NYT: Vatican Confirms It Has Internal Guidelines for Priests Who Father Children

The Vatican confirmed to The New York Times that it has “general guidelines” for what procedures to follow if a priest breaks his celibacy vow and fathers a child. “I can confirm that these guidelines exist,” Vatican spokesman Alessandro Gisotti told the newspaper. “It is an internal document.” Gisotti said the 2017 document essentially focuses on “protection of the child” and “requests” the father to leave the priesthood to “assume his responsibilities as a parent by devoting himself exclusively to the child.” Vincent Doyle, a psychotherapist living in Ireland, told the newspaper that he was 28 when his mother told him the priest whom he knew to be his godfather was actually his biological father. Doyle was reportedly shown the Vatican guidelines in October 2017 by Archbishop Ivan Jurkovic, and he started an online support group for other children of priests. He said the website now has 50,000 users in 175 countries. Doyle is reportedly scheduled to meet with several bishops and other members of the church in Rome to discuss the issue. “It’s the next scandal,” Doyle told the Times. “There are kids everywhere.”