20 Oct : “Sexuality is a gift of the Creator”, His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI stated in a letter to seminarians dated October 18, published at “Vatican: the Holy See” website.
Talking about sexuality, Pope further wrote: “it is also a task which relates to a person’s growth towards human maturity. When it is not integrated within the person, sexuality becomes banal and destructive.”
Pope also said: “Recently we have seen with great dismay that some priests disfigured their ministry by sexually abusing children and young people. Instead of guiding people to greater human maturity and setting them an example, their abusive behaviour caused great damage for which we feel profound shame and regret.”
He added: “As a result of all this, many people, perhaps even some of you, might ask whether it is good to become a priest; whether the choice of celibacy makes any sense as a truly human way of life. Yet even the most reprehensible abuse cannot discredit the priestly mission…”
Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada (USA) today on this issue, said: Religions usually tell us that excessive physicality and indulgence with lust and greed stand as a hurdle against our experiencing of the spiritual realm. We find that religion has emphasized restraint, especially of lust, because sex is the most potent urge and a rich nucleus of personal force.
Zed, who is the President of Universal Society of Hinduism, further says: Hinduism advocates self-control in action and thought. Ancient scriptures tell us that sexual passion is a spiritual energy and is only partially physical—it can be transformed into compassion and love and creative spirit. Lead a selfless life in complete freedom but desires under total control. Potent forces of sex can otherwise be utilized for realizing Self. Passing pleasures, however tempting and sensual those may be, last only very temporarily. Conquering sex and keeping one-pointed focus on Self-realization can prove helpful in spiritual journey.
However, Rajan Zed pointed out, after the lengthy training in seminary and guidance of superiors along the path and self examination, Roman Catholic priests were mature enough to arrive at their own verdict on the issue of celibacy/marriage and decision should be left to them. Vatican should make the celibacy voluntary instead of mandatory on the priests. Celibacy would be better on the spirituality path, but it should come from priests themselves and not commanded by Vatican. Vatican needed to reevaluate the issue of priest celibacy urgently.
Pope Benedict heads the Roman Catholic Church, which is the largest of the Christian denominations. Hinduism, oldest and third largest religion of the world, has about one billion adherents and moksh (liberation) is its ultimate goal.