Priest with three kids is against marriage for clergy

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A church in Biella, where the priest works. Photo: stefano Merli/Flikcr
10:07 CEST+02:00
Don Andrea Giordano is a priest and father to three sons - but he is not in favour of marriage for priests.

The 57-year-old former surveyor began training as a priest one year after the death of his wife from cancer. He was ordained in 2012 after 12 years of studying.

His eldest son Nicolo runs a bar in the family's hometown of Biella in Piedmont, while the two younger boys, twins, are studying at university. Giordano writes on his blog that his family had always been religious, and that his children were supportive of his change in profession.

Yet Giordano is against the idea that priests should be allowed to marry.

He told La Stampa on Thursday: “The life of a religious man should be free from other obligations which may act as an obstacle to daily duties of leading a parish. I myself could not do it."

However, he writes on his blog, Chiesa contro corrente, that he still considers himself married, describing himself as a "worker, husband, widower and priest" and affirming "I will see Anna again".

In his own case, Giordano feels that his family duties and religious duties are not incongruous, explaining "I began my journey of faith with Anna and my current occupation feels like the natural continuation. I received a lot from Anna and from life, now I must give back."

Giordano is responsible for 19 local religious institutions, including churches, a cemetery and a nursery school, and says that serving his community gives him "joy" and allows him to "rebuild harmony" in his life.

The priest's words come as Pope Francis is set to release his document on the family on April 8th, in which he will address how the church relates to the family. These themes were recently discussed by a gathering of the synod - which ended in a stalemate.

Celibacy in the clergy, currently mandated for all priests, was not addressed in the synod, although the church's attitude to divorced and remarried Catholics was one of the key issues.

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The pope has previously made references to finding a "solution" for problems caused by the tradition of celibacy, but has never addressed the issue in detail. In 2014, The European Federation of Married Catholic Priests estimated more than 100,000 former Catholic priests have got married over the years - a figure which would make up around a quarter of the number of current priests.

Giordano's blog, is updated almost daily and has caused controversy in the past due to Giordano's criticism of some aspects of the church, and his local bishop - who he labels a "pharaoh" - in particular. The priest has accused the church of being more concerned with "money and living the good life than with the decrees of the Gospel" and argues that the church should be poor, something Pope Francis has also said numerous times.

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