I scarcely ever read the editorially dirigiste centre pages of my terrible/excellent morning paper but there’s an op-ed this morning by Peter Stanford, “The Vatican should abolish priestly celibacy”, of which I thoroughly approve.
Except it doesn’t go anywhere near far enough. Because Stanford is a part editor of the Catholic Herald he is diplomatic throughout, and takes a long-distance view of the Catholic Church aad how celibacy developed. H actually hangs his story on the penultimate Pope — John Paul II — and his relationship with Anna Teresa Tymieniecka, a married lady who was the translator of one of his books. Stanford doesn’t mention it but, apparently, they actually went on a camping holiday together ! He met her when he was a cardinal. Anyway, then and since, they exchanged many letters and his to her have turned up recently. They make them “more than friends, less then lovers”. Her letters to him still exist under lock and key and would make more interesting reading because she is said to have been passionately in love with him.
It rests on this sort of case that Stanford says priests should be allowed to marry. Apparently some surveys say that anything up to 50% of priests are still sexually active. But what about the thousands of North American and Irish Catholic priests who’ve been paedophiles? Any normal person would suggests that if these thousands had been married then a great deal fewer young people’s lives would have been ruined with lifelong guilt and disruption. It’s about time Pope Francis comes out and said this.