It’s like preaching to the unconvertible. Nearly 40 Italian women who have had clandestine relationships with priests and monks have sent an open letter to the pope, begging for the abolition of the celibacy rule. Stating that a priest "needs to live with his fellow human beings, experience feelings, love and be loved," the authors argue that celibacy was a man-made rule that could just as easily be changed by men. It also pointed out that in the early days of Christianity, there were countless examples of married holy men. The issue was actually on the Vatican’s agenda in March in the wake of its rash of sex scandals. But the cardinal who included it, Cardinal Christoph Schönborn, the archbishop of Vienna and one of Pope Benedict’s senior advisers, quickly withdrew the suggestion when the pope insisted on "the principle of holy celibacy."