The present Pope Francis has been under severe criticism right through the first year of his Pontificate for not tackling the pedophile priests matter more thoroughly. Like his predecessor Pope Benedict XVI who did nothing much about it (though there are claims of 400 priests being defrocked by him in 2011 & 2012), this scandal refuses to go away. It has now turned global in nature as cases once restricted to just Ireland and the US have begun to explode all over Europe and beyond especially in the years 2011 & 12 which forced Pope Benedict to do something about it. Often referred to as a disease, but more accurately termed as sin, the time has come no doubt for a spiritual spring-cleaning within. The magnitude of the problem has for the first time caused a secular body like the UN to rap the Vatican on its knuckles as it were, using harsh language such as “kick out those who abuse children“.
Pope Francis for the first time apologized publicly for the sins of his errant priests worldwide, in a public news release by CNN on Friday 11th April, 2014, a noble gesture in keeping with his humble image of a benevolent pope of action. However, will this solve the real problem of sexual frustration among the clergy so clearly evident by these episodes. Besides pedophilia, another issue is the homosexual priests that are also rampant worldwide. In the year 2000 it was reported that Catholic priests were dying all over the US from AIDS and often in silence as it could not be announced. Death certificates were often fudged to the hide the reason for death according to this report. It is one thing to apologize and clear up the cobwebs from within the closets, and yes, removal of such errant priest are a must, but will it solve the problem of sexual sin that is prevalent within all men. Could the Scripture wherein the Lord states that it is not good for man to be alone, have a bearing on all these above problems. That a priest should be celibate is certainly not a biblical mandate and is nowhere to be found in sacred scripture.
In February of this year, Pope Francis gave permission for a married Maronite Catholic Deacon to become a priest. We know that as a rule Catholic priests are not allowed to marry, but evidently once married, they can still be ordained to the priesthood. This could well be a right step for the future of our Catholic priests and will most certainly have the advantage of meeting the deep sexual needs of a man.