During the last few months lay catholics have voiced demands on the Catholic Church to abolish the celibacy. A quite recent example of such initiatives was reported on 7 January in the Austrian daily newspaper “Die Presse”.
An important motivation for this emerging pressure is the growing problem of finding qualified clergymen to replace those who retire or are leaving the church for other reasons.
The idea is that the abolition of celibacy would help to attract young male heterosexual theologians to become priests, which would also – as an extra bonus - probably reduce the number of children being sexually abused by priests with abnormal sexual orientation. - Yes, it is abnormal to have sex with children – and criminal as well.
The above reasons for ceasing to demand of Catholic priests that they live in celibacy are good and valid but why not simply admit or acknowledge that even Catholic priests have a fundamental right to get married, if they so wish? Why do states that are not governed by the Pope himself, like the Holy See, allow this inhuman discrimination by one employer (the Catholic Church) of a part of its employees (the Catholic priests)?
The following is an excerpt of the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights adopted by the General Assembly in 1948:
Men and women of full age, without any limitation due to race, nationality or religion, have the right to marry and to found a family.
Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.
And here is an excerpt from the European Convention on Human Rights which entered into force in 1953:
Article 12 – Right to marry
Men and women of marriageable age have the right to marry and to found a family, according to the national laws governing the exercise of this right.
Article 14 – Prohibition of discrimination
The enjoyment of the rights and freedoms set forth in this Convention shall be secured without discrimination on any ground such as sex, race, colour, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, association with a national minority, property, birth or other status.
Please note the references in both documents to both “sex” and “religion”.
I repeat my question, why do states, especially those that ascribe to the principles of secularism, accept this kind of discriminatory treatment of a whole professional category?
The Catholic Church in its name of “Holy See” is an internationally recognised “state”, but how long shall other states tolerate its operation as a state-in-their-state?
One of many examples of this situation is its pre-medieval practice of mandatory celibacy for a significant part of its staff, a practice which is in overt violation of human rights and national legislation!