Nearly every creature has an instinctive sexual drive. This applies from earth worms to human beings. The dogma of the Catholic Church that prohibits the instinctual drive of priests and nuns to have heterosexual relationships leads to abuse of children and post-pubescent youths, as well as homosexual relationships among the Catholic clergy.
The majority of Catholic priests and nuns do succeed in suppressing their normal sexual desires through devotion to their faith, and they do not engage in sexual contact with each other, children or adult parishioners. The number of deviants from their vows of celibacy is obviously significant and has resulted in huge financial and moral issues in the Catholic Church.
The declaration by the Cardinal Wilfred Fox Napier, Cardinal of South Africa, that pedophilia is a disease and not a crime is one more attempt to justify the actions of priests that sin against the youth of the church.
His statement was based upon the thought that most of the priests that had committed pedophilia had been victims of pedophilia as children. Cardinal Napier made the original statement on March 16, 2013 and recanted it today, March 18, 2013. You can find the full text of this statement by Cardinal Napier at http://www.christianpost.com/news/south-african-cardinal-apologizes-for-pedophiles-not-criminally-responsible-remarks-92074.
In an interview on August 29, 2012 with the National Catholic Register, Father Benedict Groeschel, of the conservative Franciscan Friars of the Renewal, said that teens were seducing the priests in some sexual abuse cases. He also stated that
“most of these "relationships" are heterosexual in nature, and that historically sexual relationships between men and boys have not been thought of as crimes.”
National Catholic Register took down the interview and Father Groeschel offered this statement:
"I apologize for my comments. I did not intend to blame the victim. A priest (or anyone else) who abuses a minor is always wrong and is always responsible."
Stephen J. Rossetti, a priest and licensed psychologist that has advised the US bishops, published a book, A Tragic Grace: The Catholic Church and Child Sexual Abuse (Collegeville, Minn.: Liturgical Press, 1996).
In this book, Father Rossetti provides a distinction between priests that molest young children (pedophiles) and those that molest post-pubescent youths (ephebophiles). Most priests that sexually abuse children and young adults are ephebophiles, not pedophiles. The victims are victims however the priests are labeled.
Because homosexuality is no longer recognized as an official disease by the American Psychiatric Association, the term ephebophiles is not recognized as a common term. Ephebophiles are sexually attracted to post-pubescent youths. Pedophiles are classified as those attracted to children 13 years of age or younger.
The following excerpts are from that book:
“The vast majority of clerical sexual molesters have been involved with post-pubescent youths, generally age 14 years and over. Other things being equal, they are, Rossetti says (88), “more amenable to treatment,” for they can learn to “develop satisfying relationships with age-appropriate peers.”
“In other words, clerics who have engaged in criminal sexual behavior with adolescent boys and young men can learn to satisfy themselves with consenting adult males, because that change in their behavior involves no change in their sexual orientation.”
“Such clerics simply are homosexuals who have found underage partners attractive and convenient. But unlike most homosexuals, these clerics have been willing to commit crimes against adolescents and young men.”
The Catholic Church needs to recognize basic human sexual needs and permit priests and nuns to engage in heterosexual relationships if that is what they seek. For those in the clergy that can successfully maintain celibacy, they will continue to follow this vocation.
In additional to the tremendous moral and financial burden caused by errant clergy performing sexual acts, the number of priests and nuns willing to sacrifice their natural sexual desires to the requirement for celibacy has dwindled the number of those committing to become priests or nuns down to critical levels.
It is a perverse view of human sexuality to declare that sexually relationships deter from the ability of priests and nuns to serve God. God created us as sexual beings. What happened to the idea that God does not make mistakes?
Based upon the limited statements of Pope Francis I, there is an infinitesimally small probability that the celibacy requirement for priests and nuns will be eliminated. We can then conclude that many priests and nuns will continue to engage in sexual acts because they are ultimately human beings with sexual desires.
This is another example of the dangers of religious dogma being placed above humanity and spiritual fulfillment. The majority of priests and nuns are able to live fulfilled lives in the clergy despite the requirement for celibacy. Those that cannot maintain celibacy cause great suffering and pain because they are merely being human beings. It is time to allow priests and nuns that want to enter into marriage be allowed to do so.