- Special Sections
- Public Notices
This letter addresses columnist Gerald Largen’s unwelcomed attack on the authority of the Catholic Church to establish behavioral expectations for its members. His question “How far should we defer to priests’ decisions?” is inappropriate on several levels.
First, members of the Roman Catholic Church should, in my opinion, at least attempt to follow the tenets of their professed faith, and should be free to do so, unencumbered by laws enacted to force the church or its members to support practices that violate these tenets.
Second, it is not priests decisions that are at issue, but the rulings of the church leadership, which are established through the collective wisdom of the Vatican, the Council of Cardinals, and Catholic Bishops worldwide, guided by Sacred Scriptures and Christian traditions.
As for priests’ or the Church’s authority to speak about sexual behavior, I remind Mr. Largen that the Apostle Paul makes it clear in his writings that he led a celibate life as well.
It seems perfectly reasonable to me to pay heed to moral guidance from those who, by being detached from certain behaviors, might have a more objective view of the consequences of such behaviors.
In fact, Paul says in First Corinthians (7:32) “An unmarried man is anxious about the things of the Lord, how he may please the Lord. But a married man is anxious about the things of the world, how he may please his wife.”
If priests’ celibacy makes them unqualified to comment on the sexual behavior of their parishioners, then perhaps Mr. Largen would like to help us identify those parts of the Bible attributed to similarly unqualified persons.
I do not disagree with all that Mr. Largen had to say about this subject, but his final comments regarding scandals that have rocked the Church do deserve a rebuttal. Priests are human, and flawed, as are we all.
The vast majority are good and holy men, but regrettably some are not. I believe that a small minority of the ministers of all faiths and creeds occasionally stray from the straight and narrow, and even commit heinous crimes.
We are all sinners.