February 26, 2019
By Mary Sanchez
In the early 1980s, Americans were absorbed by the forbidden love of a dashingly handsome Roman Catholic cardinal and the equally beguiling woman with whom he’d fathered a child.
Would the cleric, Ralph de Bricassart, renounce his holy orders and forego the riches and power of his position at the Vatican for the love of a woman? Would he join his beloved Meggie Cleary and her son, the young man he adored, who was in fact his son too?
Alas, “The Thorn Birds” was a television miniseries, after “Roots” the most watched of its time.
The romance was so alluring because the love was forbidden. Yet even to my then young Catholic mind it seemed quite plausible. Of course priests sometimes violate the discipline of celibate chastity, fall in love and desire a family.
Last week, the Vatican made a telling admission that the church has guidelines for what to do with “children of the ordained” — and, as the New York Times reported, those guidelines are secret.
Wouldn’t it seem, at this point, that there should be no more big revelations about sex that the church needs to admit?
No, we’re not there yet.
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