German Catholic Priest Asks Pope Francis To Waive His Vow Of Celibacy

Well, this is interesting. I’ve never heard of a priest doing this before.
He makes some good points.
He seeks a new “path” that combines the two–fatherhood and fatherhood.
Celibacy as a priest is a requirement the pope can change, right?

German Catholic Priest, Stefan Hartmann, Asks Pope Francis To Waive His Vow Of Celibacy

German priest Stefan Hartmann has sent a personal petition to Pope Francis asking him to waive his vow of celibacy, which he posted on his Facebook page.

As Francis continues his leadership of the Catholic Church, many have wondered whether there will be a change in the requirement of priestly celibacy, a practice which has gone on for hundreds of years.

Hartmann secretly fathered a daughter in 1989, eight years after he took his vow of celibacy, reports The Local.de. He revealed her existence on a televised talk show in January of this year, causing his superiors to ask him to step down from his position. However, he seeks a path which will allow him to remain a priest while raising his daughter in a family.

In the letter, Hartmann asked to be released from the traditional oath “in acknowledgement of my weaknesses and failures, with all due humility and after long consideration of my conscience and personal situation.”

In another post about priestly celibacy, Hartmann argues that allowing Catholic priests to remain ordained outside of celibacy vows would “bring solutions and relief in many cases.”

"There is a human right to partnership, marriage and parenthood, even if you can forego it willingly for religious reasons,” he said.

Hartmann also believes that abolishing the requirement for priestly celibacy** could encourage more young Catholics to enter the priesthood,** at a time when numbers are flagging.

Francis reportedly addressed the issue last week during a conversation with a bishop from Brazil, Austrian-born Erwin Krautler. Krautler’s diocese faces a shortage of priests, with just 27 meeting the needs of 700,000 Catholics. According to Krautler, “The pope explained that he could not take everything in hand personally from Rome. We local bishops, who are best acquainted with the needs of our faithful, should be ‘corajudos,’ that is ‘courageous’ in Spanish, and make concrete suggestions.”

Francis’ secretary of state, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, also seemed open to the idea of discussing a change in the policy towards married priests when he explained last fall that celibacy "is not a church dogma and it can be discussed because it is a church tradition.”

Eastern Catholic churches in the Middle East and Europe ordain married men, a practice which has gone on for hundreds of years. In 2009, Pope Benedict XVI allowed married Anglican converts to become Catholic priests.

German media outlets reported that the response to Hartmann’s letter has been largely postive. The Vatican has yet to respond.

huffingtonpost.com/2014/04/29/stefan-hartmann-pope-francis-priest-celibacy_n_5233981.html?ir=Religion

The celibacy requirement isn’t stopping huge numbers of men from joining seminaries in Africa and Asia. In general, there are certain seminaries which are having a vocations boom and other seminaries which are not, so it should be looked at what is happening in the seminaries with the high level of vocations, what are they doing, what is the diocese doing that is perhaps different to other seminaries.

The celibacy requirement isn’t stopping huge numbers of men from joining seminaries in Africa. In general, there are certain seminaries which are having a vocations boom and other seminaries which are not, so it should be looked at what is happening in the seminaries with the high level of vocations, what are they doing, what is the diocese doing that is perhaps different to other seminaries.

We are happy about large scale vocation. However it is the duty of the Church to ensure proper briefing,proper training,proper orientaion while they are oin seminary. Lack of this will bring about chaos and disappointment later. Like premarital counseling there should be longer pre seminary counseling which can give all knowlefge of the sacredness of priesthood,sacredness and accountability about their priestly vow etc etc. It is celebacy for thekingdom of God ,like fidelity of spouses . Priest has to consciously accept Christ as the bridegroom to be joined in heaven. Presentday pleasure culture is a great impediment and destraction. Prayer,fasting and serving with determination only can help.
.

No one is forcing him to not find the woman if his dreams and have children, but he should have considered that prior to becoming a priest. He either remains celibate or he finds a new career.

I think there’s two different discussions here: 1) Is the more general discussion about allowing married men to be ordained priests and 2) Is this particular priest’s situation.

Addressing number 2 first:
I haven’t read the letter, but from the article, the priest seems sincere in that he recognizes he messed up in a big way, but now feels an obligation to the child. However, I think for him to completely circumvent his superiors and go directly to the pope is off touch. He should privately address the matter with his bishop, not post it on Facebook. He’s not doing his daughter any good by making a public scene about the situation. I imagine Pope Francis will either ignore or dismiss this letter, as he probably should. If we set the precedent that priests can just go to the pope and circumvent the bishop, then we’re going to have an overburdened pope and a lot of bishops wondering what exactly their role is if they can be circumvented.

That being said, I do feel for this priest. He made a very terrible mistake, but seems remorseful. Unfortunately, he cannot have his cake and eat it too. He needs to decide whether he will be a father or a priest. It would seem since he has gone public with this, that he may be forced to be laicized at this point.

