A 42-year-old Reverend Father Riccardo Ceccobelli, has dumped the priesthood after announcing he has fallen in love with an unidentified person.
Ceccobelli made the announcement on Sunday inside the San Felice church in Massa Martana, in Perugia.
The Rev. Father’s decision shocked the 3,550 inhabitants of the town where he had functioned for over six years.
“I cannot not continue to be coherent, transparent and correct with regards to her (the Church), as I have always been so far,” Ceccobelli told his parishioners, according to a statement published by the diocese.
“My heart is in love although I have never had the opportunity to transgress the promises I made,” he explained. “I want to try to live this love without repressing it, without pushing it away.”
He, however, received the blessing of Bishop Gualtiero Sigismondi, who was at the priest’s side when he addressed the parish, according to the statement.
The priest has now been suspended from his duties and formalities have begun to return him to the lay state.
“All my gratitude to Don Riccardo for the service done so far,” said Bishop Sigismondi.
“Above all my most sincere wishes go to Don Riccardo that this choice, made in full freedom as he confided to me, may ensure him serenity and peace.”
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