God or Girl? Um, Are Those My Only Choices?
Catholics are furious about a new "reality TV show" that pits men called to the priesthood against sexy young gals.
God or the Girl? will premiere on Easter Sunday, of all days, on the A&E network.
The five-part series tracks the lives of "four young men trying to decide whether to enter the Catholic priesthood," according to Fox News.
All of the men are in their 20s, and all apparently are sexually attracted to women.
Joe Adair, 28, Dan DeMatte, 21, Steve Horvath, 25, and Mike Lechniak, 24, are the real-life stars of the program.
To either weed out these seemingly normal young men or make them crazy enough to take the Vatican's vow of celibacy, the four would-be priests are commanded to do ridiculous things to prove their faith.
"Adair goes on a pilgrimage with no money or food, relying completely on the kindness of strangers to help him get to his destination - a religious center in Niagara Falls," reporter Catherine Donaldson-Evans writes. "DeMatte builds an 80-pound cross and carries it 22 miles. Horvath travels to a mission in Guatemala to work with people living in extreme poverty. Lechniak goes on a retreat and stays with nuns."
The Vatican invented the "vow of celibacy" for priests in order to keep priests from having children. Without heirs, any property owned by priests would always go back to the church.
(Women were accepted by the church as priests until the 4th Century, and even as late as the 1400s some bishops complained that plenty of women were still ordained as priests and were hearing confessions.)
While some Catholic clergy were celibate in the church's early history, the Catholic law of celibacy arrived in fits and starts over many centuries.
One such law was widely ignored in the 9th Century -- a time of outrageous greed, corruption and depravity for the church, although by no means the last dark era for the Vatican.
"Council of Aix-la-Chapelle openly admitted that abortions and infanticide took place in convents and monasteries to cover up activities of uncelibate clerics," says a timeline of the church's History of Celibacy.
"St. Ulrich, a holy bishop, argued from scripture and common sense that the only way to purify the church from the worst excesses of celibacy was to permit priests to marry."
A century earlier, St. Boniface told the pope that in Germany, "almost no bishop or priest was celibate." Similar reports came from all over Europe.
But by the 1500s, only about half of priests were known to be married.
Throughout the church's history, seven popes were known to be married and 11 popes were the sons of Catholic clergy.
Just in the last 900 years, six popes were known to have children.
Nobody knows how many Catholic clergy lived "in sin" with women, whether nuns or civilians, or how many hundreds of thousands of children have been fathered by priests.
But today - even as the Vatican regularly ordains married priests converting from other denominations -- priests of the Western world are expected to be celibate or at least live alone, "married to the church."
For countless thousands of children molested by these priests living an unnatural life, being married to the church hasn't been nearly enough to keep clergy from molesting kids.
Boobs or bishops - give me a sign!