The Bride Behind the Altar
Because of the Catholic Church’s strict views regarding celibacy, a priest who desires marriage and children only has two options: leaving the church or living in secret. The Church teaches that celibacy is a gift that not everyone possesses and that instead of marrying a woman, a priest marries the Church.
Lately many have been challenging this ancient tradition, asking what problems it would cause the church if priests were to marry. It seems to be an unfair imposition that might be at the root of many problems the church faces today. Many women have sent appeals to the Vatican requesting a change in the celibacy mandate. Yet the Vatican refuses to deal with the subject.
Celibacy is not a norm or rule established by the Gospel. Its originators believed that it would impose moral order and serve as a barrier to protect the church’s assets. A priest with a wife and children would be obligated to maintain them. Because of his full-time position with the church, he would not be able to go out and get another job. This would mean that the church would have to support all of them financially. Celibacy is the tool that is used to protect the Church’s money.
In spite of the ban on marriage, love affairs still occur. A number of priests end up falling in love with women in their congregations, establishing secret relationships with them, and even having children. In fact, the number of affairs that are going on and the number of children born as a result of those affairs are incalculable.
Those who defend celibacy claim that women fall in love with the priestly garbs and the status, but not necessarily with the person under the robe. This, of course, is debatable.
A group of women came together and decided to do something about this problem. They wanted to make it clear that falling in love is nothing to be ashamed of because it’s normal human behavior and it’s a beautiful thing. They wrote their stories, using their real names and sent it off to the Pope in the hopes that he would at least consider a change. The letter highlighted the fact that it was abusive to forbid a person from experiencing a deep, intimate relationship that includes love and sex. It was also a call for women to understand that they were not alone and that there was no need to believe the stereotypes and buy into the shame— this shame that is so strong and destructive.
Then there are the priests that actually decide to leave the priesthood and marry the women for whom they have fallen. One man shares how his life was threatened repeatedly and he feared for his well-being because if a bishop is willing to cover up for a pedophile, what other crimes would he willingly commit? Watch this now.