In regards to question 1, this situation really has nothing to do with the priest because he’s already a priest. Allowing married men to become priests is different from allowing priests to get married. There’s tradition for the former, not the latter.

Prayers for all involved!

The vow of celibacy is widely disregarded by male clergy in Africa.

He has an obligation to his daughter and her mother. She is an adult now, but he still needs to set things right. Why can’t he step down and become a deacon? They
are allowed to marry. He would lose some authority, but he can still serve God.

I’m so glad he came out and stopped living that lie, but couldn’t it set a bad precedent for priests? Now some could possibly TRY to father a child while they are ordained, just with the ultimate goal of having their vow of celibacy waived? I don’t know, I’m just thinking aloud :shrug:

It just seems at first glance that this man who happens to be a priest and has broken his vow of celibacy so much that he fathered a child and wants even less restraint now and believes his “obligations” as a daddy should be compelling enough to move the hands of the Church in his “favor” so he can have more sex without so much guilt! Come on. If he had hung his head in shame and remorse, maybe. But his “appeal” is clearly done to push the envelope regarding an issue he obviously hasn’t taken very seriously anyway.

I for one wouldn’t want him as my parish priest. I want a priest who is actually working on becoming holy and a sexually active priest isn’t to say the least. In fact, it is historical that the vow of celibacy and their lack of freedom to marry as priests has been used as a smoke screen to relieve them of having to marry any woman they take advantage of to the point of fathering children. More than one woman has been dismissed in disgrace because she fell for a priest and his seductions. This German’s complaints aren’t anything new.

Glenda

I’ll pray for this spiritual father of mine; I’m no expert and, considering what everyone else has said, I have no idea what’s the best thing for him to do. He made himself /one flesh/ with a woman after giving himself in a comparable way to God alone. And he may not have understood what he was doing either time; he described celibacy as simply “foregoing marriage for religious reasons”, which isn’t the essence of it at all, and as far as I know, he’s only mentioned his obligation to his daughter, not to the woman he got with child (both of those obligations should have been mentioned a long time ago).

I can relate, on a small scale; I’ve said prayers before without knowing what they mean (Spiritual Communions, or the prayer of consecration to God’s Merciful Love), and only realized later what I’d put on myself. But now my problems are the opposite kind - realizing what a huge thing a vow is, or even a prayer, and being almost too scared to make any.

Married men become deacons, but deacons do not get married.

In the Roman Church, one does not marry after holy orders.

I would imagine that if this happened to any appreciable extent, the response of the Church would be suspension of the clerics involved.

The Church is not going to reward the misconduct of its servants by giving them what they want.

ICXC NIKA

Minor nit, but “male clergy” is redundant.

Clergy are the ordained, who in the Catholic Church, are always male.

ICXC NIKA

I do not know if it is ‘widely disregarded.’

The “child” is 25 years old. His “fathering” window is long over in terms of child rearing.
Looks like he’s trying to make a name for himself, and thinks Francis will go for it.
Probably not.
A priest friend of mine said:

  • “If they allow married priests, I’m out of here. I made a huge, and willing, sacrifice. Toss it out? No way. I believe in the vows I made and the reasons why they are good. To say “it was all for nothing” would devastate me.”*

…"seemed open to the idea of discussing a change in the policy towards married priests when he explained last fall that celibacy "is not a church dogma and it can be discussed because it is a church tradition."

If priestly celibacy is not dogma but (t)radition which can be altered, then that opens the door to married Priests.

Although I may disagree with him I’m hearing what he is pointing out…Loophole!!!

Why is celibacy not dogma? :eek:

Why is celibacy a changeable tradition?

If married Priests is a possibility… Are you open to the possibility?

I’m reeling because I always thought ‘priestly celibacy’ was dogma and could not be changed.

The question of Priestly Celibacy was brought up recently (2005 Synod of Bishops – Proposition 11) in the context of possibly addressing the shortage of Priests. A critical problem for the Church. The importance of Celibacy was affirmed, again. IMO, this should tell us this answer regarding this issue.

Proposition 11 said the lack of priests was a cause of “acute pain,” but added: "In this context, the synod fathers affirmed the importance of the inestimable gift of ecclesiastical celibacy in the practice of the Latin Church."

www.catholicnews.com/data/stories/cns/0506007.htm

Devils Advocate here. :stuck_out_tongue:

Strictly speaking priestly celibacy is still not dogma. As confirmed by Vatican secretary of state, Cardinal Pietro Parolin in the OP.

Which means it can be discussed and changed if agreed upon. (t) tradition has changed over centuries.

My burning question is why it hasn’t been made dogma?

Right. In no place did I state it was dogma. A Synod of Bishops wouldn’t be proposed the question of the possibility of changing a dogma to address a problem. :slight_smile:

This may be a good question for a thread. :thumbsup:

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