- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 30, 2014

A German Catholic priest who fathered a daughter eight years after he vowed celibacy has nonetheless pressed forward with a petition to Pope Francis: Please waive my oath.

Stefan Hartmann recently revealed he has a daughter, and that’s drawn fire from the superiors in his parish in Oberhaid, United Press International reported. They asked him to leave.

But the priest, 59, is fighting back, posting on his Facebook page this message: “There is a human right to partnership, marriage and starting a family, even if you can voluntarily waive it for religious reasons.”

He then asked Francis for a “positive answer” that would let him keep his priestly position, UPI reported.

“I tried to walk the road of celibacy again, but since 2007 I have realized 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. … [However, it’s still my] calling to be a Catholic priest, a pastor and a theologian.”

He addressed the Vatican specifically in his Facebook letter and said a pardon from the pope and the waiver of his oath of celibacy would “bring solutions and relief in many cases,” UPI said.

• Cheryl K. Chumley can be reached at cchumley@washingtontimes.com.

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