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July 20, 2003 | Rachel Zoll, Associated Press Writer
Tom McMahon lived with the woman he called his wife and their sons 10 miles from where he worked in Northern California. But he hoped his boss would never find out: McMahon was a Roman Catholic priest, torn between his calling, which required celibacy, and his family. He forwarded the rectory phone to a special line at his house in case parishioners called. When one of his sons, still a toddler, attended a church event, McMahon held the boy as if he were someone else's child.
June 16, 2003 | Mary Colbert, Special to the Times
The relationship between movies and film festivals is like dating. They look each other over, and occasionally there is great chemistry. Such was the case when the provocative Irish feature "Conspiracy of Silence" connected with the Taormina Film Festival, Italy's second-largest film event. It was an instant love match that sent sparks flying all the way to the Vatican.
February 22, 2003 | From Times Wire Reports
About half of all Catholic priests who leave the priesthood do so because they are in love with a woman or can no longer live a celibate life, a Catholic University researcher said. The study by prominent sociologist Dean Hoge draws from research in his new book, "The First Five Years of the Priesthood." Hoge found that of those priests who leave, between 20% and 30% do so because they have fallen in love with a woman.
June 16, 2002
Patrick Scully claims that women priests, women bishops and an end to celibacy have nothing to do with the current scandal (letter, June 12). Nothing could be further from the truth. If God had never instilled within us the need for sexual expression, the human race would not have lived long enough to leave the caves. It is both the minimal socializing with women on an intimate level and celibacy that are at the very root of the current scandal. By suppressing the natural, human need for sexual expression the church is also suppressing the human spirit.
May 26, 2002
Re "Gay Priests Say It's Harder Now to Tell the Truth," May 22: The term "gay priest" is an oxymoron. Having taken the vow of celibacy, the sexual orientation of an individual in this vocation is irrelevant. Followers of Christ are expected to lead chaste lives in whatever state of life they choose. The statement that men sometimes enter the priesthood to avoid explaining their single life is nonsense. "Cradle Catholics" were taught that there were three vocations to choose: the religious, married and "single blessedness in the world."
April 22, 2002
Requiring a vow of celibacy serves as an unintended invitation to deviant sexual behavior. Most young people experience heterosexual urges, which society designates as normal. The smaller percentage of youngsters whose sexual urges deviate from that norm experience internal conflict. They wish they experienced the same impulses as their peers, but the God-given impulses dominate. A vow of celibacy resolves that internal conflict. But it does not guarantee elimination of the socially condemned, God-given sexual urges.
Pope John Paul II on Saturday strongly upheld the rule that Roman Catholic priests must lead celibate lives. He ordered bishops to "diligently investigate" charges of sexual misbehavior by clergymen and take "firm steps to correct it." John Paul did not mention the American clergy. But his remarks, made to Nigerian bishops visiting the Vatican, were his most direct on the subject since clerical sex abuse scandals began shaking the church in the United States early this year.
The sexual-abuse scandal rocking the Roman Catholic Church in the U.S. has prompted calls for reforms that often blame the crisis on a single issue: Celibacy. Or homosexuality. Or secrecy. Or imperious bishops. But what has made this scandal more intense and prolonged than its predecessors is the complex way each of these issues interlock.
April 8, 2002
So, Cardinal Roger Mahony said once again that there's no correlation between celibacy and child abuse ("Mahony Says Victims' Requests Led to Secrecy," April 3). If there are not many research studies made, it is because there has not been any interest placed on the issue. When we look at the inmate population in state prisons, one can see that the incidence of rapes and sexual abuse among inmates is very high. "Kandahar's Lightly Veiled Homosexual Habits" (April 3) further proves this misconception.
April 7, 2002 | TERRANCE SWEENEY, Terrance Sweeney, a former Jesuit priest, is the author of "A Church Divided," and "What God Hath Joined."
As the number of accusations of sexual abuse of minors by priests has grown, officials of the Roman Catholic Church have been forced, under the glare of public scrutiny, to confront the problems plaguing the priesthood. Unfortunately, they're unlikely to get to one of the principal roots of the problem: the church's mandatory requirement of celibacy. For priests who love their ministry but do not feel called to live a celibate life, the celibacy discipline is a continual torment, requiring them to sacrifice their desires for intimacy, marriage and fatherhood.
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