03 February 2022, The Tablet

The right to see a father’s face

Children of the ordained

The right to see a father’s face

Vincent Doyle
Photo: YouTube


The founder of a support group for the offspring of Catholic priests and Religious, himself the son of a priest, has written an ‘Open Letter to His Holiness Pope Francis’

Holy Father. It has been over seven years since we met, seven years since I kissed the Fisherman’s Ring on the steps of St Peter’s. In this time, I have done all that I can to raise the plight of the children of the ordained and of Religious. I have done this because I believe God wishes me to do this.

What have I learned? I have learned that St Paul VI referred to clerical incontinence as a “lamentable defection”, thus contextualising the children of the ordained and Religious as offspring denoted as “lamentable” and socially “defective”, or so it would seem from the continued silence on this issue. You have spoken on many deserving topics, for example homosexuality, and you have spoken about the abuse of nuns (it was then I thought you might take the extra step and speak about their children), and even about families and pets. You have even met former priests, and again I believed: “Maybe now he will speak about children of priests?” I was wrong. You remained silent.

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