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German priest asks Pope Francis to waive his vow of celibacy

“There is a human right to partnership, marriage and starting a family, even if you can voluntarily waive it for religious reasons,” priest writes in letter.
By Evan Bleier   |   April 29, 2014 at 3:42 PM   |   Comments

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OBERHAID, Germany, April 29 (UPI) -- A German Catholic priest who revealed on a TV talk show that he fathered an illegitimate daughter eight years after vowing celibacy wrote a letter asking Pope Francis to release him from his oath.

Stefan Hartmann, who has a parish is in Oberhaid, claims his superiors asked him to leave the priesthood after he revealed the truth about his daughter.

The 59-year-old posted the letter he wrote to the Vatican on his Facebook page. “There is a human right to partnership, marriage and starting a family, even if you can voluntarily waive it for religious reasons,” Hartmann wrote.

Hartmann asked Pope Francis for “a positive answer” that would allow him to remain a priest despite renouncing his celibacy vows. Such a decision would “bring solutions and relief in many cases,” Hartmann wrote.

“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 wrote. "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."

Despite his mistake, Hartmann still feels it is his “calling to be a Catholic priest, a pastor and a theologian.”

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