Priests' 'wives' slam celibacy

2010-06-03 07:02
Rome - Pope Benedict XVI, still struggling to repair the damage wrought by a wave of paedophile scandals, now faces a fresh challenge, from women loved - and often abandoned - by Catholic priests.

About a dozen women have written an open letter to the pope challenging the Church's position that priestly celibacy is a sacred commitment.

"As far as I'm concerned, celibacy is completely useless," said one of the signatories, Stefania Salomone, aged 42, who had a five-year relationship with a priest.

"It was introduced for financial reasons," she argued, alluding to the fact that clergy without family were less expensive to house.

Pointing to the Church's earlier history, she added: "People forget that there were 39 married popes."

The letter was partly a reaction to recent comments by the pope upholding the nearly 900-year-old requirement of celibacy for priests, calling it "the sign of full devotion" and of an "entire commitment to the Lord".

Salomone said: "We told ourselves it was time to react."

Written in March, the letter was initially kept confidential, but late last month it was leaked to news website GlobalPost, and the women decided to tell their stories.

"Only three women agreed to sign the letter by name, because of the fear that if a woman goes public with her story, her companion priest would break up with her," Salomone said.

As a result, the women who decided to go public were speaking about past relationships, she said.

Priest exorcised

Luisa, aged 38, said she had a relationship - and a child - with a priest who is now 35. They met six years ago when he was the priest in a nearby parish.

"He came to live with me," Luisa said. "He told his family that he was living in his parish, and his parish that he was living with his family."

The people in Luisa's village looked the other way, she said, adding that the couple considered joining the Anglican Communion, which allows its priests to marry, so that they could come out of the closet.

But in the end the priest decided to leave Luisa, even before the birth of the child. "It was very hard. His family sent him to an exorcist and accused me of being a witch.

"As for the bishop, he told me to have my child adopted," she said.

Her son is now 20 months old. His purported father saw him for only 10 minutes when he was just two months old: "And that was all," Luisa said, adding that he had refused to acknowledge his paternity.

She said she was disgusted with the attitude of the Catholic Church and decided to have her son baptised in the Anglican Communion.

Shame

Salomone's experience was no less painful.

"It started as a trusting relationship, a relationship typical of those that develop between a priest and those involved in parish activities," she said.

The priest "was unable to accept his feelings. He was very disturbed and didn't know how to react".

Salomone added: "I felt bad because he was ashamed of his feelings. For him, I became a burden, like one person too many. In the end he managed to deny his feelings and soon told me he didn't want to see me anymore."

Salomone has no patience for the Church's doctrinal arguments for celibacy.

"There is no reason in the world to justify anyone forbidding another person a fundamental right," she said.

Even some members of the Catholic hierarchy appear to agree.

At a conference in Austria last month, Bishop Alois Schwarz of the Carinthia diocese urged new discussion of the issue of celibacy and the ordination of married men.

His comments echoed similar views expressed by his colleague, the bishop of Eisenstadt, Paul Iby.

And in March, Vienna Archbishop Christoph Schoenborn even said the Church should take a fresh look at celibacy when considering the possible causes behind the sex abuse scandal.

Click here for the English version of the letter.

Read more on:    pope benedict vxi  |  italy  |  religion
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

 

Inside News24

 
/News
 

Africa: Land of Billionaires!

Find out who are the richest of the richest in Africa!

 
 

Men24.com

Jurassic World trailer is epic!
Best bro movies 2014
Every man should be able to do these three things
Goalkeeper saves five penalties with his FACE!

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Hot festive offers at kalahari.com!

Hurry! Stocks are limited. Don’t miss out. Shop Now!

Save up to 60% on toys!

Don’t miss out on this hot offer, save up to 60% on toys. While stocks last. Shop now!

Festive gifts!

Check out our awesome range of festive gifts to make everyone’s wishes come true. Shop now!

Seen something you like in our catalogue?

Find the perfect gift and save up to R5000 – As seen on the catalogue. Hurry and shop now!

Save up to R2200 on electronics! – As seen in the catalogue

Wishing for tech gadgets this festive? Save up to R2100 on hot tech products at kalahari.com. While stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

You may feel divided. Conflict between mind and emotions can create tension or indecision. This could lead to stressful feelings...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.