesthood that Rome imposes." No, it is not the natural outworking of clerical celibacy, this has been proven to be wrong. Where are your sources for making such a statement? You did not cite one. See Recommendation #1.


Turretin:
5) If you are going to pick a fight with someone on the issue of clerical celibacy and sexual abuse, find one of the many folks who assert that there is a connection, rather than one who asserts that there may be.

My Response:
No, there is not even a chance that there may be. Someone who is called to live as a celibate priest has no greater chance of committing sexual deviancy than any other person. If someone becomes a priest who should not be, like a homosexual who can't help himself from acting out, then celibacy is obviously not the cause of it, nor the celibate nature of the priesthood. The person would act out whether he were a priest or not. The cause of it would not be celibacy, but a sexual problem that the person had before. Are you implying that all of the priests who committed these scandals developed them because of their celibacy? No, celibacy does not cause any of this.

Turretin:
4) If someone points out that one cause of sexual abuse is clerical celibacy, don't assume that this means that the critic thinks that marriage fixes all sexual deviancy.

My response:
I was merely pointing out the fact that those committing these atrocities would not be miraculously cured by marriage. I never used the word 'all'. The fact is, one's state in life, whether he be celibate or sexually active in marriage, has no bearing on whether or not he will commit sexual abuse.

Turretin:
3) If someone points out that one cause of sexual abuse is clerical celibacy, don't assume that this means that the critic thinks that it is celibacy itself (rather than an absence of the gift of celibacy) that causes this problem.

My Response:
I never assumed anything. I merely read what you wrote and that was, "Yes, sexual abuse may be a real problem in Catholicism. It may even be the necessary and natural outworking of the celibate priesthood that Rome imposes." You never mentioned anything of the sort referring to the absence of any gift, did you? No, you only mentioned clerical celibacy itself, did you not? Recommendation #3: when making such grave statements regarding scandal, be clear as to what your accusations are. You are indeed a master of leaving yourself loopholes in language to try and slither out of bad arguments. Try writing in a direct manner for a change. Your sentence plainly suggests that the imposed celibate priesthood itself is the cause of the problem, not a problem of men becoming priests who should not be, who have not the call or gift of celibacy.

Turretin:
2) If you are going to bring up the issue of sexual deviance, don't forget that prohibiting marriage for priests is intuitively a way to statistically increase your chances of attracting closeted homosexuals.

My Response:
No, again, those who discern that they are to be priests have already decided that marriage was not their vocation and that they are called to be celibate. As far as the priesthood attracting homosexuals, there is no doubt that there are priests who are homosexual who should not be priests. There have been conflicting studies on the percentage of priests who are homosexual and many honest sources tell that it is impossible to come up with any accurate number. For example, Time Magazine estimates range from 15% to 50%, and according to Bill Blakemore of ABC News, "...nobody knows what percentage of the American priesthood is gay; estimates range from less than 10% to more than 30%." I would say that any amount is too many, but the point must also be made that just because someone has those sexual tendencies does not make him an automatic sexual abuser. They may be more likely to do so, but again we are not arguing this matter. I would have to see real statistics to comment with any accuracy on this subject. Are there men who are priests who should not be? I think we can all agree that yes is the answer. Is the fact that priests in the Latin Rite are called to be celibate a cause of sexual abuse? Again, the answer is no.

Turretin:
1) Recognize that sexual abuse is a scandal, not something to be treated frivolously with cartoon clowns and empty-headed rhetoric. Take the matter seriously, it's a serious matter

My Response:
I do recognize that it is a scandal. The cartoon as you can tell refers to you and the remarks that you make about the Catholic Church without any reference to facts or sources. The matter is taken seriously by me and I do not appreciate jerks like you who use any opportunity to slander the Catholic Church and her priesthood. I have many priests whom I consider to be good friends, and if you ever attacked them with such outrageous, asinine comments in front of me it would not be a pretty sight. Be very careful before you ever, ever make an accusation against the Catholic Church or her priests in any forum that I have access to.

You have implied something that is simply not true. You said "Yes, sexual abuse may be a real problem in Catholicism. It may even be the necessary and natural outworking of the celibate priesthood that Rome imposes." You show everyone who reads your articles that you have no respect for the Catholic Church, and no respect for Catholic priests. You made a statement that is not true, and then you wrote a series of side arguments to draw attention away from your false statement which implies that the priesthood itself is the cause of sexual molestations, because of celibacy, not because there are priests who should not be priests. I take this subject very seriously; it is you who who I think is the clown. An apology from you would be in order here, since you implied something that is simply not true. If you intended to state something further to clarify what you were implying, then it is pure negligence on your part to leave an ambiguous comment like this one on your website. Either way, you owe Catholics an apology. You are always talking about honesty and admitting when you are wrong, well here is your chance. You stated plainly, "Yes, sexual abuse may be a real problem in Catholicism. It may even be the necessary and natural outworking of the celibate priesthood that Rome imposes." You said nothing of an absence of any gift of celibacy, you only stated, that sexual abuse was the result of imposed clerical celibacy. You sir are either a liar trying to back step or you were negligent in your statement and did not clarify further what you intended to say. You are either incompetent or a deceiver, which will it be?

