Black Priest Remains With Miami Parish After Fathering Child

The child is from a relationship with a woman that ended a year ago.

On Tuesday (January 25), the Archdiocese of Miami announced that one of its priests fathered a child from a former relationship, but that he’ll remain in service of his parishioners.

According to the Miami Herald, Archdiocese spokeswoman Mary Ross Agosta, 49-year-old Monsignor Chanel Jeanty, pastor of St. James Catholic Church since 2015, learned in December that he was the father of a child from a relationship with a woman that ended over a year ago.

“The information did not come from the mother of the child but from another source,” Agosta’s release said. “Monsignor Jeanty appropriately reached out to the mother and plans to contribute to the support of his child.”

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A source was not named by the Archdiocese and said Jeanty would not be available for comment, according to the Herald.

“Msgr. Chanel Jeanty is focused on his priorities and responsibilities, both personally and pastorally, and will not be available,” Agosta said.

On Tuesday, Jeanty reportedly resigned his administrative roles of Vicar General and Chancellor for Canonical Affairs within the Archdiocese of Miami. He will remain in his pastor’s role in ministry at St. James.

In the release, the Archdiocese stated that Jeanty “has already sought God’s forgiveness, and he is asking for the forgiveness of his parishioners, who will be disappointed when they learn of his lapse. Monsignor Jeanty must face his parishioners and seek to regain their trust, as he continues to serve, and at the same time attends to his responsibilities to the child.”

For at least nine centuries Catholic priests have had to take a vow of celibacy. In many instances, the priests who violate the vow either leave the church or are removed from conducting services. But not always. 

According to a CBS News report in 2019, unspecified Vatican guidelines concerning priests who father children, despite their vows of celibacy, have been allowed to remain as practicing priests. Vincent Doyle, the founder of a support group for children of priests, told CBS News, “He’s been pushing the Church to publicly support those children, who often grow up living in shame and secrecy.”

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