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Prominent Chicago priest accused in 1974 child sex assault

FILE - In this Jan. 28, 1991 file photo, Rev. George Clements receives the names of relatives serving in the Persian Gulf War from his parishioners in Chicago. The Archdiocese of Chicago says the retired priest who made national headlines when he became the first Catholic priest to adopt a child is under investigation for allegedly sexually abusing a minor in 1974. The archdiocese in a news release says Cardinal Blase Cupich asked Clements to step aside from ministry pending the outcome of the investigation. (AP Photo/Fred Jewell File)

Regarding “List of clergy accused of child abuse in St. Louis includes 26 names not publicized before” ( Aug. 4): As a psychologist who has taught human sexuality at the college level, I marvel that any religion would require a sexless life from its clergy. Think about it: a young male cannot have sex in his fantasies; he cannot have sex with anyone else, and having sex with himself is a terrible sin. His most powerful drive has no outlet.

Moreover, isn’t he required to listen to the sexual confessions of other people on a regular basis? Men who sign on for this will often have problems that predate their entry into the priesthood. Those who manage to avoid sexual contact will need remarkable controls and stability. The ones without this stability may look for clandestine sexual opportunities. Who better to choose than those innocents who cannot tell? Child abuse will never stop as long as priests are required to be celibate. I am angry at those who continue this perverse requirement, angry for those children who are set up for damage. I thank the Post-Dispatch for pursuing this issue in their place.

Elizabeth Powell • St. Louis County