Celibacy is a fiction and Church must change its rules

Belfast Telegraph


A woman whose only crime was to fall for the wrong man is heartbroken and humiliated. The man she loved has had the most intimate details of his life plastered all over the Press, his reputation now in ruins. The parishioners who adored him are left abandoned and confused. Behold the trail of human wreckage from the Catholic Church’s cruel and callous code of compulsory priestly celibacy.

Fr Ciaran Dallat isn’t the first – and won’t be the last – priest to have lived a lie. The former Bishop of Galway, Eamon Casey, had a fling with an American divorcee and fathered a son.

Singing priest Fr Michael Cleary had two kids with his Dublin “housekeeper” Phyllis. Septuagenarian curate Fr Mossie Dillon fathered a child with his 31-year-old girlfriend, Madonna. Irish priests could win awards for preaching celibacy while not practising it.

Bishop Pat Buckley, the rebel cleric excommunicated by the Church after his Episcopal ordination outside its regulations, isn’t shy in pointing out this hot-blooded history. “Just look at Irish surnames: McEntaggart, the son of the priest; MacAnespie, the son of the bishop; McNabb, the son of the abbot. Priests having sex is no new phenomenon.”

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