UN body condemns Church of Rome for protecting child abusers; is priestly celibacy a cause of the problem?

A report by the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child has condemned the Church of Rome for providing protection around the globe for thousands of priests who have allegedly committed sexual offenses against children.

This is only the latest of a regular round of revelations of endemic problems for the Church likely related to the practice of priestly celibacy – which is not a requirement in some other Christian denominations or other religions. Perhaps the Church should rethink the practice. Problems of celibacy for priests were raised by the former Roman Catholic Cardinal Archbishop of Edinburgh and St Andrews, Keith O’Brien,  when just before his retirement he raised the possibility that priests might be allowed to be married – an option that he never had. 

Interestingly the Vatican used the same technique with O’Brien, for which the UN report criticises the Church of Rome more generally – moving priests accused or suspected of sexual abuse to new charges. It moved him out of the country even though he wanted to retire to Dunbar.

Is this a matter for secularists? Yes, since the Church of Rome would seem to be providing cover for offenders who have broken the laws of numerous countries around the world.

For O’Brien’s views on priestly celibacy on the eve of his retirement visit


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