October 27, 2005

Popular French priest confesses sin, backs reform


By Tom Heneghan, Religion Editor
PARIS (Reuters) - One of France's most popular men, a 93-year-old Roman Catholic priest who champions the cause of the homeless, speaks out for married and female priests in a new book where he confesses having broken his vow of chastity.

Abbe Pierre, who has topped French popularity lists for so long that he withdrew his name last year to make way for others, also says in his book "My God ... Why?" that he could imagine that Jesus Christ had been married to Mary Magdalene.

His liberal views flew in the face of the conclusions of a synod of over 250 bishops at the Vatican that closed last week with a ringing reaffirmation of the celibate male priesthood.

Abbe Pierre noted that his celibacy vow did not extinguish sexual desire and confessed: "I've succumbed to this on rare occasions but I never had a longer relationship because I did not let sexual desire take root."

Posted by kshaw at October 27, 2005 10:02 AM