Priest told to dump life partner or quit

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An 81-year-old priest from the south-eastern Dutch city of Eindhoven has been told he has to split up with the 85-year-old woman he has been living with for 46 years.

The diocese says Jan Peijnenburg will be defrocked if he doesn’t end the relationship by 1 December.

The ruling comes in response to pamphlets he and his partner Threes van Dijck have written calling for an end to priestly celibacy in the Catholic Church, the priest says.

The diocese has turned a blind a blind eye to the couple’s relationship for years. It is not unusual for priests to live with a partner, the diocese says, but openly criticising the principle of celibacy is “going too far”. “It’s a major decision in life, but it’s one you make if you accept the priesthood,” a spokesperson said.

The elderly priest has already declared he would give up the priesthood rather than leave the love of his life. He says the imposition of celibacy is an infringement of human rights.


© Radio Netherlands Worldwide

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