The Vatican has admitted to having an internal set of guidelines which urge the clergy to “voluntarily” leave their service to the Catholic Church in case they ever father children in violation of their vows of celibacy.
The “internal document” focuses on the “fundamental principle” of child protection by “requesting” the ordained leave the priesthood and “assume his responsibilities as a parent by devoting himself exclusively to the child,” Vatican spokesman Alessandro Gisotti told the New York Times, confirming the existence of the secret internal guidelines.
While the protocol asks clergy to abandon their calling, the “request” is more of a non-binding formality, Monsignor Andrea Ripa, the under-secretary in the Congregation for the Clergy, said, noting that the rule is nearly “impossible to impose.”
The admission to having a clear set of rules governing parental responsibility for clergy comes as a teaser for the Vatican’s upcoming summit on sexual abuse – an issue which has plagued the Holy See for centuries. The first-of-its-kind, three-day meeting of world bishops will aim to address the issues of responsibility, accountability, and transparency when it comes to child protection and sexual predators within the church.
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