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Buckley on the Catholic Church

April 06, 1993

William F. Buckley Jr. is rightly incensed over the sexual sins being committed by some Roman Catholic priests ("Where is the Pope on Pedophilia?" Commentary, March 24). I congratulate him for not being afraid to use the word sin to describe these crimes, for, according to both the Bible and official Roman Catholic doctrine, that is exactly what these crimes are.

From the Protestant perspective, however, sexual problems among priests must be attributed, in the main, to neglect of the Bible's teaching regarding sexual abstinence. Scripture is clear that sexual relations are reserved only for married heterosexuals. Sex is forbidden to all others due to the fact that the Bible permanently links the sexual act to the institution of marriage.

The difficulty arises because the Roman Catholic Church has, historically, extended the sexual ban (as a part of its marriage ban) to clergy, with no biblical warrant.

Sexually sinning Catholic priests cannot, of course, appeal to their vow of celibacy as even a partial defense for their actions. And we Protestants have had our own highly publicized problems in this area, of late. However, it must be said that official Roman Catholic abandonment of the Scripture's teaching regarding celibacy in favor of its own man-made tradition has contributed much to this problem by forcing those who do not possess the God-given gift of celibacy to practice it nonetheless. For this reason, I applaud the growing pressure on the Roman Catholic hierarchy to allow priests to marry.

RICHARD ZUELCH

Minister, Fellowship of

Grace Brethren Churches

Long Beach

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