Priests' Mistresses Ask Pope to Scrap Celibacy Rule Nearly 40 write open letter to the Vatican By John Johnson, Newser Staff Posted May 27, 2010 5:25 PM CDT 32 comments Comments Pope Benedict XVI sprinkles holy water as he celebrates a Pentecost Mass inside St. Peter's Basilica, at the Vatican, Sunday, May 23, 2010. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia) (Newser) – About 40 Italian women have written an unusual open letter to Pope Benedict asking him to end the church's celibacy rule for priests. The odd hook? All the women claim to have had (or are having) intimate affairs with priests or monks, reports GlobalPost, which talks to some of the women willing to go public. “Don't be shocked, your Holiness!" the letter reads. "In order to become effective witnesses to the need for love, they need to embody it and experience it fully, in the way their nature demands it."