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Should the Catholic Church abolish the rule of Celibacy?

Men-Andri Benz (), Reto Foellmi (), Egon Franck () and Urs Meister ()
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Men-Andri Benz: Simon Kucher & Partners
Urs Meister: Avenir Suisse

No 115, Working Papers from University of Zurich, Institute for Strategy and Business Economics (ISU)

Abstract: 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.

Keywords: Religion; celibacy; strategic resource selection (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2009
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