Friday, May 4, 2012
Father Kevin Lee and wife Josephina
Double life: Father Kevin Lee has surprised his congregation by revealing that he has been married for a year despite having taken a vow of celibacy A Catholic priest has stunned his congregation by admitting he has been secretly married for a year. Father Kevin Lee claims he is lifting the lid on a widespread phenomenon among clergymen across the world, and insists: 'There are more like me'. Despite all priests having to take a vow of celibacy, Australian Fr Lee has been living a double life with his wife Josephina.
He told Australia's 7News: 'So I've fallen in love and I've got married and it's outside of most people's awareness, but I'm sure people within the church could have had a suspicion.' Following his televised revelations - and his plans to expand on them in a forthcoming book - he has been removed from his position and has since been excommunicated. Fr Lee, a priest for 20 years, said he made little effort to keep his relationship under wraps after he met Josephina in the Philippines and married her in secret. He said: 'People in the hierarchy probably knew or were prepared to turn a blind eye.'
he head of the diocese, Bishop Anthony Fisher, denied Lee's claim that most priests live double lives and that the hierarchy knew of his marriage.
Secret: Fr Lee, a priest for 20 years, said he made little effort to keep his relationship under wraps after he met Josephina in the Philippines and married her in secret
But it is with the public's views, rather than those of the church, that Fr Lee's concerns lie.
The priest explained: 'That's one of the reasons that's motivated me to make public my admission that I'm one of those people who's been a pretender: To draw to the attention of the public that there are more like me, in fact most of them.'
He said the pretence of celibacy also helps paedophile priests remain undetected, and hopes his coming clean will help stop the church 'systematically covering up generational abuse'.
Fr Lee said his announcement would come as a shock to many of his parishioners in Glenmore Park, Sydney.
But he was determined that his fellow priests should not have to sacrifice the chance to have a relationship and is calling for the Catholic church to do away with the requirement for celibacy.
The head of the local diocese, Bishop Anthony Fisher, denied that double lives are common among the Catholic clergy.
He said: 'As Father Kevin is aware, by his actions he can no longer operate as a priest and as a result I will immediately be appointing an administrator to Padre Pio parish.'