A group of Italian women has posted an open letter to the pope on an Internet forum, asking Benedict XVI to reconsider the Catholic Church’s celibacy requirement for clergy members, claiming that they have had close relationships, some of them sexual, with Catholic priests. They apparently aren’t holding their breath, however, in terms of expecting a response from the Vatican. –KA


The women decided to write the letter after hearing the pope restate the church’s position on celibacy in March, she said.

“We decided that it was (time) to make our reality known,” Salomone told CNN. “We wanted to tell everybody that we exist and that we are no longer willing to always be silent about it.”

The issue of priestly celibacy is not much debated in Italy, she said, but she said that’s precisely the problem.

A priest is “just a man like everyone else. This is a good thing. And he should not be deprived of his right to a relationship.”

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