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Keeping the VowThe Untold Story of Married Catholic Priests$
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D. Paul Sullins

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780199860043

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199860043.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 22 January 2022

Why Clergy Celibacy?

Why Clergy Celibacy?

(p.189) 8 Why Clergy Celibacy?
Keeping the Vow

D. Paul Sullins

Oxford University Press

This chapter considers the often overlooked institutional argument for clergy celibacy by examining the social and institutional advantages and disadvantages of the practices of clergy marriage and celibacy. Married priests are more constrained in their mobility and relationships with parishioners, but may have more empathy with married parishioners. While the myth that celibate clergy are more prone to sex abuse is not true, they are more likely to develop homosexual subcultures and abuse, and to have a totalizing experience of life in the Church that may distance them from their parishioners. On the other hand, clergy celibacy, by preventing any heritability of the priestly profession, promotes ongoing institutional renewal and has been a rationalizing social force in Western culture. As a celibate minority, Catholic priests highlight the value of marriage for most people, just as a minority of married Catholic priests may highlight the value of celibacy for most priests.

Keywords:   Catholicism, clergy celibacy, church history, homosexual, sex abuse

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