A South American bishop has called for “optional celibacy” for priests in the wake of revelations that a gay Jesuit missionary sexually abused about 85 boys.
Bishop Eugenio Cóter suggested the rule of priestly celibacy contributed to the abuse of scores of adolescents by Fr Alfonso Pedrajas, a Spanish priest who died in 2009, and said that “changes must be made” in the Church.
A sexual relationship allows for “an integration of the affective, sexual, bodily dimension”, the Bishop of Pando and head of the Communication Commission of the Bolivian Bishops’ Conference told Erbol radio.
He said an end to compulsory celibacy could be a “helpful element” in preventing sexual abuse by the clergy in cases where there were “no predispositions”.
His remarks will inevitably cause controversy because they implicitly endorse same-sex sexual relationships given that Fr Pedrajas was an actively gay man who spent the last four years of his life with his boyfriend.
In support of his argument, according to Catholic News Agency, Bishop Cóter alluded to debates that took place on celibacy within the framework of the 2019 Amazon Synod.
He also referred to the controversial German Synodal Way, which in March backed the ordination of women as deaconesses, the blessing of homosexual unions, and the normalisation of lay preaching at Mass, among other proposed innovations.
Bishop Cóter said: “So it is a subject that is there on the table for reflection that will arrive in Rome in October, with the bishops, the delegates of the bishops of the world in this synodal path that is taking place.”
The abuse crimes perpetrated over decades by Fr Pedrajas came to light after his lover sent a DVD of computer files to the missionary’s brother, who printed them out and kept them in a box.
The priest’s nephew found the diary in the attic and took them to El Pais, the Spanish national newspaper, which published them last month as the “Diary of a Paedophile Priest”.
Fr Pedrajas, who spent most of his life working at a secondary school for children of poor families, where he was known as “Padre Pica”, admits in his writings that “my biggest personal failure [was] without a doubt the pederasty”, which he said began in 1964, and that “I hurt so many people (85?). Too many.”
The revelations have prompted a national investigation in Bolivia and sanctions against eight Jesuits who allegedly knew of abuse but covered it up.
Father Pedrajas’s diary “recounts how the Jesuit order, including at least seven provincial superiors and a dozen Bolivian and Spanish clergymen, covered up his crimes, along with the complaints of several victims”, according to El Pais.
Father Bernardo Mercado, the Jesuit Bolivian provincial, has suspended his predecessors as the investigation gets under way.
El País also said that the late Father José Arroyo, SJ, a priest who assisted in the formation of the future Pope Francis, prepared Fr Pedrajas for his tertianship in 1978 and downplayed the gravity of his abuse when the priest confessed his sins to him.
In his notes on his conversations with his superior Fr Pedrajas makes such statements as: “I shouldn’t feel like a repentant sinner” … “nothing is going to happen to me” … “[these are] isolated cases”.
Priestly celibacy is a discipline of the Latin Church which has emerged from hundreds of years of tradition. It can be changed, though the popes, including Francis, have shown no inclination to do so.
Complete Article ↪HERE↩!