7 comments:

Alex said...

First off, in addressing point 1, I would also say that while he attacked Matt for using a cartoon clown because this is a serious issue, why did he likewise make the video that he did? I found the video to be clever, but also strange, weird and disturbing.

I have not read through the entire articles Matt has provided, but as Matt pointed out in his response it seems that Turretinfan has not either. Matt has quoted and cited his sources; if and until Turretinfan is able to do the same he has only given us empty arguments.

As Matt has pointed out, within the calling to the priesthood, the man called is also provided with the gifts required to be a good priest, and as such, celibacy is one of them. Therefore, the priest who violates celibacy did not properly discern his vocation, was not properly vetted, or chose to violate his gift. It might even be argued that upon ordination the priest is infused with the grace to be obedient to what the Church requires. It is therefore entirely the fault of the individual who violates celibacy and not the fault of the Church’s directives. I’m leaning towards this last argument, but I’m not an expert on theology and the sacraments.

Matt pointed out (very well) the incorrect modernist view that sexuality must be acted upon which is the basis of Turretinfan’s argument. I would like to ask Turretin this question; are you married? If you are not married then should we be concerned that you are a child predator?

“Don't ignore common sense, which tells you that people who are forbidden the option of marriage are more likely to have their sexual desire burst forth in some inappropriate way.”

By writing this sentence, Turretinfan has confirmed his underlying premise: priestly celibacy more likely leads to sexual deviancy. As Turretinfan’s logic would lead us to believe: for pedophiles found amongst the Catholic clergy, their fault is not found in solely their having a disordered view on human sexuality, but the fault more likely lies in the imposition of celibacy. In this view celibacy can take a heterosexual man, and can turn him into a sexual deviant. In that case, we should all be concerned about the unmarried, whether they are the elderly, teenagers or just plain too damn ugly to find a mate. As a society we should just quarantine these people until they are married because “common sense” tells us that they are more likely to act out.

As Turretinfan’s argument suggests, before I was married I was more likely to have my sexual desire burst forth in some inappropriate way because I was forbidden at that particular moment the appropriate expression of my sexuality. The fact that I was unable to have coition with my spouse would lead me to divert my healthy desires for heterosexuality to ones aimed at possibly raping children or sexually abusing an animal, etc. If this were all true then I feel sorry for all those ugly people who cannot find anyone interested in them. We must round them all up now. Their ugliness has forbidden them the option of marriage, and as such they tend to become pedophiles, or at least this is the logic of Turretinfan.

Turretinfan’s problem is that he sees a necessary correlation between imposed celibacy and sexual deviancy. There is a dictum I need to draw Turretinfan’s attention to: “correlation does not imply causation.” In fact, because we find many, many, many married people who have disordered tendencies in their sexuality it is not even common sense to assert that celibacy is any more of a coefficient in sexual deviancy than marriage.

Turretinfan is roundly mistaken in his opinion. He has not provided us with logically sound arguments. Instead, he has made anyone who is currently not able to naturally and morally express their sexuality a suspect for sexual deviancy.

A better coefficient would be access to children in trusted environments. Pedophiles are known to seek out environments where they have greater access and trust of those who they violate, and it is this reason why we find pedophilia in the protestant clergy, teachers, coaches, etc. Celibacy does not lead one to become a pedophile. That is just plain unsubstantiated nonsense.

The Puritan said...

Pedophilia is institutional in the Roman Catholic Church. It is protected. Only when it is exposed to such a degree that the Roman Catholic Church can't weather the storm and go back to their old practices do they affect to do something about it.

The devil is *driven* to *defile innocence.* The devil's children and church follow him in that *fierce lust.*

Now it is high time to awake out of sleep. Rom. 13:11

Alex said...

Puritan, I can't find your assertion in the Catechism or any other offical document so please show me where it is written that it is institutional and protected. On the other hand I do find documents condemning it as sinful.

If this is your best reply to Matt's arguments I'm not impressed at all, and I doubt that any reasonable person would agree with you.

The Puritan said...

I didn't see anything in Bernie Maddoff's investor's newsletter announcing to them that he was running a ponzi scheme either.

Criminal activity tends to not want to announce itself.

The Puritan said...

The clerical hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church has been found to be covering up for pedophile priests. That is institutional activity.

Sympathy for the devil runs deep in fallen, unregenerate man. No amount of evidence will turn a fallen, unregenerate Roman Catholic against their clerics and the institution they belong to.

Only the Word of God and the Holy Spirit can awaken Roman Catholics and give them discernment to see darkness and light. Engage the Word of God humbly and completely.

Alex said...

Puritan the "institution" does not condone pedophilia. A very small minority was complacent with how they dealt with pedophilic priests, but this is hardly “institutional.” By stating that it is “institutional” you are making sweeping accusations against the entire Church that Jesus himself established. Instead of singling out those who are responsible (and they should be held responsible), you are condemning the entire body without justifiable proof. I should not be too surprised at this given your moniker “Puritan.” Your accusations are nothing more than logical fallacies wrapped up in symbolic witch hunting.

The Puritan said...

Alex, for God's sake just read the Bible humbly and complete. Everything else is vanity and illusion and defending the indefensible.