Why not allow priests to marry, and women to be priests?
By George P. Shultz
November 13, 2018 at 3:43 PM EST
George P. Shultz is a former secretary of labor, treasury and state, and was director of the Office of Management and Budget. He is a distinguished fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution.
I have high respect for the traditional moral authority of the Roman Catholic Church. However, the revelations of predatory harm done to children by ordained priests in many countries over decades represent an unconscionable tragedy and undermine the moral authority of the church. I plead with church authorities to use this moment to do more than reexamine policies that address only the symptoms. Policies did not molest children; priests did.
Instead, take this moment to face the hardest questions and deal with the underlying issues. Why maintain an ordination requirement that drives away candidates who also want a normal married life? Remove that requirement and you enlarge tremendously the pool from which to recruit priests.
What would be wrong with allowing priests to marry — or ordaining women? This critical moment calls for more than simply adjusting reporting policies. It cries out for intense self-examination and change in fundamental assumptions. Give women a shot at the church’s hierarchy and they will clean it up immediately.