Celibacy Is Not Cause of Crisis of Priests, Says Formator

Explains That Logic of the Charism Lies in Sharing

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ROME, NOV. 27, 2002 (Zenit.org).- The crisis some priests are experiencing, the most disturbing being the sex-abuse scandals, is not caused by celibacy, an expert on the matter says.



Father Amedeo Cencini, religious of the Sons of Charity and a psychologist and formator, analyzed the phenomenon in a report to the Association of Rectors of Ecclesiastical Seminaries of Rome.

Addressing some 200 people, including priests, students and formators, Father Cencini focused his talk on the need of "Being Formed to Live as Celibates," a paper that is quoted at the Web site of Vidimus Dominum.

Father Cencini began by saying that "ongoing formation" is a "strategic concept" and if that is missing, "we witness those phenomena of flattening, repetitiveness and crises of insignificance in a broad section of the clergy, and in young women as well."

The crisis does not arise from the respecting of the vow of celibacy. Rather, he said, the personal crises that spring up in various areas are destined sooner or later to spill into the issue of affectivity, which is located at the core of the human personality.

"Hence, it is not correct, from a rigorously scientific standpoint, to say that celibacy is the cause, because the cause lies elsewhere," the formator said. The root could be in a person's motivations or in the sphere of spirituality, he suggested.

In order to avoid this crisis, Father Cencini presented celibacy as "a charism to be lived, which tells the truth about a human being, which relates to his possibility of living a direct relationship with God."

"Beyond the doctrinal aspect, this path makes the commitment to celibacy more livable because it is in function of others," he continued. It is not "an instrument of perfection in and of itself," he said; rather, "the logic of the charism is in sharing."

The "relational style" of celibacy resolves "the way of living many relationships but without putting oneself at the core of any of these because God is the core," Father Cencini said.