“Those who are able to control their sexual instincts can only be considered as belonging to a superior race.”
Sociological work of impact starting from the title. A concrete commitment to try to shed light on one of the most delicate and controversial issues within the Catholic world: the relationship between sex (and sexuality) and the clergy.
Although celibacy is a rule of canon law, and therefore easily repealed because it is not directly connected with a dogma of faith, it seems that the Church is unwilling to discuss the issue. Celibacy is indeed recognized as an added value to pastoral activity, in fact a large part of the high social recognition of its representatives depends on it.
On the other hand, however, the author of the book wonders if this attempt to put a stop to the sexual instinct of priests does not also represent a form of control over them, a test of total and devoted obedience, a shared goal and path from many “all-encompassing” institutions to their own members. However, one wonders if in terms of human lives, understood as abuses and mortification of the self, the control of sexuality over priests has created more harm than good.
In this regard, the direct testimonies of priests and former prelates on the subject have a strong impact, starting with what happens inside the seminaries, then during the period of ordination, up to the actual carrying out of pastoral activity. Congratulations to the author of the essay for the amount of work done over time, and the amount of interviews done from north to south of Italy.
We feel entitled to specify that in order to read this book the reader is required to completely eliminate preconceptions and a solid cultural base. Otherwise the work can become divisive, between those who defend the Church with the sword and its detractors. The essay has the merit of opening the doors to other questions and reflections, stimulating curiosity on the subject regardless of one’s religious beliefs, and only for this reason reading the book is useful and recommended, as it constitutes a stimulus to be able to dissect a theme – delicate and not easy to deal with – not only from the sociological point of view, but also from the historical, moral and theological one.
Marco Marzano, The caste of the untouched, Bompiani, Milano, 2020