The Catholic church has just experienced another major fiasco with regard to priests sexually abusing children. The idea that priests cannot marry is in direct conflict with the sexual impulses programmed into every human being by the Creator. In the end, this denial of sexuality of priests leads to ephebophilia which is sex with predominately post-puberty males between the ages of ~14 and 19, and with homosexual relationships among the priests. Ephebophilia can also involve young females in a similar age range. Few priests are actually pedophiles, but that is the common term used for sex with young males instead of the clinical term of ephebophilia.
The denial of marriage to priests did not exist until the Second Lateran Council held in 1139 established the rule of celibacy for priests. It could be noted that marriage does not always end celibacy, but the Church does not account for that. With no legitimate outlet provided for sexual desires, priests must either deny the sexuality that the Creator provided or find other avenues than marriage to fulfill these desires.
Another alternative to fulfill sexual release would be masturbation. The organization Quora provides the following answer to why priests are not supposed to masturbate. This prohibition blocks another alternative to sexual contact with minors, as well as consorting with parishioners and other priests.
Masturbation is a mortal sin* in the Catholic Church because it is done for yourself and cannot lead to conception. This is because sex, according to Catholic teaching, must be between a married couple. It should be “unitive” and “creative”. “Unitive” means it brings them together. “Creative” doesn’t mean interesting sex positions, but that all sex should have the potential for conception (not contraception).
While the priests get most of the bad press, the nuns in convents also have to address their lack of access to normal sexuality. A former nun helped write a book about sexuality in convents. It was a major success but deeply criticized by the Catholic Church. The LA Times did an article on sexuality in convents in 1985.
Manahan and 50 other former and current nuns declare in a new book, “Lesbian Nuns: Breaking Silence” (Naiad Press: $9.95), that not only did they cultivate special relationships in their religious communities, but that those friendships sometimes turned into love affairs.
“Even the heterosexual sisters who have come forth (in response to the book) have been very grateful for the book, although they do want it made clear that most nuns are celibate and honor their vows,” Manahan said during an appearance Saturday at an Albuquerque bookstore.
“At least 10% of religious sisters are gay. As well as 10% of the congregation or population they minister to. So it really would behoove religious communities to deal with their homophobia,” she added. (Curb guessed that the percentage of gay women in convents might, in fact, be higher than the 10% figure often ascribed to the general population. Many of her peers were attracted to the convent as an alternative to unwanted marriage, she said, without necessarily knowing at the time they were homosexual.)
Unless and until the Catholic Church recognizes that sexuality is a natural emotional and physiological requirement for priests and nuns, there will be continued scandals involving priests with teenagers, lesbian nuns, and homosexuality among the priesthood. The Church’s attempt to cover up these issues adds to the disenchantment of the public and the members of the Church.
The Church must recognize the normalcy of sexuality among its clergy, and provide for relationships that allow expression of sexuality within normal boundaries. Otherwise, the scandals will continue and the membership will diminish in the priesthood, the nuns, and in the Church itself. God made us sexual and the Church must either change its rules on marriage or expel those that cannot deny their sexuality.