Archbishop rebukes priest who cast doubt on Cleary fatherhood

Irish Times

Fintan O’Toole

Tue, Jul 1, 2014

Catholic Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin has strongly dissociated himself from a parish priest who cast doubt on claims that Fr Michael Cleary had fathered children.

Fr Cleary, who was among the best-known priests in Ireland and a champion of orthodox church teaching on sexuality, died at the end of 1993.

In 1995 it was revealed he had a son, Ross, with his housekeeper Phyllis Hamilton, who subsequently revealed the couple had previously given another son up for adoption.

In his June newsletter for St Brigid’s parish in Cabinteely, Fr Arthur O’Neill described these revelations as “exasperating”, unproven and the result of “shoddy practice” by named journalists, whom he challenged to prove them. He suggested his former clerical colleague had suffered a serious injustice: “The burial of a person’s legacy deeper than their body just isn’t fair – if it’s based on a falsehood.”

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