Twenty-six women who claim to be in relationships with priests have beseeched Pope Francis to reconsider the rule of celibacy, the Daily Beast reports, citing a letter to the pontiff published in La Stampa.
“A lot has been said by those who are in favor of optional celibacy but very little is known about the devastating suffering of a woman who is deeply in love with a priest,” the women say in the letter. “We humbly place our suffering at your feet in the hope that something may change, not just for us, but for the good of the entire church.”
The Vatican did not comment, saying it was “personal correspondence.”
When he was a cardinal, Francis said that celibacy “is a question of discipline, not faith. It can be changed.”