I have recently seen the movie “Spotlight”. It’s a movie about systemic pedophile sex abuses in Roman Catholic churches. In every major city the the US and abroad, there are hundreds to thousands people who have been preyed upon and sexually abused by clergy. The sexual predators get shuffled around from parish to parish, having a ready access to fresh supply of young flesh. They are almost never prosecuted by our criminal justice system. They are rarely even defrocked by the RC church.
That is a tremendous travesty of justice, and a very personal betrayal of the trust of Jesus Christ.
The problem with this issue is two-fold.
The first factor is this. The theological aspect to all of those abuses can be singularly traced to a grossly out of context interpretation of 1 Corinthians 7. It doesn’t talk at all about forced celibacy. It’s talking about postponing marriage due to the then-current economic crisis in Corinth (most likely, a famine). Additionally, the passage clarifies that there are those who willingly forsook marriage, since they were too busy spreading the Gospel. The key concept is “willingly”.
Today, we may also have people who are too busy for marriage, for a variety of reasons: business, career, etc. That’s the same idea here. But we are talking about Steve Jobs kind of busy, not a fast food restaurant manager kind of busy. About people who are really about God’s business out of the depth of their being. God’s kingdom to them is something that they live and breathe.
Being unmarried was shameful in the ancient Mediterranean societies. Paul’s argument completely refutes that idea. And that’s all there is to it.