• Germany's news in English
 
app_header_v3

Priest asks Pope to waive his celibacy vow

Alex Evans · 29 Apr 2014, 08:00

Published: 29 Apr 2014 08:00 GMT+02:00

Stefan Hartmann's letter to the Vatican, which he posted on his Facebook page, requested release 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".

The 59-year-old, whose parish is in Oberhaid in north Bavaria, claims superiors recommended he rescind his own ordination after he revealed on a TV talkshow in January he had secretly fathered a daughter in 1989, eight years after vowing celibacy at Trier cathedral.

But Hartmann wants to remain and leave the oath behind.

"I still feel it is my calling to be a Catholic priest, a pastor and a theologian," he said in the letter.

In a foreword to the open letter, Hartmann said a positive response from Pope Francis, setting a precedent for 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 wrote.

He added it could boost faltering numbers of young Catholics training for ordination, along with allowing back into the priesthood many ministers who had been forced to make a "painful exit" from the Church under similar circumstances to his.

Hartmann said he had been unable to stay in a relationship with the mother of his child and had kept the affair a secret to protect his career.

"After that 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 said.

"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."

Hartmann said, although he has no marriage plans as yet, the request was "above all to allow me to go into a marital partnership into which my daughter can be integrated as part of a family".

The Catholic leadership has as yet made no move to release priests from celibacy, but Vatican expert Andreas Englisch told Austrian paper the Kurier this month the question was among the changes Francis is most likely to make in coming years.

Pope Francis, who replaced Benedict XVI after the latter resigned in February 2013, has a reputation as a progressive church leader.

SEE ALSO: Cardinal offends with Muslim birth rate remark

For more news from Germany, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

Alex Evans (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
German populist party in race row over Boateng remarks
Boateng, who has a Ghanaian father, was born and brought up in Berlin. Photo: DPA

A leading member of the right-wing populist Alternative for Germany (AfD) party sparked outrage Sunday after making racist remarks about national football team defender Jerome Boateng.

Dozens hit by lightning strike in west Germany
Witnesses to the lightning strike said it came out of the blue. Photo: DPA

35 people were injured in the west German village of Hoppstädten when lightning struck the pitch at the end of a children's football match.

Dresden 'most woman-friendly’ city in Germany
Photo: DPA.

Sorry Berlin, you're not the most progressive city for women, according to a new report.

The future belongs to these 10 German regions
This east German city won the 'most improved' category. Photo: DPA

A new study shows that one city above all will dominate the future of Germany, but if you're canny you might still want to think about moving to Leipzig or Erfurt.

Fugitive ex-terrorists 'on huge crime spree' in north Germany
(L-r): ex-RAF members Volker Staub, Daniela Klette, and Burkhard Garweg. Photo: BKA

In their struggle against capitalism they once murdered businessmen and politicians. Now three ex-terrorists have taken to robbing supermarkets - and rather successfully, too.

Scooter singer finally reveals how much the fish cost
H.P. Baxxter. Photo: DPA

It is the question Germans have wanted to know the answer to for almost two decades - and now they have the answer, thanks to a US talkshow host.

'I'm definitely not a paedophile': disgraced MP
Former MP Sebastian Edathy is in hiding after a child pornography scandal destroyed his career. Photo: DPA

Former MP Sebastian Edathy quit his job and left Germany after videos of naked children were found on his computer.

Weekend promises storms, humidity - and a bit of sun
A storm in Cuxhaven last weekend. Photo: DPA

The forecast for the coming days isn’t the pristine blue skies many of us are longing for. But, in among the storms, the sun will still peek out.

Prosecutors take aim at unedited Hitler book
An original edition of 'Mein Kampf' featuring a photo of Hitler on an inside cover. Photo: DPA

German prosecutors said on Thursday they were investigating whether to bring charges against a publisher who has promised to print a version of Adolf Hitler's anti-Semitic manifesto "Mein Kampf" without annotations.

VW bets on battery factory for electric car dominance
A VW logo is seen in front of a plugged-in electric car. Photo: DPA

Scandal-hit car giant Volkswagen is set to sink huge sums into building a factory for batteries to power its future electric cars, German media reported on Friday.

Sponsored Article
Eat, learn, live: unforgettable holidays in France
Society
Pegida enraged by black children on chocolate bars
Health
New father's tragic herpes warning touches 1000s online
National
Monsanto takeover would be 'diabolical': environmentalists
Lifestyle
10 fascinating facts you never knew about Berlin
Politics
MP recites explicit Erdogan bestiality poem on live TV
National
China beats Germany in readiness to help refugees
Hamburg
Headless Lübeck corpse turns out to be discarded sex doll
National
Pensioner claims to have found hidden Nazi nukes
Business & Money
Here's why Munich is worth 20 times more than Berlin
Culture
Five sure-fire ways to impress Germans with your manners
Lifestyle
6 things about Munich that will stay with you forever
Technology
Church plans to connect with faithful at Wi-Fi 'Godspots'
Technology
Online hate speech can cost users thousands of Euros
Society
Bavarians in rush for non-lethal weapons licenses
Sport
Here's Germany's Mannschaft for Euro 2016
Culture
The Syrian pianist playing his way into Germans' hearts
The parrot who flew fast enough to trigger a speed camera
Technology
New law could let free Wi-Fi bloom across Germany
Politics
Berlin's plans to beef up the German army
Sport
Lufthansa's Euro 2016 ad takes aim at England
National
Supermarkets must pay massive fine for fixing beer prices
National
4/20: Five things to know about weed in Germany
Berlin
Police break up hipster swarm at vegan restaurant opening
7,842
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd