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Vatican Confirms Secret Guidelines for Priests Who Father Children

CBS News has confirmed that the Vatican has secret guidelines for priests who father children, despite their vows of celibacy. Vincent Doyle, the founder of a support group for children of priests, told CBS News that a Vatican official showed him the confidential instructions.

Doyle said he’s been pushing the Church to publicly support those children, who often grow up living in shame and secrecy. CBS News correspondent Roxana Saberi spoke with him and other children of priests fighting for recognition from the Catholic Church.

Sarah Thomas is one of those children. She told CBS News that she’s proof priests sometimes break their vows to the Church, which for nearly nine centuries has forbidden its clergymen from sex and marriage.

“My mother had been told to keep it a secret by the Church,” she told Saberi.

Thomas was 14 when she first met her father, a priest in England.

“It soon became apparent that he couldn’t or wouldn’t or wasn’t allowed to be any sort of father to me in any meaningful sense,” Thomas said, adding that the hardest part of her youth was “feeling very isolated. I literally thought I was the only priest child in the world.”

Read more at CBS News