Does celibacy make Catholic priests mentally ill?

Is a life of celibacy normal? This is a question increasingly raised in a world increasingly hypersexualised by social media and their influencers. Indeed, the suppression of expression of sexuality has become taboo now — a trend that runs counter to the teachings of traditional organised hierarchies and religion which, by design, frowned upon the subject. Anything goes is the normal now and people who suppress their sexuality (whether it be conventional or deviant urges) risk their “mental health”, we are constantly told.

Recent research reportedly suggests that “the suppression of sexual thoughts among religious people only begets a greater preoccupation with sexual thoughts and fantasies.”

A survey of 661 teens found that religious adolescents reported greater preoccupation with unwanted sexual thoughts and fantasies than secular adolescents.

A second survey of 522 teens found that religious adolescents tended to report lower well-being, which was linked to their preoccupation with unwanted sexual thoughts.

Another survey of 317 teens found that religious adolescents were more likely to report suppressing sexual thoughts and fantasies, which in turn was associated with more self-report compulsive sexual behavior and lower well-being.

The idea that celibacy may not be normal for sexual creatures like human beings and may even be detrimental to the well-beings of individuals who opt into a life of celibacy raises interesting questions. Did the choice to be celibate result from some sort of mental condition? Or did a celibate life result in a mental condition? Which can first, the chicken or the egg?

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Given the possible impact on the character of Catholic priests their celibacy could cause, it becomes disturbing when one considers that these people are significant contributors to debate surrounding important issues to do with sexuality and human relationships. Members of the clergy sit in many schools as guidance counselors, are consulted by politicians when crafting legislation related to reproductive health and divorce, and are even regarded by many Filipino couples as marriage and relationship counselors.

Yet what would a celibate person — one who, much evidence shows, upholds that lifestyle choice at an enormous mental cost — know about matters normal people take for granted? I once respectfully asked a priest this question and here is the response I got

Wait, hindi ba ang dami mo ngang kuda sa aking pagkapari, what would you know about priesthood?

Do people really need to know what Catholic priests go through? Not really. Theirs is a life of an outlier that most normal people need not relate with. On the other hand, priests need to understand what us normal people go through — because that is their only pathway to relevance in human society. To aspire to understand what normal sexually-active people, many of whom raise families, go through, refuse to be part of that by choosing celibacy, and then go on to presume to preach to then about those subject matters could perhaps be a form of insanity.

3 Replies to “Does celibacy make Catholic priests mentally ill?”


    I will tell you the theory behind it. When my grandmother was still alive she was a EWTN network junkie. That is a cable channel for Catholics. You get priests and nuns talking non stop. I remember one of them saying ” it’s a way of living the way Christ lived.” Ok , noble and ambitious goal. Maybe a different priest on the panel said something like , it may be a challenging way of life but he did it with the help of God’s grace.

    Let me tell you of my experience on the practical side. We had a family priest who switched over to the Episcopalians so that he could get married. He wanted to have his cake and eat it too it seems. There have been a few times I was alone in a car of the gym or in the school with this guy. Not that I noticed anything. Still shocking to find out years later.

    Locally, there have been episodes of priests violating their vows of chastity. Funny how they can be so high and mighty on politics and so quiet on issues like that. I think we will never see a whistleblower in their ranks. They will just circle the wagons like they always do.


    Finally there was this joke so old I can’t even find it using Google. Priest met with the parisioners after a mass. His sermon that morning codemned all sorts of “sins of the flesh”. Suddenly an angry woman confronted him and said ” if you don’t play the game, you can’t make the rules.”

  2. I suppose there is some truth to what the study suggests… even The Bible tells so.

    The controversial preacher Bro. Eli Soriano, known for calling out “doctrinal errors” of other Christian sects, had this say:

    (Soriano’s controversy here: )

    “The beatings, rapes, sexual abuses and humiliation done by these Catholic institutions not only in Ireland but also in the United States and elsewhere in the world especially in the poor and neglected countries are like smoke being released high into the air to expose the burning lasciviousness and cruelty of Catholic officials that run and control these institutions.”

    I Corinthians 7:9:

    “But if they cannot contain, let them marry: for it is better to marry than to burn.”

    Misconception being the by-product of ignorance in the understanding of the Scriptures, Pari Koy should be tasked to answer this question:

    Imposed Celibacy on Priests: Is it Biblical?

    Mr. Soriano explains, “The doctrine of forced priestly celibacy, which is contrary to what the Bible says, is one of the main reasons that leads to rape and sexual abuses done by the clergy that for centuries are hidden behind the iron curtains of the most powerful religion in the world!”

    I Timothy 4:1-3:

    “Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth.”

    II Timothy 4:3-4:

    “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.”

  3. A woman takes a lover during the day, while her husband is at work.

    One day, her 9-year-old son hides in the closet during one of her romps. Her husband comes home unexpectedly, so she hides the lover in the closet.

    The little boy says, “It’s dark in here.”

    The man whispers, “Yes, it is.”

    Boy – “I have a baseball.”

    Man – “That’s nice.”

    Boy – “Want to buy it?”

    Man – “No, thanks.”

    Boy – “My dad’s outside.”

    Man – “OK, how much?”

    Boy – “$250.”

    In the next few weeks, it happens again that the boy and the mom’s lover end up in the closet together.

    Boy – “It’s dark in here.”

    Man – “Yes, it is.”

    Boy – “I have a baseball glove.”

    Man – Remembering last time, asks, “How much?”

    Boy – “$750.”

    Man – “Fine.”

    A few days later, the father says to the boy, “Grab your ball and glove. Let’s go outside and toss the baseball.”

    The boy says, “I can’t. I sold them.”

    The father asks, “How much did you sell them for?”

    The son says “$1,000.”

    The father says, “It’s terrible to overcharge your friends like that. That’s way more than those two things cost. I’m going to take you to church and make you confess.”

    They go to the church and the father makes the little boy sit in the confession booth and he closes the door.

    The boy says, “It’s dark in here.”

    The priest says, “Don’t start that crap again!”

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