Tuesday, April 15, 2008


So, friends, the Pope arrives today. Big news. Sad, though, isn't it, that we have to put the earthly representative of the Prince of Peace behind bullet-proof glass?

I've heard that some people want him to apologize (again?) for those naughty priests who couldn't keep their hands under their own cassocks. Okay, but I think there's bigger work to be done, addressing the whole issue of the church's insistence on priestly celibacy--which, as I see it, is at the root of the sexual abuse problem. To require them to surrender so vital a part of their humanity seems, well, inhuman. Not to mention unrealistic. Come to think of it, is it not time to revisit the concept of sin, guilt, hell, and eternal damnation? The simple Buddhist injunction to "do no harm" seems to me so much more comprehensive, so much healthier, so much more human...

Oh, and while he's at it, if the Pope wants to do some really useful, really urgent, really world-changing, would it not be appropriate and laudable if he were to seriously revisit the church's attitude toward contraception in his United Nations homily? That, of course, would be a miracle--but surely one within his papal powers.


robin andrea said...

Everything you say here is completely sensible and necessary. However, it is also incredibly unlikely that it would ever happen. It's a shame, isn't it.

thailandchani said...

Yes, it is completely sensible and I agree that it's unlikely to happen.

I like "do no harm" and "as it harm none, do as ye will" as a fundamental principle for living.

They call him James Ure said...

I agree. Celibacy is not wise in my opinion and simply causes natural sexual desire to seep out in more deviant ways.

G said...

Celibacy is a central part of the history of both Christianity & Buddhism. Sure, it wasn't made compulsory for Catholic priests to be celibate for around a thousand years after the life of Christ, but Jesus himself is believed to have been celibate, as was St. Paul who promoted celibacy as the superior attitude towards sexuality.

The problem isn't that celibacy is somehow 'wrong', but that the priests that have (and are) indulging in deviant acts haven't had the training necessary to make it a successful enterprise. (Some of these men would be pedophiles whether priests or not, of course.)

Buddhism supplies its celibate monks with many guidelines and techniques for dealing with, and understanding, the celibate life. Not all of them follow these guidelines, and fail to let go of their sexual impulses. These men shouldn't be monks in the first place, of course.

Some of the most 'with it' people I've met in this life have been celibate: Ajahn Sumedho comes to mind, as do many of the senior (and not so senior) bhikkhus in the Western Forest Sangha. They don't seem to be 'deviant' in any way!

Must admit, as self-professed Buddhists, I was somewhat taken aback by your attitudes to celibacy, Peter & James! Still, as neither of you are intending to be monks in the near future, I guess it doesn't really matter.

Be well in the Dharma,