Celibacy’s burden

Share this article
Have your say

Cardinal Keith O’Brien and I disagreed on a whole raft of ideas, from women priests to euthanasia, but I liked and admired him and I am heartbroken it ended this way (your report, 27 February).

However, his final message claiming that priestly celibacy is an unnecessary burden and priests should be allowed the solace of a loving relationship may yet prove fruitful.

Recalling his nomadic existence as an international correspondent, my father’s cousin James Cameron wrote: “The habit of loneliness over long periods engenders the wrong responses to love and there is nothing, wheresoever it may be, to compensate for that.”

The overarching need is for all Christian bodies, including the Kirk, to get over their obsession with sexual behaviour and identity and refocus on the meaning of the faith.

(Dr) John Cameron

Howard Place

St Andrews

Martin Conroy (Letters, 27 February) agrees with Pope Benedict that “society today needs clear voices which propose our right to live, not in a jungle of self-destructive and arbitrary freedoms, but in a society which works for the true welfare of its citizens and offers them guidance and protection in the face of their weakness and fragility”.

If weak and fragile citizens like myself need such guidance and protection, to whom should we turn now that the Pope himself has proved too weak for the task and the freedoms enjoyed by many of his colleagues have led to a possibly irreparable amount of self-destruction within his Church?

My suggestion is that if we can trust our own brains to judge which clear voices are producing the best proposals, we might just be able to trust them enough to judge for themselves which freedoms are beneficial. Or do we need guidance in choosing our guides?

Robert Canning

Secular Scotland

Broughton Street


Representing the National Secular Society, Alistair McBay performed his routine duty of accusing the Catholic Church of trying to “impose” its views on wider society (Letters, 27 February).

This reveals the flaw at the heart of secularism yet again: policy debate is all about deciding how best to structure and regulate society, with individuals and groups contributing their views from a variety of viewpoints. But secularists single out the religious voices as trying to “impose” their views.

Do feminists, environmentalists, gay rights campaigners, secularists etc also seek to “impose” their view on society?

Of course they do – and there is nothing wrong with that. There is no logical reason to single out religious voices.

It is hard to find evidence against the thesis that most secularists are driven by hostility towards religion, rather than a vision of a fairer society.

Richard Lucas