Narrow view of cleric celibacy

PUBLISHED : Friday, 26 July, 1996, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 26 July, 1996, 12:00am

I was deeply saddened by your decision to publish an article such as Eurydice Kamvisseli's piece, entitled 'Confessions from within the Vatican' (South China Morning Post, July 22).

This concerned the Catholic church's position on married clergy.

Regardless of how one stands on the issue, the depth of the author's bias and the narrowness with which she approached such an issue were anything but a credit to your newspaper.

Based on a few anecdotes, we are left with the impression that celibacy is inherently unhealthy.

And, by extension, that all celibates are living either lives of duplicity or tormented obedience.

As a priest my own experience of celibate men and women has, in general, been deeply edifying. There are problems involving immature psycho-sexual development and sexual addiction in the Catholic Church.

But my understanding is that such problems match the incidence found in the population in general.

It might also, I feel, have been reasonable to expect Ms Kamvisseli to treat the value of celibacy as an expression of love and commitment with deep roots in human religious traditions.

We live in a world which increasingly identifies love with sexual desire and freedom with one's ability to choose among brands of cereal.

So Ms Kamvisseli might find that celibacy may be more crucial now than at any time in the past.

MICHAEL J. LYNCH Star of the Sea Parish Chai Wan