Newcastle — I take exception to the Catholic idea that celibacy is a virtue. Celibacy is not a virtue; it is a choice, and, in my opinion, a rather silly one. I suppose the theory is that celibacy avoids preoccupation with “getting it on,” leaving one free to pursue more lofty goals. Perhaps, but nature prevails, always. If you want celibacy, you better go with eunuchs.
The Catholic Church has just elevated a new pontiff. He seems like a good chap, humble and aware of the manifest problems confronting his church. He has somewhat limited administrative experience, but that’s not really important. It seems nearly impossible to administer any large organization these days, so an unsullied attitude should be an asset. There’s a chance that his humility will sort out some of the difficulties, which are largely caused by excessive bureaucracy.
Pope Francis is a Jesuit and, according to Rev. Amafili in Umuahia (where?), will not be able to or even be moved to change the Catholic traditions of celibacy or the ban on ordination of women, both of which are medieval, sadly out-of-date in our dissipated, dissolute and debauched era. I used to think that such intransigence was simply a matter of the Pope’s being so old, and therefore, as any youth would agree, out-of-touch. But I am now as old as the Pope, and it ain’t that. It’s just stubborn adherence to tradition.
Celibacy; the idea is so quaint. Obviously the church is not keeping abreast of the rapid social changes applying to gender or sex. Most of us have gotten over the idea that women are in some way inferior, and that homosexuality is something to be recognized and accepted, right up to full equality, including marriage. In fact, as a very long article (which I advise you to avoid) in a recent New Yorker explains, we’ve moved beyond these questions to the emerging issue of transgender. According to the article: “Thousands of American adolescents are taking hormones that forestall puberty until they decide whether they want medical or surgical interventions to change their biological sex.” In light of this, the issue of “celibacy” seems rather innocent or irrelevant. “Hear, hear, Your Holiness, perhaps you’d be more comfortable as Mother Superior.” Let’s ask.
Celibacy indeed; thanks to the miracles of modern communication we have a new sexual issue to consider. One hears that adolescents are using their “smart” phones to share photographic evidence of their gender, whether or not they wish to change it. Let’s not get excited about this. It’s not important. Girls will be girls. You might rightly argue that this and the general freedom of email/internet communication leads to bullying? OK, it’s their choice. This is the legacy of the hand-held. This is what we must live with; this is the death of innocence. Where’s the celibacy app?
Personally I rue the omnipresence of the hand-held and would have preferred it had not been developed. It seems somehow to trivialize our lives. And now who’s old and stubborn?