Catholic clergy are faced with two temptations: They are authority figures, and persons of trust, for the members of their congregations, and as such have access to vulnerable and trusting people, especially children, and they are eternally horny since they are meant to live in celibacy.In essence, they want some, and have opportunity to get some.
Emotional and psychosexual maturity does not come with age, it comes with experience.And because Catholic clergy are not meant to have sexual experiences, a lot of them do not acquire psychosexual maturity.I will come back to this in a moment.
The Catholic Church introduced the concept of celibacy for its clergy step by step .Peter, the first Pope, was a married man, and women were around at early eucharistic meals.The Council of Elvira in 306 CE decreed that clergy who slept with their wifes before mass were to lose their job, sexual abuse was documented at the Council of Ancyra in 315 CE(The Council of Ancyra demanded strict penalties: solitary confinement, fasts, isolation and supervision for any cleric caught having sex with a minor).In 401, St Augustine wrote “Nothing is so powerful in drawing the spirit of a man downwards as the caresses of a woman.”
Celibacy was finally made into church law in 1074 and was then cemented in the Second Lateran Council of 1139(The first Lateran Council in 1123 had already declared all priestly marriages invalid). Pope Gregory VII said anyone to be ordained must first pledge celibacy: “Priests [must] first escape from the clutches of their wives.”
The first reports of sexual exploitations by clergy pretty much coincide with the formalisation of celibacy, but the first systematic listing of sexual abuse committed by clergy is probably in St Peter Damian’s “Book of Gomorrah, from AD 1050“.
The point here is that the Catholic hierarchy, with their deep roots and connections in society, always knew that sexual abuse and exploitation was going on.In modern times, especially the 20th century, attempts have been made to identify sexual deviants among the clergy, and in the USA organisations were founded to deal with pedophile clergy, such as the Paraclete programs.
In a groundbreaking study published in 1972, Kennedy and Heckler found that just 6 % of american priests were psychologically and emotionally developed, 29% were developing, 57% were underdeveloped, and 8% were maldeveloped.In short, 65% of priests have unresolved psychosexual problems and issues that are usually worked through by normal folks in adolescence.
What did they mean by underdeveloped?
The largest category of priests is the underdeveloped. Their
identity is related more clearly to the role of the priesthood than to themselves
as persons. Their vocational choice is prompted more by the factors of status and
security than by interests and abilities. Their lives have been shaped by the expectations
of others rather than a discovery of themselves. They have had few, if
any, experiences of intimacy. They have comrades or colleagues or acquaintances,
but no close friends. They exhibit a lack of understanding of their own emotional
life and handle their feelings through repression and intellectualization. They are
generally successful in their work and in their external adjustment, but are unfulfilled
as persons. In their work they find respect and security without much personal
effort required to merit these.
The authors commented :
Sexuality is, in other words, non-integrated into the lives of underdeveloped priests and many of them function at a pre-adolescent or adolescent level of psychosexual growth.
This is a very important point to keep in mind when we talk about catholic clergy, we are overwhelmingly dealing here with psychosexually immature individuals, who through an insane, counter-natural religious doctrine have been kept in a pre-pubescent psychosexual state.And these are the people that are seen fit by many to give advice on sexual, reproductive, and general life matters.