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Perhaps they're just re-framing the clergy's longstanding practice of checking their younger male parishioners for "marriageability." It's a public service!

Posted by flamingbanjo | June 10, 2008 11:19 AM

I completely agree with the Bishop here. If you subscribe to Catholicism, then you believe that marriage is a means to procreation. Hey, they've been using this same argument against the gays. So, if heteros can't reproduce, then those heteros shouldn't get married either. Don't like it? Don't be Catholic.

Posted by Strawberry Limonade | June 10, 2008 11:31 AM

That bishop is wrong. Plain and simple. There is nothing anywhere in canon law that says that someone without the physical ability to procreate is banned from marrying.

I'm not defending the Catholic Church as an institution (I myself finally left about 4 years ago after having my emotions screwed with one time too many), but this is one man's very flawed interpretation.

Of course, the fact that way, way to much power is given to the episcopacy is a big part of the reason I ultimately left. That and the way they treat women and homosexuals. Oh, and the fact that they are often more interested in what happens in their faithfuls' bedrooms than in applying true mercy and justice. And....well, you get the picture.

Posted by Sheryl | June 10, 2008 11:39 AM

I guess this is the point I try to make with respect to religion. MOST religions are less about spiritual fullfillment and more about procreating more religious people. Happiness, sexual fullfillment, loving families, sex for love and pleasure, abortion, have the potential to curve the numbers of religious people.

In the mind of a simpleton, gay marriage stands in the way of procreation. They would rather gay people stay closeted, and be forced into fucking something they aren't all much about ... because you get more babies.

When the lord said, "be fruitful and multiply." I think we did ... now when the hell are we going to stop.

Posted by OR Matt | June 10, 2008 11:42 AM

Remember, procreation doesn't just insure more followers, but it's also essential to maintaining the power-structure of the Church itself, since, technically at least, priests, bishops, the Pope, et al, are forbiddon to engage in procreative activities themselves.

Posted by COMTE | June 10, 2008 11:51 AM

@5 no procreation doesn't ensure followers. But it does increase your odds. Someone was telling me that the Omish have a 15% retention rate.

So having 5-10 plus children becomes more and more important.

Maybe just MAYBE the more miserable your religion is, the more children you have to have to try to maintain it.

Posted by OR Matt | June 10, 2008 11:55 AM

I think this is refreshingly honest. I've actually used this argument with the assholes ooops i mean religious people who thing gays shouldn't marry-- sort of a knee-jerk, "fine, so should infertile straight people be allowed to marry?" They usually get all flustered and try to explain why "that's different." I picture this priest sort of shrugging and sighing and responding, "No, I guess not..." No marriage without babies means no marraige without babies, you psycho fundamentalist procreating freaks!

Posted by Jo Spot | June 10, 2008 11:59 AM


While that may be true, NOT procreating pretty much guarantees NO followers eventually.

Posted by COMTE | June 10, 2008 12:06 PM


Right on! You took the words right out of my mouth.

Posted by James | June 10, 2008 12:26 PM

Hmm, I too respect this bishop's consistency. To take it further, women should not be able to get married after menopause. Or have sex if they are married, since it can't result in babies.

Posted by Julie | June 10, 2008 12:27 PM


No, the Amish have an 80 percent retention rate.

Posted by keshmeshi | June 10, 2008 12:39 PM

@8 I remember this footnote in my AP US history class about some cult in the late 1800s. It was based on free love and pulling out. They survived doing a lot textile work, and prospered for a little while, but the fact that they weren't really procreating with much efficiency led to their demise.

Interesting read.

@11, and for the Amish retention rate ... WOW!

Posted by OR Matt | June 10, 2008 1:05 PM

@8 and @12 - There were several such sects in the 1800's, though most practiced celibacy rathern than what @12 suggested. The most prominent of them was the Shakers, who were famed for the furniture they created and the frenetic dancing they did during worship (hence the name "Shakers"). Another one is the Harmony Society, who I'm familiar with mostly from visiting their settlement in Western PA:

Posted by Sheryl | June 10, 2008 2:12 PM

First and foremost we need to turn to God's word the Bible to set the standards and see what His word says on marriage, not men (priests, bishops, etc).
And no where in the bible does it say, (even say in principle from any scripture) that there can be no marriage based on this man's condition.

