End celibacy to save the Catholic Church

The Catholic Church needs to heed the call of Bishops such as those in Brazil who have been calling for an end to celibacy for clergy men.

The past two weeks have been filled with so much news from across the globe that my seemingly incurable obsession with the Trump administration has been kept at bay.

I have managed to take a quick look each evening at CNN to see which countries have been affected by the “Make America Great Again” campaign, who is accusing Mr Trump of unpresidential behaviour and move on to other news channels for a wider perspective of global happenings.

However, the wider newscasts have not themselves been positive though a lot has happened. There is the collapsed bridge in Italy which led to the deaths of 43 persons. There is the death of Aretha Franklin which may have the angels in heaven in a joyous mood but which has left her family and fans with a deep void.

Kofi Annan’s death has been both sad and enlightening especially as I learn perspectives from my Rwandan friends and colleagues. As I read the local comments about Mr. Annan I felt ignorant and non-thinking.

For years I never knew as much as I learned within the first eight hours after news broke of his passing. Normally I would have used social media to comment on the passing of such a legendary figure but even to this moment I need more time to ponder on the varying perspectives and evaluate where my thoughts rest as it relates to the Kofi Annan legacy.

The Indonesian island of Lombok has been rocked by earthquakes and aftershocks which have left some people dead and others homeless, sad and heartbroken.

Wading through all this news and a bit more, the one which struck me the most is out of Pennsylvania USA and surrounds the Catholic church. Once again there is a scandal surrounding priests and children.

I am exhausted not just by the constant stories of priests and children but annoyed by the fact that nothing seems to change in this regard. Yes, there have been investigations, committees set up, charges filed, monies paid out and restitution being sought.

But the elephant in the room is still napping on a lounge chair and ignoring us all as we play our saxophones and loudly beat our drums.

Organizations are a fundamental part of the fibre of every society. The church, whether it be Catholic or Protestant are themselves organizations. One of the things organizations must do periodically is examine its policies to ensure they work to meet objectives.

As one of the wealthiest organizations on the planet, the Catholic church is a huge entity which does not seem to be reviewing and making necessary changes to its business practices. The review and actions taken thereafter must be done in a way which will ensure that its unverified but reported wealth of almost $200 billion is secured into the future.

Securing and growing the wealth of any organization means ensuring that objectives are met, current customers are satisfied and a path is set to grow the customer base long into the future.

It is unlikely that many of the purported 1.2 billion current members of the Catholic Church will leave due to scandals involving their priests. This has been happening for decades but membership has remained relatively stable.

New members to any organization though, need to feel comfortable and encouraged to become part of an institution in which they were jot socialized to be a part of. Problems for the Catholic church rests here.

How can any church expect to grow and attract new members if it is not effectively addressing an issue which is both moral and in some instances criminal? Forced celibacy is a problem: it is unnatural to ask and expect healthy men to live a life of celibacy especially in today’s world of openness and exposure.

It just will not work. It is the inability of these men of the cloth to live a life fulfilling natural needs which has fed this immoral behaviour plaguing the Church.

The Catholic Church needs to heed the call of Bishops such as those in Brazil who have been calling for an end to celibacy for clergy men. As the Guardian newspaper reported in November 2017, “There are far fewer men coming forward for ordination than it needs. In France the average age of the clergy is over 60; in Ireland Maynooth seminary, built to train 500 priests a year, this year had only six new entrants”.

Is this a sustainable way to run an organization? Change is hard in any organization but the indecency, immorality and pain caused by some lonely priests who have lost their way must propel the Catholic church to act.

The views expressed in this article are of the author.

ADVERTISEMENT