A MISSIONARY priest who has saved hundreds of children from a life of sexual abuse has described celibacy in the Catholic Church as a "business arrangement" that will soon be a thing of the past.
Fr Shay Cullen has earned three Nobel Peace Prize nominations during his 40 years fighting to save small children from paedophiles on the streets of the city Olongapo in the Philippines.
"Celibacy is only a practice mostly to keep property out of the hands of married couples," he said. "It's more sort of a business type of arrangement.
"All of the other Christian churches manage very well and many Anglicans who were married and had family and children and came over to the Catholics and were warmly accepted.
"Now we have many married priests in the Catholic Church and it is working, so why not?
"It is only another step to abolishing this celibate thing and getting on with life."
The unconventional cleric told Gay Byrne in last night's episode of his TV interview series 'The Meaning of Life' that his faith kept him from being frightened away by the local mafia and the anger of the former first lady when he exposed the rape of Filipino children to the rest of the world.
He said: "I just couldn't ignore it but I got the heat for it. Imelda (Marcos) wasn't pleased, the wife.
"They started to deport me and put me on trial and all these legal harassments. We succeeded in beating the raps in the court so I stayed on.
"I like to think of God in terms of the existence of eternal goodness and the power and the force of love."
In the frank interview, he said he currently has 35 cases going through the courts in his adopted country.
"I never doubt what I am doing. It is the right thing to do. Nearly every new day we have some new case of the rape of a child. It's terrible. I see torture, abuse, human rights violations every day.