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German priest writes Pope, seeks release from celibacy vow

April 30, 2014

A German priest has written to Pope Francis, asking to be released from his vow of celibacy “in acknowledgement of my weaknesses and failures.”

Father Stefan Hartmann, who has admitted that he is the father of a child, said that he has been unable to maintain a commitment to celibacy. “I still feel it is my calling to be a Catholic priest, a pastor and a theologian,” he wrote.

The German priest said that he was making the request personally, rather than calling for a change in the rule of priestly celibacy. Nevertheless he said that relaxing the requirement of celibacy could help solve the shortage of priests, and claimed that a “human right to partnership, marriage, and parenthood” is at stake.


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  • Posted by: hartwood01 - May. 03, 2014 1:12 PM ET USA

    We will continue to have a shortage of priests if the celibacy vow is not optional.Look to the Anglican Catholic branch for guidance. Our current clergy know this.

  • Posted by: jimr451 - May. 01, 2014 2:55 PM ET USA

    So his daughter is 25 years old, and now he wants her to be "integrated as part of a family." Seems a little bit late if you ask me. Revealing this on a TV talk show also makes me wonder about his sincerity.

  • Posted by: TheJournalist64 - Apr. 30, 2014 7:41 PM ET USA

    The trickle of people who think this Pope will relax disciplines with respect to marriage, family life, priesthood, etc will become a flood if he permits things like this. In that respect, the teaching of the Church is very monolithic. Pull out one stone and the rest are weakened.