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Monday 4 December 2023 Dublin: 4°C
coping international

An Irish group has made the Catholic Church acknowledge Filipino children fathered by priests

The group has already reached a similar agreement with the Catholic church in Ireland.

AN IRISH GROUP has made a substantial breakthrough in establishing rights for children of priests internationally.

Set up last year, Coping International is a representative group for individuals who are the children of priests around the world.

The group has already come to an agreement with the Catholic Church in Ireland about the administration of their service – and now has reached a similar agreement with the Catholic Church in the Philippines.

At a plenary assembly in the country earlier this year, a request from Coping International was considered and bishops were instructed to make the “necessary and appropriate interventions” when dealing with the children of priests.

Speaking to the founder of the organisation John*, who has personal experience in the area, explains, “What we offer is representation.

People come to us with their stories. And with or without documentation, with or without DNA, we will then go forward on their behalf to the diocese.

This commitment from the church in the Philippines allows the group to administer help in cooperation with the church in the same way that it is able to do in Ireland.

Going forward Coping International aims to further expand its operations and set up similar infrastructure in other countries.

“We’ve received hits on the website from 75 countries, “explains John, “Without an advertising budget. Why are people in 75 countries Googling ‘I am pregnant, the father is a priest’ or ‘my father is a Catholic priest’? Why are they doing that? Quite obviously because it is a worldwide phenomenon.”

The group has been contacted by individuals from places as diverse as the United States, Australia and Uganda seeking its services.

Individuals contacting the service have stories that include being made to sign 1,000 pages of a confidentiality agreement; having been born to a mother who became pregnant as a result of a sexual assault and; individuals who only discovered their true parentage in adulthood.

“It is not a problem when a priest has a child,” John says, “It is only a problem if someone considers it a problem. And the main people who consider it a problem are the Catholic church.”

*John is a pseudonym being used for confidentiality reasons. 

Read: What do you do when your father is a priest?

Also: Break in at church sees communion wafer and altar wine taken

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