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Women Who Have Affairs With Priests Write Open Letter to Pope

Love Letter to Rome: Women Say Priests Need Them

European men have a reputation for keeping mistresses, and in Italy, that includes the Catholic priests. In parishes, rumors spread that local priests have unholy relations with women presented as their housekeepers or cousins. One woman explains, "Years ago, we had a priest here, Don Giorgio, he was a schoolteacher. The kids liked him and so did their mothers." Mon dio.

The women who love priests say they've been forced to stay in the shadows, even though the Church hierarchy knows about the affairs. "Bishops know that priests are not celibate, but they don't care about this." One woman who had a relationship with a priest for five years tells NPR. "They say, please do what you want but do it anonymously, nobody has to know, otherwise scandals arise and we cannot afford this, so please do what you want but don't let the world know about this, and [most] of all don't make it children." So priests can use birth control or are they talking about pedophilia?

Like any marginalized group, the mistresses have started a website for support. And in an open letter to Pope Benedict XVI, the say a priest "needs to live with his fellow human beings, experience feelings, love and be loved." They might be right. Mental health counselor and former monk Richard Sipe compares forced celibacy to an alcoholic practicing sobriety without any support.

While it's clear the Church is hanging on to celibacy for now, evidence suggests that the male-dominated leadership will let the clergy have sex before they let women become priests.

Join The Conversation
mix-tape mix-tape 7 years
Cotedazur, I agree with you, but I just think if you knowingly go into a profession where these are the rules set forth, you should be willing to follow them. No, having sex doesn't distract you from serving God, but that's what the Catholic church says. If it's such a difficult thing to do why don't they just serve God another way?
cotedazur cotedazur 7 years
I think this practice is so outdated. Humans are not made to live in celibacy, especially men. What I think is worst here is that there is no religious precedent for this ridiculous rule about priests not marrying. It's not in the bible -- the first popes were married -- in fact, it's only really been in place for about 1000 years. Also, being married doesn't prevent leaders from any other religion from "devoting their lives to God," as mix tape said.
postmodernsleaze postmodernsleaze 7 years
mix-tape mix-tape 7 years
Isn't the whole point of becoming a priest/nun to devote your life to God? Wouldn't allowing them to have public relationships defeat the purpose of their life's mission? In fact, they are letting "sin" rule their life even more so than secular citizens by having to hide their mistresses and go against their promises. This seems silly.
Love-and-Sex Love-and-Sex 7 years
Ah ha! Good point, dexaholic.
xgreenfairyx xgreenfairyx 7 years, let's cover up/consider/support priests having relationships, but not nuns? I don't support religion, period, but let's not pretend women struggle any less under similar conditions. Silliness.
dexaholic dexaholic 7 years
""...and [most] of all don't make it children." So priests can use birth control?" I think what they are saying there is to stay away from children (aka don't be a pedophile), not to not have children. At least that's how I read it.
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