Want a human story on priestly celibacy? Talk to someone who paid the price.
I am very disappointed by the news that Pope Francis will not relax the rules for priestly celibacy in the remote areas of the Amazon. The idea – aimed at facilitating the appointment of priests in areas of poor service – was supported by the Vatican Conference in October, but in its papal document, released on Wednesday, Francis ignored their proposal.
My interest in this is not the mild curiosity of a collapsed Catholic. I am a child priest who broke his vow of celibacy and left a legacy of secrecy that was devastating for him and my mother, especially for me.
To hide my broken father’s vow, I was told that I was adopting. I didn’t even know that I was thirty-five that my adoptive mother was actually my grandmother and my adopted sister was, in fact, my mom. But until then, I had not told the whole truth. At that time, I was told that my father was a Pennsylvania businessman.
If I only knew that my real father was the beloved young shepherd of our local Polish diocese in Norwood, Massachusetts, was a regular guest at our home, we attended the weekly mass in his church. He died at the end of my student year at Smith College. I didn’t even know that at the age of 50, on the day of my mother’s funeral, the man I adored as “Pate” – is my surname, an acronym for Latin My parents – And the community was known as “Father Hiep” it was my father.
I was more fortunate than most of the priests. The man and woman I now know and have religion for me, and they choose to raise me, feed me, and in the depths of the Depression, give me a normal life as much as they can through a complex web of secrecy. My father chose to take part in my life. He referred to himself as “The Guardian”, and I discovered after my mother’s death that he was legally holding this title.
However, all secrecy affected a sensitive child. I knew I was somewhat different. I instinctively knew that there were things I could not accidentally mention – the repetition that my mom and I met alone, for example, including trips to Boston for dinner. Secret has become the second nature.
I was well trained in the veneration of priests, so the idea that Pat literally gave birth to me never occurred to me. I admire and saw him a lot, but he was a parish priest and “trustee”.
After his death, the floors were folded at night, and I witnessed something I was not talking about. It was depression. At that point in my life, I had no idea he was my father, but his death had a profound effect on me. Desperate to keep my grant, I kept my depression Hidden – a lifelong habit that led to thoughts of suicide before I could break free from it. This affected my marriage, parenting and my creative use of good mind and education. I felt fired and unworthy.
I am also sad how the secret affected my father. My father passed away at the age of 47, kept in a small parish and unable to fulfill his greatest aspirations. Was my existence related to the fact that, as a mutual friend later told me, he was transferred to a position in a larger and more challenging parish? I will never know and can only speculate. My mom was burdened with her death with the fact that she had never shared it with me or the husband I married six years after Pat’s death.
I am one of 50,000 people from 175 countries He is reported to visit Coping International, a website of the children of priests. I expect there will be a wide spectrum of stories, many of which are much more difficult and have not been solved more painfully than my stories.
Some are denied their identities and recognized by their parents ’families. Others are completely rejected by their parents and witness the hardships of their mothers ’complex lives. These experiences shape us and stay with us.
I consider celibacy as a serious and valid religious practice If entered willingly. It must be available to those who seriously want to live a celibate life. For nine centuries, this was the rule of all Roman Catholic priests, and it must cease. To live alone and participate in reluctance is to deny the primary motivation. Not everyone makes a beautiful priest made for celibacy.
While I was happy to see the church grapple with the issue, letting married priests in remote areas was a small step. Little could have been done to confront the root of the problem: the human losses that imposed celibacy on priests and others around them.
what should I do? We must lift the veil of secrecy and shed light on children born under the celibacy rules. speak with us. Help us restore our identity and restore our estranged families, and help us get rid of “scoundrels”. Help us heal.
He joined us in urging Pope Francis to reform celibacy, so that no other child would suffer.
Mimi Paul is the author of “Celibacy, A Love Story: Memoirs of a Catholic Priest’s Daughter.”