The Next Great Priestly Scandal: Priests Who Have Fathered Illegitimate Children

The Next Great Priestly Scandal, PDF format

Lawsuits against Priests by Their Lovers and Children

As everyone knows, Roman Catholic priests are forbidden to marry, but have to take a vow of perpetual celibacy.  This unnatural and unbiblical vow (see 1 Tim. 4:1-3) has been the root cause of innumerable sexual sins and crimes throughout Rome’s long history.  The international scandal of tens of thousands of priests being exposed as child sexual abusers in the past few decades has focused the attention of millions on one of the great evils which the taking of such a vow has done so much to promote.

But the sins and crimes go far beyond even this abomination: Roman Catholic priests have also committed sexual sins with other men, particularly other priests, in unnatural sodomite acts; with nuns in convents; with women who confess to them in the confessional; and – not surprisingly – their sexual activity has resulted in the fathering of illegitimate children all over the world.[1]

This scandal really started to come to public attention in 2010, during the pontificate of Benedict XVI, when many former lovers of priests, and their children, prepared to mount lawsuits.[2]

Vatican Admits Having a Document of Guidelines for “Fathers” who Become Fathers

The Roman Catholic news source, Zenit, has now even admitted, “The topic of ‘children of priests’ has long been considered taboo, with the result that often, especially in the past, these children grew up without a known and acknowledged father.”[3]

And the Vatican has also now (in 2019) acknowledged that it actually has a document of guidelines for priests who have violated their vow of celibacy and fathered children.  It is “a document for internal use” and was “not intended for publication”, according to Vatican spokesman Allesandro Gisotti.[4]  No surprise there: the Vatican would have preferred it if there had never been a need to admit to the existence of such a document.  But the scandal is now so huge that it was felt this was the best way forward to try to contain the fallout.  And of course, there was the inevitable spin put on the whole thing: “the fundamental principle behind these lines is the protection of the child,” Gisotti said.  Since when was the priesthood of Rome ever concerned with the welfare of children?  The international revelations of tens of thousands of priests having been found guilty of the sexual abuse of children is sufficient evidence that protecting children has never been the priesthood’s great priority.

Gisotti said, “the document ordinarily requires that the priest present a request for dispensation from the duties of the clerical state and, as a layman, assume his responsibilities as a parent by devoting himself exclusively [to his child].”

For a more detailed explanation, Vatican News spoke with Romish cardinal, Beniamino Stella, the prefect of the Vatican’s “Congregation for the Clergy”, which has the responsibility of dealing with such cases.  He said, “A situation of this kind is considered ‘irreversible’ and requires the priest to abandon the clerical state even if he considers himself fit for ministry.”[5]  In other words, a priest who fathers a child is to cease functioning as a priest and to take up his responsibilities as a father.

Never Mind the Rules: What REALLY Happens to “Fathers” who Become Fathers

That is the “official” procedure.  But is it always followed?  Despite very large numbers of priests fathering children, it is almost unheard of for a priest to be removed from his priestly work so as to take up his parental responsibilities!  And in fact, when he was asked, “Are these rules applied always and everywhere?” the cardinal had to admit, “Sometimes it happens that bishops or religious superiors present the situation of priests who do not intend to ask for the dispensation, even when there are children, especially when the affective relationship with their mother has ended.  In such cases, there are, unfortunately, bishops and superiors who think that, after having provided economically for the children, or after having transferred the priest, the cleric could continue to exercise the ministry” (emphasis added).

Never mind what the rules say: priests who father children are very often (not “sometimes”) simply transferred elsewhere, where they continue to work as priests.  This transferring of problem priests is an age-old matter: ex-priest Charles Chiniquy was writing about it in the nineteenth century, it was common then, and has always been common.  Far easier to simply transfer a problem priest to where he is unknown, than to suffer shame and scandal.  It has happened countless times, when priests have affairs, or when they abuse children, or when they father a child.

“It is the Next Scandal.  There are Children Everywhere.”

The New York Times first reported on the Vatican guidelines for priests who father children.  One of those they interviewed was Vincent Doyle, an Irish psychotherapist who established “Coping International”, a support group for children of Roman Catholic priests worldwide.  Although psychotherapy is dangerous in itself, to be shunned by all true Christians, the point here is that the issue of the illegitimate children of priests is large enough for worldly people to feel that such a “support group” is needed.  Doyle put it very bluntly: “It is the next scandal [to hit the Roman Catholic priesthood].  There are kids [of priests] everywhere.”[6]

Doyle himself is the son of a priest in Ireland.  He only learned the truth when he was in his late 20s.  Sadly, he has remained a Roman Catholic, which goes to show the immense power of this religion over its people.  He said, “I’m doing this because I love Catholicism.  I just don’t like the fact that my faith is being used to keep the children of priests secret.”[7]

So just how widespread is the problem?