Marriage as a crime prevention program

George Weigel nails it on Hard Ball with Chris Matthews in reference to the claim that a married clergy would prevent sexual abuse:

“I don’t think anyone ought to think of marriage as a remedy for sexually immature people. Marriage is not a crime prevention program.”

(begins around 3:20)

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy


The thing that always strikes me about this argument, that married clergy might prevent future sexual abuse in the Church, is that it’s a subtle, and pretty daft apology for abusers–that they’re just normal folk in need of an outlet for their illicit passions.


What a terrible deal for the lucky bride of the potential abuser, and their future children. Abusers abuse, whether they are married or not, as Weigel notes, sexual abuse, is by no means particular to the Catholic priesthood.


Not to mention, marriage was a pretty lousy deterrent for Jerry Sandusky…and Mary Kay Letourneau…and that Bengals cheerleader…




See also: Child molesters often “use marriage as a cover for their preferred sexual activity.”

About Elizabeth Duffy
  • Owen

    An abuser is going to abuse. Period. Short of help, miracle, a willingness to seek help, healing and correction. Married or single will not make any necessary difference. Married with children though may provide the sick person with ready victims.

    As to other issues around married clergy, I was one for decades. It is not impossible to do and do well but it dramatically changes how the cleric approaches their ministry, or it should. I put family first, as much as was humanly possible and was blessed to have been pastor of mostly (though not entirely) rural congregations that affirmed my determination of family over ministry given that my family is also my ministry.

    • Elizabeth Duffy

      As Clare Coffey points out on my facebook page, rape apologists also like to claim that rape happens when men are too sexually frustrated. Poor rapist just needs to get married? Uh, no. Poor rapist needs to go to jail.

      There are a lot of ways to go at the idea of a married clergy, but sexual incontinence is not one of them.

  • Pingback: The MSM Catechism: Honor Thy Orgasm, And All The Kingdoms of the Earth Will Be Yours

  • Kelly@Inthesheepfold

    I have a friend whose father left seminary in the 40s, I think. He admitted to huge struggles with sexual desires for children. “Just get married” everyone told him. He went on to molest his children and then three of his grandchildren. People with struggles need help. People who act on those temptations belong in prison.

  • Nancy

    That opinion reveals a fundamental ignorance of what often lies at the root of abuse — a compulsion to be gratified, even if it requires that you dehumanize and harm another person or child. And rape is about power and control, not sexual desires. Marriage isn’t a cure for either of those things, and only involves more people in the circle of damage.

  • Claire

    Love this Betty! Excellent points.