Vatican office admits silence about children of priests was a mistake

National Catholic Reporter

February 1, 2021

By Elisabeth Auvillain

A Vatican office has acknowledged that the Catholic Church erred over previous decades in asking its members to keep silent when they heard about priests fathering children.

“Before our times, the Church did like most institutions and avoided addressing publicly matters regarding its members’ behavior, about which it kept silent,” Norbertine Fr. Bernard Ardura, president of the Pontifical Committee for Historical Sciences, said in a document published last week.

“This was a mistake, which can be explained by the context, but it remains a mistake,” said Ardura.

The priest, whose office is responsible for fostering cooperation between the Vatican and outside historians, was writing in a letter to Vincent Doyle, the child of a priest in Ireland and the leader of Coping International, a global campaign for the recognition of priests’ children. Doyle’s organization has posted the letter, written in French, on its website.

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