Was Percy ever involved in the debate on molestations by Catholic priests?

Wade Riddick riddick at mail.la.utexas.edu
Wed May 8 00:39:09 EDT 2002

>>And, are married priests the answer, as might be the >logical conclusion
>>given America's dearth of priests, the recent >pedophilia scandals,
>I am a lurker mostly but this idea I have never understood. how would being
>married cut down on child abuse in the church? lots of married men many men
>in secular world indulge in pedophilia.

I did not argue that married men are less inclined to pedophilia.  I argued
that celibacy limited the number of candidates for the priesthood.  When a
commodity is rare its price rises.  This creates an institutional incentive
for bureaucrats to ignore criticisms about priests.  As supply dwindles,
priests become too expensive to replace.  It's better to shuffle them
around to parishes where they're not known.  It becomes cheaper to buy

Of course, in the end, you have to face all budget deficits and the bill on
this irresponsibility is coming due.  Unlike governments, churches can be
and are liquidated.  Take a look at the number of Protestant churches being
torn down in England today.

As Percy pointed out, the overall solution to the high price of priests has
been to import supply.  This will not be possible in a century.  Already
the third world birthrate is falling far faster than demographers
predicted.  Despite many religious groups trying to curb the use of birth
control in poor countries and despite the lack of educational opportunities
available to women, somehow they have started regulating the size of
families on their own.  There's not going to be this kind of population
surplus available for export unless this trend changes suddenly again.

It looks like the Catholic Church is going to be forced to confront this
"supply" bottleneck eventually.

As a Protestant I'm rather sad to see the debate so focused on celibacy.
Churches in general are in decline and as much as anyone on the list I am
dismayed to see such disdain for religion among the politically correct.
Protestants suffer from serious problems getting individuals into the
ministry too and from my point of view, Catholic celibacy is a dangerously
distracting side issue that obscures the larger problem common to us all.

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