May 28th, 2010
09:21 AM ET

Open letter to pope urges end to celibacy

About a dozen Italian women have posted an open letter to the pope on the internet in which they claim to have had intimate relationships with priests and urge the church to abolish celibacy for Catholic clergy.

The letter was posted on an Italian online forum in March but was not picked up in the media until Global Post, an international news website, reported on it this week.

"The priest, like every human being, needs to live with his kindred, to experience feelings, to love and be loved, and also to conform deeply with another, something which he is hardly willing to do for fear of exposing himself to danger," the letter says.

The group calls celibacy a man-made law that needs revisiting and adapting to the times.

"We wonder if, like all man-made laws, at a certain time, in a certain historic time, it is not the case to discuss it again and change it or even, as we hope, completely abolish it."

Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi had no comment on the matter Friday.

- CNN's Hada Messia contributed to this report.

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Filed under: Church Abuse • Vatican
soundoff (16 Responses)
  1. damiao

    At the beggining of Chatolicism the priests were married, but nowadays we see the pedophilia cases involving Catholic priest, that's it.

    May 28, 2010 at 9:31 am | Report abuse |
  2. charles

    An 8th century pope started the celibacy doctrine so that the children of priests would not inherit church property.

    The result? victims of priests own it thru law suits 1300 years later.

    May 28, 2010 at 10:49 am | Report abuse |
    • Art

      The celibacy should be changed to abortion rights for all catholic women and adopt the China one child policy. It is time to make laws that will save humanity instead of destroy it.

      October 7, 2010 at 3:00 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Peache

    As I understand it from an Art History Teacher who studied in Italy, the Pope needed money for the Church after the Crusades had put the Catholic Church in debt and the Priest, back then, were primarily real Princes and Nobility who were wealthy and married and left their fortunes to their widows and children, and the Pope decided that if they weren't married, they would leave their fortunes to the Church, but, alas, not to be.... as their parents gave them a lifetime income instead of a fortune or property, without a wife and children to leave it to when they died... So, it is certainly well past time to get rid of this Celibacy rule that prevents Priest and Nuns from getting married and having families of their own. The primary reason so many Catholic Priest & Nuns have left the Catholic Church for Protestant Churches...

    May 28, 2010 at 11:01 am | Report abuse |
  4. Michele

    The Catholic church needs so much reform. People are leaving in droves because of how behind the times we are as Catholics. Priests should be allowed to be married. It is a part of life that can not counsel on, because they have no life experience. We need to bring people back to church...priets shoudl marry, you should be able to remarry if you are a divorcied person in church, the entire structure of the local Archdioeses need to reshaped. The church needs to be open to change.

    May 28, 2010 at 11:24 am | Report abuse |
  5. j melaver

    If you think the church will change you're only kidding yourself! As they say where I come from, "Fat Chance"!!!

    May 28, 2010 at 1:14 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Darryl

    Forced Celibacy in the Catholic church started approximately in 1074 A.D. Hardly something that Christ wanted.

    1 Tim 4:1-3 Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; ... Forbidding to marry, [and commanding] to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth.

    May 28, 2010 at 2:25 pm | Report abuse |
  7. k

    Why doesn't the Catholic church come around and do as the Orthodox church does, allow Priests to marry. Do you ever hear about anyone from the Orthodox church molesting children. Maybe they need to look to an older religion to see the errors in their ways. Time to move with the times? No, the times weren't always like this. Time to evaluate the problems with the Catholic Church and the leadership they are under instead of moving the problems around.

    May 28, 2010 at 3:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • cpan

      The church didn't want the assets of the priest to go to the wife, and they didn't want the responsiblity of the wife/kids if the priest died. That's why the Celibacy.

      May 28, 2010 at 3:19 pm | Report abuse |
  8. leighw79

    The reason for the celibacy was for the church to keep ALL the land for themselves. If a priest had a wife and son, then the son would inherit the land and the church would lose it. Greed. That's why celibacy is required.

    May 28, 2010 at 5:40 pm | Report abuse |
  9. gerald

    These ladies should read their bibles. Celibacy is a gift from God to some if you read Matt 19 where Peter asks, "then it is better not to marry". Jesus doesn't say "wrong peter, they need to be with their kindred". He says "to some this has been GIVEN for the kingdom". I think Jesus is a little wiser than these people.

    May 28, 2010 at 6:43 pm | Report abuse |
  10. gerald

    K, In fact if you do a search on google for orthodox priest and pedophile you will find that there are many cases there as well. PORKOV dot torg should be an interesting site for you. You hear about the Catholic Church because it is much bigger and more in the scrutiny of the world. Remember when you point a finger there are three pointing back at you. The percentage of priests who have committed this crime is small. Celibacy has little if anything to do with it as the great majority of priests are true to their vows. They are not forced to make them but choose to and God gives the grace to live it. Celibacy goes all the way back to Christ and the apostles.

    May 28, 2010 at 6:49 pm | Report abuse |
  11. gerald

    This church property thing sounds good to you all and I won't say it wasn't ever a part of the reason for celibacy. However celibacy is rooted in scripture in Matt 19, 1 Cor 7 and in revelations. Can't recall the chapter. 5 or 8. Many of the prophets of old were celibate. Some of the Apostles were if not most. Anybody here about their wives? Did Jesus just have them walk out on them? Peter had been married but it appears his wife may have died as he is living with his mother and brother (andrew). John the baptist was celibate. Others in the old testament such as samuel.

    May 28, 2010 at 6:54 pm | Report abuse |
  12. XMH III

    Many of the apostles were not with Family because when the call came from the lips of the son of God... they followed.. severing all ties... dropping what they were doing at the time to do what the WORD asked of them. However that does not mean that they were unmarried. Remember there were MANY followers of Christ Not JUST his 12

    September 17, 2010 at 3:46 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Rock God

    I wish I had a dollar for every priest I've blown.

    September 19, 2010 at 3:25 am | Report abuse |
  14. Bubbababy

    Celibacy is not condoned in the Bible: KJ-it is called "doctrines of devils" and we see the results, don't we?
    "1Tm:4:1: Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;
    1Tm:4:2: Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron;
    1Tm:4:3: Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth."

    September 27, 2010 at 11:39 pm | Report abuse |