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Call to Keep Celibates Away From Children
The Irish Times - Wednesday, January 14, 2004

Celibates should be kept away from education, the former minister Mr Justin Keating has said, Patsy McGarry , Religious Affairs Correspondent, reports.

"Society would be wise to keep celibates right out of education and away from our children," Mr Keating writes in the current edition of the Irish Humanist magazine.

Mr Keating, president of the Association of Irish Humanists, continued: "The terrible conclusion that I draw is that the proportion of people who are undamaged by enforced celibacy is sufficiently low for us to keep all celibates, good and bad, away from our children."

He noted how "in current usage 'celibacy' and 'chastity' are used as if they meant substantially the same thing.

"This is quite wrong. Celibacy is an undertaking not to marry. It is enforced by the institution of the church as a condition of becoming a priest or a nun. It is a job requirement.

"Chastity is a voluntary undertaking by a person, not necessarily in religion, not to engage in a sexual relationship.

"It seems to me that a voluntary vow of chastity is entirely to be respected," Mr Keating said.

"Celibacy on the other hand, imposed from outside as a condition of employment, I think to be a worthless aberration, which inflicts great harm on a significant proportion of those subjected to it, and therefore on those who come in contact with them."