Tuesday, 11 August 2009

CROSBY, M: Rethinking Celibacy, Reclaiming the Church

In this courageous work Michael Crosby offers a trenchant analysis of mandatory celibacy in the Roman Catholic Church. He shows how the imposition of celibacy has now revealed a deeper issue: the abuse of power as well as the abuse of women and homosexuals in the Church. Crosby asserts that:

To argue that the present discipline of mandatory celibacy is based on the New Testament is a misuse of scripture:

  • Imposed celibacy continues to be used as a means of maintaining clerical control through fear and intimidation;
  • A religious system demanding celibacy exposes a deeper control: the abuse of power endemic throughout the system;
  • While difficult to live out even when freely chosen, enforced celibacy can result in dysfunctional behaviors at all levels.

Integrating his personal experience as a celibate and cleric with biblical exegesis, historical study and the behavioral sciences, Crosby believes that:

  • Healthy celibacy demands intimacy with God and others;
  • A healthy church will reorder its current power dynamics in a way that mitigates sexual abuse;
  • This will once again reveal Roman Catholicism to be a religion with an inspiring model of evangelical life and witness.

This updated revision of Crosby's award winning Celibacy: Means of Control or Mandate of the Heart? also addresses the abuse of power in the Catholic Church by those male, clerical celibates who control it. He convincingly points the way to a Church that will be - with all its ministers - healthier and holier.

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