Fr Timothy Radcliffe on celibacy

 In a wide-ranging interview with Australian radio station ABC last week, the former head of the Dominicans, Fr Timothy Radcliffe OP, said he felt formation for priests and religious in the past had often not prepared them for a life of celibacy. "Somehow they felt that if you had a cold shower occasionally and you went for a run, 'it would be all right'," he said. "But that's not enough." "Where we've had these scandals of sexual abuse, it's often I think because of a failure to help people to grow in that mature, equal relationship with other people." Fr Timothy said that clergy "can't help the young unless they've pretty nakedly faced what goes on in their own hearts". "And that a lot of maturity in sexuality is actually learning to see that the person you have in front of you is neither God nor a lump of meat, but a human being," he said. He affirmed the value of celibacy, comparing the discipline required with the demands on an artist of a sportsperson. "To play football beautifully, to learn that sort of freedom on the football pitch, that spontaneity, you've got to learn a discipline. If you want to be a musician, you want to be able to play the piano and discover a sort of spontaneity when you're playing, then you have to go through a discipline. It's not just how you learn control, it's how you learn freedom." He said that the person who takes a vow of celibacy "has to learn with some discipline, how to be intimate in a way that's appropriate and beautiful", admitting that it is "not easy, but it's possible". The transcript of the interview is available at: (copy and paste into your browser)

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