As a journalist covering religion, I often see the Catholic priesthood up close and personal – usually over a cup of tea, or something stronger, in the presbytery kitchen. Because of the notoriety of my profession I might have expected suspicion, but what I receive is warmth and hospitality. What I never experience is what we have come to call “clericalism”.
On the contrary, I have come to understand that what a celibate has an unsatisfied appetite for is not sex but relationships. Friendships of all kinds. Catholic priests do not like being treated as special, because that stands in the way. They like to explain themselves to anyone who will listen.