A German Priest has asked Pope Francis to waive his vow of celibacy after revealing he secretly fathered a child.
Stefan Hartmann, who has a parish in the community of Oberhaid, has written to the Vatican to request it release him from his oath on the grounds that “there is a human right to partnership, marriage and starting a family”.
In an open letter, he asked to be released from the traditional oath "in acknowledgement of my weaknesses and failures, with all due humility and after long consideration of my conscience and personal situation."
In a separate post on social media, he called for Pope Francis to give him a “positive answer” to allow him to remain in the Priesthood, after his superiors requested he leave when news of his daughter came out, The Local has reported.
Hartmann said reconsidering the Catholic Church’s position on sex and marriage could increase the number of young Catholics training to be ordained.
The 59-year-old revealed he fathered a child in 1989 on a talk show in January, eight years after he took his vow of celibacy at Trier cathedral.
He said he was unable to continue a relationship with the mother of his child and kept her a secret in order to protect his position as a priest.
In pictures: 'The many popes of Pope Francis'
In pictures: 'The many popes of Pope Francis'
1/12 The Pro-Gay Pope
In just a year, Pope Francis has managed to change the public perception of the Catholic Church, and the stance it takes on civil issues, like gay rights. Despite originally protesting the legalisation of gay marriage in his native Argentina some years ago, he told reporters this year: “If someone is gay and seeks the Lord with good will, who am I to judge?”
2/12 The Rebel Pope
No other Pope has urged a shake-up of the Catholic Church quite like Pope Francis, a true rebel of the dioceses. Who, incidentally, used to be a night club bouncer.
3/12 The Graffiti Pope
Pope Francis become... SUPER POPE in this Vatican-approved street art. But was he happy with the reference to the fictional DC comic character?"To depict the pope as a sort of superman, a sort of star, seems offensive to me. The pope is a man who laughs, cries, sleeps tranquilly and has friends like everyone else, a normal person," he said. So, that's a no, then.
4/12 The Biker Pope
Yes, the Pope used to own a Harley Davidson. And yes, he auctioned it off this year and donated the proceeds to a charity that feeds the hungry in Rome. Very Papal.
5/12 The ‘Blue’ Pope
Dropping the 'F' bomb during Sunday service? Classic Pope Francis. Sadly, down to a Spanish-speaking slip of the Italian language rather than pure bad-assery.
6/12 The ‘Because I’m Worth It’ Pope
That awkward moment when your Papal hat blows off, forcing your barnet into Sesame Street-like spikes. Pope Francis has been there.
7/12 The Chocolate Pope
Imagine the Pope's delight (horror?) when he was presented with a giant chocolate replica of himself outside the Vatican by by students on a chocolatier course at the Accademia of Maestri Cioccolatieri, near Venice.
8/12 The Rock Star pope
The one and only religious leader ever to grace the cover of Rolling Stone magazine? Introducing... Pope Francis.
9/12 The People’s Pope
His U-turn attitude towards sexuality won him Time magazine's coveted Person of the Year accolade, and the cover of gay rights magazine The Advocate.
10/12 The Merchandise Pope
Thongs, mugs, onesies, earrings and even a baby mobile adorned with decapitated Pope heads, the 'Francis Effect' has seen sales of Papal merchandise soar by 200% over the last year.
11/12 The Fashion Pope
The only Pope, as far as we're aware, to be compared to fashion royalty (Karl Lagerfeld. Yes way.) and win Esquire's Most Stylish Man of 2013 award, too.
12/12 The Modern Pope
Let it be said, Pope Francis knows a thing or two about social media. He might be a way off 'doing a Dalai' and opting for Instagram, but he's not above posing for the odd 'Selfie' on Twitter.
“I tried to walk the road of celibacy again, but since 2007 I have realised 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."
Although he has no marriage plans, the request was "above all to allow me to go into a marital partnership into which my daughter can be integrated as part of a family".
The request comes after the Pontiff reportedly discussed the shortage of priests with bishop Erwin Krautler, an Austrian-born bishop who heads a diocese in Brazil, the Religion News Service reported.
Krautler said the Pope wanted national bishops’ conferences to “seek and find consensus on reform and we should then bring up our suggestions for reform in Rome. … It was up to the bishops to make suggestions, the pope said again.”
The Vatican has not yet responded to his letter.