National Catholic Reporter

The Independent News Source

Clerical celibacy

Priests' mistresses and wives remind the Vatican: Don't forget about us

For years, they have been invisible and often afraid to identify themselves. But the women sometimes dubbed "God's rivals" are no longer willing to remain silent.

Twenty-six Italian women who are married to or in relationships with Catholic priests want clerical celibacy to be overturned by the world's bishops when they meet in Rome for their global synod on the family in October.

Italian women seek freedom to marry the priests they love

Anna Ferretti has been married for more than 40 years, and she and her husband are the proud parents of four children. There's only one catch: Her husband is a Catholic priest.

"At first we had to do everything to keep our love secret," said Ferretti, who lives in Naples. "But it was impossible to hide such strong feelings, and we decided to make our relationship public."

Ferretti met her husband, Natale Mele, when she was a student and he was a priest running youth programs in the city's archdiocese.

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