And the response I got after making that outrageous statement was: “A doctor doesn’t have to experience pain to understand pain. A Priest doesn’t have to have sex to counsel people about sex.”
My Catholic responder snapped back her reply. In fact, it was so succint that it sounded like it was the kind of quick-draw speech she’d whip out for whenever heathens like myself resurrected this tired and old argument — and they had, many times before. It’s not hard to see why we drag it out. After all, how is it possible for a celibate man to counsel anyone on physical intimacy? He’s uniquely qualified to comment on how to stay away from it, not engage in it.
Nancy is a staunch Catholic. Defending her Faith comes automatically. She’s usually quiet about it but never silent when it comes to attacks on it. That’s when she steps in to educate the ignorant. She doesn’t shout when she does it, she keeps her words calm and short. If she wasn’t already a wife and mother, she would’ve made a perfect nun instead. Convent life would’ve suited her down to the ground.
Convents are a curious subject too but we mustn’t get distracted. We’re talking about sex, not the mysterious life that exists behind the robes. Nancy made a comment about a theoretical doctor who feels no pain. She aligned it with a Priest who doesn’t have sex. She did it in the hope that I’d better understand Priests and their right to counsel others on the subject of sex.
I listened carefully and studied the words with much curiosity. Her use of modernized parables raised many questions, especially the new one about the medical fraternity. Are there many doctors incapable of feeling pain? Could a doctor who’s unable to feel pain become a proper, empathetic doctor? Without an intimate understanding of pain, would such a doctor be a good one? I have doubts about all of these questions — and I had to ask them. After all, Nancy opened the door. My gut tells me that any human being who couldn’t feel pain would lack the necessary skills to relate to patients who experienced it. It would be a rare find to find a good one.
Let’s apply the Doctor parable to the Priest one.
A celibate Priest as a good sex counsellor? For me, the answer is no. Definitely not. The last person I’d trust for advice on sex would be a Priest. I’m sorry, that’s my position. It’s firm and it won’t change.
If we’re linking parables to explain things better, let me try one of my own: It’d be like me teaching religious Faith. I don’t practice one or believe in God, so I’d be foolish to teach it to others and have them believe me. Sure, I could do it. I could even string some words together to make it sound plausible but I’d be lying through my teeth with every word I said. It’d be shocking if someone accepted them as Gospel. It’d be worse if I had a group of Nancys follow me around while they told the ignorant unfaithful that I was entitled to teach Faith because, like a medical doctor who is incapable of feeling pain (and practices good medicine), I’m perfectly capable of doing it and doing it well. Yes, the whole thing sounds so absurd but so too does a celibate Priest who counsels couples on sexual matters — and this is why Nancy’s argument bolsters mine.
“Find me a doctor who has no experience feeling pain and you’ve found me a lousy doctor.”
Of course, mixing words like celibacy with modern Catholicism is like stirring oil into water. They appear to mix but, for the most part, they stay apart. Lies and assumptions protect Faith from knowing its reality. Horny Catholics get laid and remain celibate every day of the week. Priests are just as celibate. If Priests aren’t chasing children, they’re banging each other, hookers or members of their church. But that’s a discussion for another time on another post, right?
For a moment, let’s pretend that they’re totally celibate (it supports my argument better) and it’s not a game of words. Priests who stay away from bedroom activity should remain silent about bedroom activity. Not only are they unqualified and inexperienced but they’re counselling while under the influence of sexual frustration. A Priest with a set of blue-balls isn’t in his right mind to counsel others about sex. Anything he says will be skewed to suit his inner narrative. Christ, Himself would know how irresponsible this is. It shouldn’t take a heathen like me to explain what’s plainly obvious.
If you’re reading this post Nancy, you and I know that you’re a bloody good nurse, probably the best one on this planet. You have felt pain in your life and I can assure you that this is what makes you the best. Without it, you would’ve been a less empathetic nurse, less connected to those you treat. You wouldn’t be you if you didn’t know pain. Pain is as much a guiding light for you in your work as your Faith is to your soul.
I wrote more about my opinions on this matter in my novel. It’s fact wrapped in fiction… to protect the guilty.
Five women’s bodies are discovered after the nights of thunderstorms. Their spouses are suspected of the crimes, but it becomes clear that someone else is responsible. There’s no blood and few clues. A storm photographer who specialises in taking pictures of lightning may be the only witness.
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