Posted by What a Joke | June 10, 2008 2:27 PM

Word to #2. It's fine that #3 & #14 have a different take on the rules -- they should go join or found churches consistent with their intrepretation and let this guy have his.

Those concerned about the injustices of cannon law shouldn't fret, through. After the liberals get done telling business owners whom they have to hire and pharmacists which drugs they have to sell, I'm sure they's get arround to telling priests whom they have to marry.

Posted by David Wright | June 10, 2008 3:32 PM

So, doesn't this mean that a relationship in which both partners can get a boner should be doubly blessed?

Posted by jp | June 10, 2008 3:33 PM

This suggests a new use for all those confessionals that are filling with cobwebs because most confessions are now done face-to-face or en masse (general absolution).

At least it might keep the priests off the altar boys to some extent.

Posted by rob | June 10, 2008 3:54 PM

David Wright, with respect to your second comment, what the HELL are you talking about?

The affirmative action jibe is a gross overgeneralization, but whatever, you hear it enough and you get over it.

The Pharmacy thing?

As for telling priests who they do and do NOT have to marry, that is against everything the liberals stand for and NAY the founding principle in this country of separation of church and state. Just because YOUR church doesn't accept or want to marry gay people, doesn't mean ALL churches don't accept and want to marry gay people. And the government has no place in telling what the churches should do, just like the government declined in telling the boy scouts who they should and should not accept.

And the sick is ... the whole separation of church and state was designed not to turn you into heathens, but to PROTECT RELIGION. Because fundamentaly, none of you church goers agree 100% on everything (ask the staunch baptists how they feel about mormons). Once the church gets involved in politics they have to start selected for the "true" faith, or a state faith, then things get REALLY messy.

Posted by OR Matt | June 10, 2008 4:04 PM

"Hmm, I too respect this bishop's consistency. To take it further, women should not be able to get married after menopause. Or have sex if they are married, since it can't result in babies."

I'm pretty sure Sarah had Isaac after she hit menopause. So God can do that. He doesn't make babies in people who don't have sex at all except when the baby is Him. I believe the Catholic rule is that you have to be "open to procreation", you don't have to be likely to achieve it. So marriage post-menopause is okay, but marriage sans heterosexual sex is not okay.

Posted by puzzlegal | June 10, 2008 9:34 PM

As I understand it, it's that the marriage can't be consummated, not about procreation per se. In the UK, for example, vaginal consummation is an essential part of het marriages, but not necessary for civil partnerships.

Posted by miriam | June 11, 2008 12:50 AM

I feel terrible for this guy and his fiance. How can these priests live with themselves after being so cruel to people who have already gone through so much? It's not enough that the guy was paralyzed in a car accident, now they have to scream to the world that his penis doesn't work? Assholes.

Posted by miss_m | June 11, 2008 7:04 AM

I wonder if the cost of making the world a happier and better place is eternal damnation.

IF so, I offer my soul up for martyrdom. Then at least I'll have my concious to keep me company and get me through the rough times.

"Do you think you will get used to [hell], just like in a hot tub." Bart Simpson.

Posted by OR Matt | June 11, 2008 8:36 AM

What if the guy has had a vasectomy? I know that's naughty naughty in their rulebook, but shouldn't they check for it?
Shouldn't the priest check him for surgical scars? Should he shave before the inspection? Shoud he oil himself up, too?

Shouldn't they test him for fertility? But he can't masturbate to create the semen sample, so... uh...

Do they have a position on Viagra?

It they don't consistently come down on the position of "for procreation only", they're not taking this vasectomy threat seriously with a pre-marital peter inspection of every man in Italy, and they risk endorsing fucking for pleasure. And that's a dangerous thing.

Why G-d made it pleasurable, I don't know. Probably just to test our faith and willpower. If we didn't have sex on our minds all the time, more of us would probably have the patience for archaelogical digs, and even He can't keep planting fake dinosaur bones with phony carbon dating that fast.

Posted by CP | June 11, 2008 9:34 PM

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