March 09, 2005

Priest says celibacy should be an option


COLLIER COUNTYŚ Father Thomas Doyle was one of the first to bring reports of sexual abuse to the attention of the Catholic clergy in the 1980's. Now twenty years later, Doyle is visiting churches around the country to show why he believes clergy should have the opportunity to decide whether or not to be celibate as the only way to prevent more abuse.

Tuesday night it was standing room only at Saint John the Evangelist Church. Everyone gathered to learn how to reconcile the sexual abuse scandal facing the clergy.

"I'm concerned about the changes in the church so I've come to be more informed I would say," said Sandy Smith.

Father Thomas Doyle, witness in more than 150 abuse cases in the 1980's feels the scandal has shaped his 34-year career.

"The biggest thing that I've seen change in my career as a priest has been the upheaval caused by the revelation of sexual abuse by the clergy," said Doyle.

Doyle believes mandatory celibacy is partly to blame for the hundreds of accusations and subsequent sex scandal brought against catholic clergy members. He says Catholic priests aren't able to understand what harm sexual misconduct can cause.

Posted by kshaw at March 9, 2005 05:41 AM