By NICOLE WINFIELD, Associated Press
VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Francis’ committee of advisers on protecting children from sexually abusive priests is expanding its workload to include the needs and rights of children fathered by Roman Catholic priests.
Committee members told The Associated Press on Sunday that a working group is looking into developing guidelines that can be used by dioceses around the world to ensure that children born to priests are adequately cared for.
“It’s a horrendous problem in many cultures, and it’s not something that is readily talked about,” commission member Dr. Krysten Winter-Green said.
Indeed, the church has tried to keep such children secret for centuries, because of the scandal of priests breaking their vows of celibacy. But it has gained visibility after Irish bishops published guidelines earlier this year that focused on ensuring the wellbeing of the child and the mother, who often suffer psychological problems from the stigma and silence imposed on them by the church.
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