Report: Italian women write to pope, asking for review of priestly celibacy

This is, in a word, unusual. From Vatican Insider: 

 The Pope has received a letter signed by 26 Italian women who admit to have feelings for a priest or a monk and are asking for a review of the celibacy law.

“Dear Pope Francis, we are a group of women from all over Italy (and further afield) and are writing to you to break down the wall of silence and indifference that we are faced with every day. Each of us is in, was or would like to start a relationship with a priest we are in love with.” This is the letter’s opening statement. The 26 women signed with just their name and the initial letter of their surname, plus the name of their hometown, but they did write their surnames and telephone numbers on the envelope. All of them claim to be in a relationship with a priest. The women say they are just “a small sample” but add that they are writing on behalf of many other women who are “living in silence.”

“As you are well aware,” the letter reads, “a lot has been said by those who are in favour of optional celibacy but very little is known about the devastating suffering of a woman who is deeply in love with a priest. We humbly place our suffering at your feet in the hope that something may change, not just for us, but for the good of the entire Church.”

The post at Vatican Insider concludes with this reminder:

With regards to celibacy, it is important to note that although Benedict XVI did not alter the traditional position espoused by his predecessors and the Synods of Bishops, in November 2009 opened a small window of opportunity which was nevertheless restricted to Anglican communities intent on entering into communion with the Catholic Church. That year, Benedict XVI promulgated the Apostolic Constitution “Anglicanorum Coetibus”, establishing the Anglo-Catholic Ordinariates. In the second paragraph of Article 6 of the Constitution, having previously emphasized the celibacy rule for the future, the German Pope mentioned the possibility of “admi[tting] married men to the order of presbyter on a case by case basis, according to objective criteria approved by the Holy See.”

As is the case in the Orthodox and Eastern Churches in communion with Rome, ordained priests have never been allowed marry. Men can be admitted to the priesthood if already married (though never the Episopate).

Read the whole thing. 

Given the history noted in the last paragraph, any move that would allow an ordained man to marry would be unprecedented in the Catholic and Orthodox tradition. I can’t see this happening. At all.


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