German priest asks pope to waive his vow of celibacy
Priest sends written request after revealing he has fathered a child since ordination
May 2, 2014
A German Catholic priest who revealed on a TV talk show that he fathered an illegitimate daughter eight years after vowing celibacy wrote a letter asking Pope Francis to release him from his oath.
Stefan Hartmann, who has a parish in Oberhaid, claims his superiors asked him to leave the priesthood after he revealed the truth about his daughter.
The 59-year-old posted the letter he wrote to the Vatican on his Facebook page. “There is a human right to partnership, marriage and starting a family, even if you can voluntarily waive it for religious reasons,” Hartmann wrote.
Hartmann asked Pope Francis for “a positive answer” that would allow him to remain a priest despite renouncing his celibacy vows. Such a decision would “bring solutions and relief in many cases,” Hartmann wrote.
“I tried to walk the road of celibacy again, but since 2007 I have realized more and more that I am just not up to it," he wrote. "I have known for some years now that the oath I took after just two and a half years of seminary training was too rushed, and did not reflect the constitution of my character."
Despite his mistake, Hartmann still feels it is his “calling to be a Catholic priest, a pastor and a theologian.”
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