Melissa Iaria suggests the church should rid itself of celibacy:
The Catholic Church should get rid of celibacy as a way of preventing clergy from preying on children, an inquiry has been told.
Former clinical director of the Victorian Institute of Forensic Health, Professor Paul Mullen, says celibacy has no basis in theology and is just a form of discipline in the priesthood.
Prof Mullen added the issue is a financial one for the church.
“I’ve have heard a Catholic bishop say that the reason celibacy is maintained is that they could not afford to pay priests, they couldn’t afford to pay them pensions, they couldn’t afford to pay them enough if they had a wife and children,” he told the Victorian parliamentary inquiry on Friday.“This is entirely discipline and its main motivation is money.”
Prof Mullen said he was not sure what would spark the church to change.
But he said the problem of clergy preying on children would remain for as long as they are required to remain celibate.
He said for this reason, fewer people were joining the priesthood, leading some to be selected who were not cut out for it.
“As long as there are increasing numbers of priests who are not intellectually, culturally, socially of the highest calibre, let alone spiritually, you’ve just got to prevent them any access to children. Simple as that,” he said.
“There will come a point where financially, it is cheaper to have married priests than to keep on being sued.”