It’s one thing to be an atheist and pin the blame on celibacy for the priest scandal, which is exactly what the New Atheists did. And so did an Australian Royal Commission, which published a massive report on sexual abuse last December. In this video, I document how so many of the headlines on the Australian report blamed celibacy and identified the Catholic Church as “the worst offender.”
But what a great mind-boggler it is when a professed Catholic like Damon Linker does the same. Linker just recently announced that he is leaving the Church because of the scandal. But when he wrote The Theocons, he still claimed membership in the Church. I quoted him from that book in my own book, The Immoral Landscape of the New Atheism (p. 18):
“The fact that priests were accused of sexually abusing (usually male) children and teenagers— as opposed to, say, embezzling from church coffers— seemed to point directly to a problem in the church’s teachings and practices regarding sex,” (p.197). Later, he [Linker] refers to the “monstrous psychological consequences of mandatory celibacy,” (p. 201). [Quotes taken from The Theocons.]
Certainly sexual abuse points to bad teaching and practice regarding sex, as Linker stated in his book. But it wasn’t the
Church’s teachings! As I argued in The Immoral Landscape, the priests who committed these demonic acts were not following any of the Church’s teachings on sex. No longer disciples of Christ, these priests had become the disciples of Sigmund Freud and the sexual revolution.
When Linker spoke of “the monstrous psychological consequences of mandatory celibacy,” he showed that the seeds of his eventual apostasy had already been sown back in 2006 when he was still officially identifying as Catholic. Too bad he didn’t read my book—or this article I wrote for The Stream.
In my recent interview with Carrie Abbott, I raised the question whether any Christian—even protestants— could criticize celibacy since Jesus praised it in Mt. 19 and St. Paul did in 1Cor7:
Source: Carrie Abbott Relationship Insights
This is important for all Christians to bear in mind when they think and talk about the priest abuse scandal.
If you are tempted to blame celibacy for the scandal, as so many are doing right now, think about the implications. If celibacy is as psychologically harmful as has been argued, what could that mean for the divinity of Christ? How can Christ really be God, the creator of the universe and of everything else, if his teachings reveal an ignorance about human nature and human psychology? Christ could not possibly be the designer of the human person and the human mind if his doctrines show him to be ignorant of human nature and psychology. End of story.
God cannot be ignorant about human nature—it’s that simple. If the Bible’s teachings are in error about human nature and human sexuality, then such a fact would have to count as a very strong argument against the divine origin of the the Bible—it just couldn’t be the word of God if it gets human nature and psychology wrong.
Important things for Christians to think about!
The brief video below shows how the sexual abuse epidemic in the world is being exploited by the media to attack the Church’s teachings and credibility.