I read a book awhile ago written by a Catholic priest from Quebec who had been very influentila in the mid 1800s. His experience at that time was that there was terrible promiscuity among both priests and nuns and great abuses within the church. He was very devout and had been deeply distressed about it throughout his whole career. When he was older, he left the Catholic church reluctantly over political issues, but maintained in his book that a celibate clergy should only be for the very few that want to remain celibate and can without sinning and disgracing the name of God and the church.
Duaa, a 19-year-old university student in Damascus, said she hopes to continue wearing her niqab to classes when the next term begins in Autumn despite the ban.
Otherwise, she said, she will not be able to study.
"The niqab is a religious obligation," said Duaa, who asked that her surname not be used because she was not comfortable speaking publicly on the issue. "I cannot go without it."
Egypt, too, has instigated a similarly limited ban (for university exams), a move opposed by Islamists but upheld by the courts.
Syrian feminists have welcomed the ban, claiming it protects human rights and the secular public space. Much the same has been said about the French ban. Yet it is hard to see how the politicisation of what should be a personal issue can do anything other than give cause for alarm.
"You will always be fond of me. I represent to you all the sins you never had the courage to commit."
Reason is, and ought only to be the slave of the passions, and can never pretend to any other office
than to serve and obey them. - David Hume