How the birth of our son, grandson of a priest, led me to give thanks for the cardinal who helped change the Church

As a child is born, a priest’s grandson, the boy’s father, Vincent Doyle, pays tribute to Cardinal Hummes who has done so much for the children and grandchildren of priests around the world.

On June 29, I became the father of a beautiful boy, my son, our beautiful son. Aware of his priestly heritage, I remember with reverence and respect this week a man who did so much for the children and grandchildren of priests around the world, the late Cardinal Hummes.

“What you tell me about your work with the children of priests [is] very important to me.” – Cardinal Hummes in Cope, 2019.

The words of the recently deceased Cardinal Hummes, to me in 2019, in Coping. He was both supportive and open to what I had talked about with him at the sexual abuse summit in 2019. Indeed, this issue was important to him, and a decade earlier he had made a pioneering move, as confirmed by the Vatican Committee for Historical Sciences.

In 2019, I contacted His Eminence, having discovered that the Vatican guidelines for children of priests were originally drafted under his direction during his tenure as Prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy in 2009. Cardinal Stella notes:

“The [Congregation for Clergy] follows a practice since the time when Cardinal Claudio Hummes was prefect – for about ten years – which first brought to the attention of the Holy Father, at the time Benedict XVI, the cases of priests under the age of 40 years with offspring.

Cardinal Hummes and I briefly discussed the issue of children of the clergy. I found him to be a forward-thinking man, grounded in reality and scripture, unafraid to reach out and engage with those some discredit or would rather not exist!

The special attention paid to “priests under 40 with children”, as Cardinal Beniamino Stella, then Prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy, mentioned in 2019, has its origins in the developments of Cardinal Hummes on this question a decade earlier. His 2009 work was the first indication that 40 would become the age limit for priests to remain in ministry and openly acknowledge their children, a development that occurred in 2020. The origins of all these developments are rooted in Cardinal Hummes. direction 2009.

The late Cardinal Hummes was perhaps among the first to actualize and verbalize the needs of the suffering children of the ordained and religious; he made a plea to a seated pope, and this plea was listened to.

Father Bernard Ardura, president of the Pontifical Committee for Historical Sciences, reflected earlier this month on the contributions of the late Cardinal Hummes: “I knew Cardinal Hummes well, even before he was a cardinal, when he was a member of the Pontifical Council for Culture, of which I was secretary. […] I can testify to his righteousness, his sense of justice and his loyalty to the Church, which he served until the last day of his earthly life.

I asked him: “The Vatican directives of 2009, written under Benedict XVI, to your knowledge, is this the first time that such directives have been written?

He replied, “As far as I know, this is the first time.

Cardinal Hummes was the first cardinal-priest to openly recognize this problem, a lateral wound of the Church that one could consider, a wound that affects so many children. He was, the Vatican has confirmed, a priest who will go down in history for reaching out to marginalized and rejected children, “for the first time” in the history of the Church, and rightly so.

If only we could all do so well, if only we all had this proverbial last day under our belt, such brave gestures. Imagine the courage it would take for a Cardinal to approach a Pope, to talk about the children of priests. Indeed, the 2009 development says as much about the late cardinal as it does about Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI.

The guidelines that Cardinal Hummes and Pope Benedict XVI laid out in the Congregation for the Clergy, nurtured and further developed under Cardinal Stella and Pope Francis, were a seed that will continue to grow under the dazzling Mariological light of the Son, the work of the late cardinal continues. . All the goodness done on this sensitive issue, moving forward, can be attributed, in part, to the courage of these men, including the late Cardinal Hummes.

As I stare at my son, asleep in his crib, grandson of a priest, I think of the work you, Cardinal Hummes, have done to expose the stigma against clergy children and grandchildren by allowing them to live freely. . The Cardinal’s work was much more than mere directives, it was a statement that the Church would not tolerate stigma towards God’s creation, especially the children of the ordained, and to harbor such stigma is anti-spirit. Catholic and quirky. with Catholicism.

Thank you, Your Eminence, for having had the courage to speak out what is right, confirming both in the private and public spheres that the children of priests and religious are “very important” to you.

I pray that we remain in your praying hearts as you rest in your Heavenly Father’s bosom, ever more aware of the need for a praying father for every child.

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