ROME — Roman Catholic priests who have married in defiance of church celibacy requirements gathered Saturday for a meeting near Rome to rally support for their attempt to have the ban on marriage lifted.
The meeting, officially designated the second session of the General Synod of Married Catholic Priests and their Wives, formally opens today at Ariccia, a village in the Alban hills 15 miles southeast of Rome near Castel Gandolfo, where Pope John Paul II is spending the summer.
Married priests from 15 nations are taking part in the sessions sponsored by the Vocatio Association, which says it represents an estimated 70,000 priests who have married in defiance of the church's celibacy standard.
Current Cases First
At a news conference, spokesman Gianni Gennari said the group's first aim will be to formulate a request to the Vatican to grant prompt dispensation to 5,800 priests who have marriage requests pending before church authorities.