Should the Catholic Church abolish the rule of Celibacy?
Since the Middle Ages, celibacy has been a requirement for those becoming priests in the Roman Catholic Church. In the ongoing discussions about reforms, a wide range of church members have asked for the abolishment of the celibacy requirement in order to meet the changed social and moral standards of believers and to increase the quality and quantity of priests. However, this paper shows that from a strategic point of view, there are good reasons for the Catholic Church to keep, or even to increase, the role of celibacy for its priests. Using celibacy as a resource selection device, it allows the church to credibly signal its religious orientation to believers. Based on a game theoretic model, this paper analyzes the optimal use of celibacy in the market for religious services. Additionally, we discuss the relevant impacts of higher income levels, higher opportunity costs, increased aging and changed moral standards relating to homosexuality.
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- Ekelund, Robert B. & Hebert, Robert F. & Tollison, Robert D. & Anderson, Gary M. & Davidson, Audrey B., 1997. "Sacred Trust: The Medieval Church as an Economic Firm," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780195103373.
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- Eli Berman, 2000.
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Oxford University Press, vol. 115(3), pages 905-953.
- Eli Berman, 1998. "Sect, Subsidy, and Sacrifice: An Economist's View of Ultra-Orthodox Jews," NBER Working Papers 6715, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Azzi, Corry & Ehrenberg, Ronald G, 1975. "Household Allocation of Time and Church Attendance," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 83(1), pages 27-56, February. Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)
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