The church scandals spreading across the Catholic world are prompting a renewed debate on clerical celibacy.
In an unprecedented move, a group of Italian women who have had relationships with priests wrote an open letter to Pope Benedict XVI, saying that priests need to love and be loved. Photo Thorn Birds
In Italy, it's common to hear churchgoers say they have known priests with mistresses — women who passed as housekeepers or cousins…
…Salomone is particularly angered by what she sees as the hypocrisy and secrecy imposed on priests by the Catholic Church.
"There is a lot of suffering around the world due to this rule," she says. "Bishops know that priests are not celibate, but they don't care about this. They say, please do what you want but do it anonymously, nobody has to know, otherwise scandals arise and we cannot afford this, so please do what you want but don't let the world know about this, and [most] of all don't make it children."
Salomone and the other authors of the letter say mandatory celibacy clashes with the reality of priests' lives, and they ask the pope, "all this destruction in the name of what love?" Read or listen complete report – by Sylvia Poggioli – June 8, 2010 – National Public Radio NPR