After reports in Ireland and Germany were published declaring decades-old cases of priestly sexual abuse, an array of articles, surveys and talk-show discussions focused on the need for the Catholic Church to end the celibacy requirement for priests. The implication, of course, is that more heterosexuals, and fewer homosexuals, would therefore be drawn to the priesthood, thus alleviating the problem.
The reason is sound: as we have seen from several studies—including the one recently released by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops—80 percent of the victims are male. Just as important, the majority of the victims are post-pubescent. In other words, we are talking about homosexuality, not pedophilia.
Those who fancy themselves progressive would never, of course, say there is a homosexual link to priestly sexual abuse. But they know it to be true in their heart of hearts. For example, no one seriously believes that pedophiles would be inclined to marry if celibacy were lifted—they are not interested in adults. But surely homosexuals would find the seminaries and parishes less attractive if most of the men were married.
So as not to be misunderstood, it is nonsense to say that homosexuality causes sexual abuse. Moreover, it is both untrue, and unfair, to say that most gay priests are molesters. They are not. But it is also true that most of the molesters are gay.
Is this not the unstated predicate of progressives pushing for an end to celibacy? Why else recommend doing away with it?
In short, the only difference between most progressives and most conservatives on this issue is that the latter are not afraid to identify the elephant in the room.