A Vatican office has acknowledged that the Catholic Church erred over previous decades in asking its members to keep silent when they heard about priests fathering children.
"Before our times, the Church did like most institutions and avoided addressing publicly matters regarding its members' behavior, about which it kept silent," said Norbertine Fr. Bernard Ardura, president of the Pontifical Committee for Historical Sciences, in a recently published document.
"This was a mistake, which can be explained by the context, but it remains a mistake," said Ardura.
The priest, whose office is responsible for fostering cooperation between the Vatican and outside historians, was writing in a letter to Vincent Doyle, the child of a priest and the leader of Coping International, a global campaign for the recognition of priests' children.
- For years, Anne-Marie Mariani and the group she founded, Enfants du Silence, have asked the French Church to recognize children of priests, many of whom felt illegitimate and were often rejected.