The Catholic Church officially recognized that it has internal guidelines in place governing procedures when clerics father children, The New York Times reports.
The admission may be the first of its kind and comes days before the Vatican hosts a meeting with bishops from around the world on child sexual abuse within the church.
“I can confirm that these guidelines exist,” Vatican spokesman Alessandro Gisotti told TheNYT in a statement. “It is an internal document.”
The guidelines’ “fundamental principle” is the “protection of the child.” It “requests” that the cleric who fathers a child leave the priesthood to “assume his responsibilities as a parent by devoting himself exclusively to the child,” Gisotti said.
The “request” is a formality, Monsignor Andrea Ripa, the under-secretary in the Congregation for the Clergy, told TheNYT. Mandating the cleric leave the priesthood is impossible, but “if you don’t ask, you will be dismissed.” more here