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Rev. Bernard Lynch, S.M.A. – Assignment History

Summary of Case: Bernard Lynch was ordained in his native Ireland for the Society of African Missions in 1971. After a short stint in Zambia, he was sent to New York to study counseling and psychotherapy. While in New York he assisted at a Bronx parish and was chaplain for a private boys' school, Mount St. Michael's. He also became involved with the support group for gay Catholics, Dignity, and ministered in the 1980s to men dying of AIDS.

In July 1987 Lynch became the subject of a criminal investigation into allegations of child sexual abuse, after Mount St. Michael's teachers filed a complaint that he and acting principal, Marist Brother Timothy Brady, were possibly molesting students. Both were charged; Brady was convicted. Lynch was tried in April 1989 on charges of molesting one Mount St. Michael's student in 1985 or 1986. Lynch's attorney said it was the boy who made a pass at Lynch. Lynch strongly denied the accusation and claimed he was the victim of a witch-hunt by the church because of his AIDS ministry. He was found not guilty.

Lynch moved in 1992 to England where he started a ministry for closeted gay priests. He was expelled from his order in 2011 and, in a 2012 memoir, he announced that he had been married to a man for fourteen years. In April 2017 Lynch works independently as a counselor and spiritual director. He has not been laicized.

Ordained: 1971


   

Start Stop Assignments Town/Allegations State/
Country
Position Notes
1971 1975     Ireland/
Zambia
  Lynch attended seminary near Belfast, in his native Ireland. He spent several years in Zambia after ordination and, as he told a reporter in 2012, was sent in 1975 to New York to study counseling and psychotherapy.

1975

Archdiocese of New York

Archbishop was Terence James Cooke (1968-1983).

1978 St. Gabriel's New York (Bronx) NY 5/5, 4/5

St. Gabriel's had a school with 325-306 students.

While in New York Lynch became involved with Dignity, which was a support group for gay Catholics.

 

1980s

Cooke was succeeded as New York archbishop by John Joseph O'Connor (1984-2000).

July 1987 Mount St. Michael Academy

New York (Bronx)

In July 1987 Lynch and Marist Brother Timothy Brady were subjects of an investigation by law enforcement after Mount St. Michael's teachers reported possible sexual abuse by them of students. (Brady was the school's acting principal.)

NY chaplain

This was a school for boys.

During the 1980s Lynch ministered to men dying from AIDS.

Brady was convicted and sentenced to prison.

1987 1992        

Lynch and Brady were indicted in May 1988; Lynch was out of the country, possibly in Ireland. He returned to New York at some point and was charged with molesting one former student.

At trial in April 1989, Lynch's accuser testified that Lynch fondled him when he had gone to the priest's apartment for help with a psychology paper in 1985 or 1986. Lynch's attorney said that it was the boy who made a pass at the priest. Lynch was found not guilty. He maintained that the church was scapegoating him because of his AIDS ministry.

1992 2017   London England counseling, spiritual direction Lynch relocated to England in 1992 and started a ministry for closeted gay priests. In a 2012 memoir he revealed that he had been married to a man since 1998. He said he was expelled from his order in November 2011 and was "under threat of suspension from the priesthood." As of April 2017 he had yet to be laicized.

Priests in a Parish: We use the following convention to show a priest's place among the clergy of a parish: 1/2 means that he is the first priest listed in the Official Catholic Directory (usually the pastor) and that there is a total of two priests at the parish. The shorthand 3/4 means that the priest is listed third on a four-priest roster. See our sample page from the Directory.

Source: Official Catholic Directory (Kenedy & Sons, 1976-1978).


Priest, Marist Brother Accused of Sex with Boys, By Jeffrey K. Parker, United Press International, May 13, 1988
 Ex-School Employees Charged in Sex Case, New York Times, May 14, 1988
 Activists Rally for Gay Priest, By Ellis Henican, Newsday, May 20, 1988
 Former Chaplain Charges Sex Trial 'Smear Campaign', By Ellis Henican, Newsday, April 19, 1989
 Witness Reports Fondling by Priest, By Ellis Henican, Newsday, April 20, 1989
 Gay NY Priest's Road to a Lonely Exile in London, By Curtis Rist, Newsday, February 16, 1993
 Set the Record Straight, By Joseph Zwilling, Newsday, March 6, 1993
Father Bernard Lynch: 'The Vatican Has Told Them to Get Rid of Me', By Peter Stanford, The Independent, By Peter Stanford, April 8, 2012
 Father Bernard Lynch, Gay Catholic Priest, Reveals He's Married to a Man, Non-celibate, Huffington Post, July 10, 2012
 Catholic Priest Admits 14-Year Gay Marriage, Says Forced Celibacy Leads to Abuse, By Stoyan Zaimov, Christian Post, July 11, 2012 
Fr. Bernard J. Lynch, website, accessed April 13, 2017


Note: The Official Catholic Directory aims to report the whereabouts of Catholic priests in the United States on January 1 of the Directory's publication year. Our working assumption is that a priest listed in the Directory for a given year was at the same assignment for part of the previous year as well. However, Kenedy and Sons will sometimes accept updates well into the year of publication. Diocesan clergy records are rarely available to correct this information. The Directory is also sometimes misleading or wrong. We have tried to create an accurate assignment record, given the source materials and their limitations. Assignment records are a work in progress and we are always improving the records that we post. Please email us with new information and corrections.

This assignment record collates Lynch's career history as it is represented in the Official Catholic Directory with the allegations against him, as reported in the media. We make no representation regarding the truth of the allegations we report, and we remind our readers that the U.S. legal system presumes that a person accused of or charged with a crime is innocent until proven guilty. Similarly, individuals who may be defendants in civil actions are presumed not to be liable for such claims unless a plaintiff proves otherwise. Admissions of guilt or liability are not typically a part of civil or private settlements. For more information, see our posting policy.

This assignment record was last updated on April 13, 2017.


 
 

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