Priest suggests pornography is good for clergy to release stress from celibacy

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Priest suggests pornography is good for clergy to release stress from celibacy

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A German priest with a degree in psychology told a German Catholic news outlet that pornography can be a source of relief for celibate clergy and could have positive effects on the sexual life of married couples.

The Rev. Hermann Backhaus, a German priest and psychologist, made the shocking comments during an interview with Katholisch, a German Catholic news website, which asked whether one could be a successful priest or have a happy marriage while consuming pornography.

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Backhaus responded by first admonishing the use of the term “pornographic,” which he said has “a bit of a dirty connotation to it,” before saying that some pornography use could have “positive effects” for priests and married couples alike.

“A certain explicit representation of sexuality in relationships can lead to love life becoming more lively,” Backhaus said. “So there are definitely also positive effects of explicit sexuality in relation to partnership and lived sexuality. With regard to celibate people, the consumption of explicit sexual depictions can have a relieving effect — there is no denying that. But it may of course be that there is individually better relief in this area than pornography.”

The priest’s comments come just weeks after Pope Francis forcefully condemned pornography use and urged priests and religious to avoid consuming it.

“It is a vice that so many people have. So many laymen, so many laywomen, and also priests and nuns. The devil enters from there,” the pope said, before adding that pornography “weakens the priestly heart.”

The pope and Vatican officials have repeatedly admonished the Catholic bishops of Germany in recent months over the latter’s increasingly louder calls for the church to liberalize its moral teachings on a number of topics including contraception and same-sex marriage.

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In July, the Vatican issued a strongly worded statement against the direction the German bishops were taking the church, saying their so-called “Synodal Path” lacked the authority to “initiate new official structures or doctrines in the dioceses prior to an agreed understanding at the level of the universal church.”

Last month, after a series of meetings in the Vatican, Bishop Georg Baetzing, the chairman of the German Bishops’ Conference, attempted to calm fears that the German Catholic church was separating itself from Rome, saying, “We are Catholic, but we want to be Catholic in a different way.”

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