The earthquake of scandal has passed; it is now
the season of aftershocks. These range from painfully unsettling to operatic.
In the latter category belongs an
open letter to the Pope
from concubines of Italian priests who demand an
end to priestly celibacy. Twelve women have signed the letter, although only
three, Antonella Carisio, Maria Grazia Filippucci and Stefania Salomone, have
appended their names because their relationship is over. The others fear that arrangement
with their current partners will be compromised. The AFP
news agency
describes it as “a fresh challenge,
from women loved — and often abandoned — by Catholic priests.”

The letter declares that a priest who falls in love is faced with three
painful options: to abandon the woman, to live under the shadow of secrecy or
to abandon the priesthood. “Each of these options
causes great pain to the people involved who, things going as they do, have
much to lose.” The authors buttress romantic arguments with theological ones
drawn from the a book by ex-priest and ex-Catholic Eugen Drewermann, a
long-time critic of what he calls the Vatican’s psychologically cruel and
mentally enslaving clergy ideal.

A blog
comment on the letter
offers an obvious response which the Pope may be too
tactful to mention: “Seems to me that a married man (or woman) who falls in
love with another woman is in the same situation, faced with the same choices.
So basically we need to give up monogamy altogether.”

Michael Cook

Michael Cook is the editor of MercatorNet. He lives in Sydney, Australia.