Priests, pedophilia, and celibacy.

How you look at things.
March 6 2002 5:08 PM

Booty and the Priest

Does abstinence make the church grow fondlers?

(Continued from Page 1)

As the debate progresses, each side is absorbing the other's criticisms and refining its own arguments. Reformers are retreating from the crude idea that horniness turns normal men into molesters. They're building a more sophisticated theory of character formation, according to which premature training for the priesthood interrupts psychosexual development and makes young priests susceptible to adolescent crushes. Meanwhile, conservatives are acknowledging that seminary teachers need to know enough about sex to prepare aspiring priests who can handle celibacy and to weed out those who can't. Increasingly, the question of what will happen to the celibacy rule isn't whether it will stay or go, but how it will change.