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Religion in Mexico: Sex and the clergy

In reply to the question about barraganas, priests' concubines who pose as servants, Tim Brown reports: "My only brush with the barragana system took place in Spain. A Jesuit priest friend who specialized in obtaining annulments told me several times that the Church was well aware that the presence of barraganas was very widespread in Vasconia. But it looked the other way because in the Basque provinces men refused to allow their daughters or wives to confess to priests wo did not have a barragana living with them, usually as a housekeeper, cousin, or what have you. Priests with mistresses were an ubiquitous topic of discussions everywhere I was stationed in Latin America, and I met more than one and their mistresses myself. Less widely discussed were priests who married with the permission of the Vatican. I met more than one of them as well. In one case I processed a US immigration visa for the wife of one American priest who presented both his wedding certificate and his written permission from the Vatican as part of his petition to qualify her as the spouse of a US citizen for immigration purposes. To meet the requirement that he demonstrate he could support her in the US after she arrived, he also presented written confirmation that he would be teaching at a Catholic institution which I knew only employed clergy. He explained that he has been a parish priest when he met his wife, but lost his right to say public mass when he was married. But he did not lose his right to remain a priest".

Ronald Hilton - 4/6/02