Friday, October 12, 2007

Don Sante é mio padre

"Don Sante é mio padre" ("Don Sante is my father") read the t-shirts of many young people in the tiny Italian parish of Monterosso. And Don Sante is fighting orders for his removal as pastor solely due to his profession of love for a woman parishioner and the still unresolved question of whether he is or is not the father of her child.

Don Sante and his supporters have started a Web site,, to tell their side of the story. It leads with a wonderful Flash movie illustrating Don Sante's point that only those without sin should cast the first stone. One segment of the new Web site -- Out from the Shadows -- is particularly interesting. Don Sante is keeping track of how many communications he has received of priests and women (and sometimes men) confessing their love for each other; others telling incidents of pedophilia, sexual abuse, and fathering of children by priests. The idea is to reveal what the Vatican had hoped to keep hidden, in the belief that through solidarity and openness, change will have to come.

Don Sante has stated that he will fight for the right of his parishioners to choose who will be their pastor and that he will continue to be their "moral pastor" regardless of who is officially presiding in the parish. This statement seems to be validated by news accounts that Mass attendance has been scant since Don Sante was forced out.

Don Sante is also fighting for the right of separated, cohabitating, divorced and remarried Catholics to be in full communion with the Church.

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