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David Girod: Catholic priests should be able to marry

September 16, 2018

In an issue of the Winona Daily News last month, a news story detailed alleged abuse of young children and others by predator priests. The number involved was 1,000. It was very graphic in its description of the “activity.” Along with these assaults were reports of cover ups by bishops “sweeping it under the rug” or by moving priests around to a different parish.

This was occurring in Pittsburgh over 70 years. It involved 301 priests. Before I go further, I want to reference two columns written by national columnists in the WDN (Aug. 24 and Aug. 31). Both good reading.

I have two comments to make. If a man considering the priesthood is unsure he can adhere to the rules he should quit. Also I believe the cause of these assaults on children and adults is that very rule of being celibate (vow of chastity). Priests should at least have the choice, marry or not.

Why, I ask you, is the Catholic Church the only denomination that requires this of its priests? Most of all the Christian churches in America list Jesus as the one they serve. But they allow their ministers or pastors to marry if they so chose. I don’t believe there should be a statute of limitations when it involves the sins of any church and any attempt to cover up activity by bishops or those higher up in the chain of command. Investigate thoroughly any complaints by victims (assuming they come forward). Treat the assaults as the crime they are.

And, for those priests and bishops who have passed on years after their “cases” come to light, don’t assume they’ll get off scot-free. They may have escaped punishment by man, trial and prison time. (Child predators aren’t admired by those in prison). But they will face judgement by their creator, as I believe all will.

One final comment. In my father’s family, the ancestors date back to 15th century Switzerland. The legend in our family tree says the very first Girod — Big John — married the daughter of a monk in 1515. I was told the Girods then were Calvinists. I can’t say if that monk was married or not. But he obviously wasn’t celibate. Ponder Matthew 18:6.

David Girod, Winona

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