First, we have to understand that the Catholic Church has got it wrong when it comes to the lifestyle of a priest. Not because he should be allowed to have sexual relations, but because the elders in the church have always been encouraged to marry and raise children, according to 1 Timothy 3
I disagree with Sullivan completely when he says,
What's frustrating is that the issues which are undermining the Church are not that central to its core doctrines. Celibacy is a pragmatic issue, not one of eternal truth. Ditto women priests. To fixate on sex, as the Church now does, is also a trivial thing sub specie aeternitatis.
What matters is the commandment to love one another and God, to serve our fellows, to help the needy and practice the daily duty of forgiveness. This is so hard for so many of us. I fail all the time. And that is why so many of us need the church to guide and help us on this pilgrimage. To exclude and condemn and clench with white knuckles onto non-vital issues, such as stopping priests from ever having a real sexual and emotional relationship with another human being, or casting half of humanity out of church leadership, is, in my view, a warped perspective.
Celibacy is not "pragmatic" as he says, otherwise it would not have made the Top Ten list of God's commandments.
He talks about sexual relations -- and allowing priests to have sexual relations outside of marriage -- as if it were a "non-vital" issue. That simply isn't true. Jesus himself reinforces the commandment by saying that "adultery" starts with the sexual thought, and not just by acting upon the desire. That's how important it is. It's a matter of the heart. Thus it is very, very vital.
What Sullivan seems to argue here, then, is that in order to avoid child molestation we should allow priests to have sex. But really, doing so is replacing one sin with another. We play God in doing so.
Sullivan says the most important thing is to "love one another and God." But the two are interconnected. We cannot love others unless we love God first. And we love God by obeying His Law, not by creating our own and determining which degree of sexual activity is acceptable and which one is not. Sex, according to God, is acceptable only in marriage. And those who preach the word of God have every right to have a wife in marriage.