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According to Joe Leogue (Irish Examiner, October 20), the reaction of Dr John Fleming, the bishop of Killala, to the court case involving a long-serving gay priest who has a 17-year record of impeccable commitment and dedicated service in his diocese, was self-serving and weak. It also demonstrated an unwillingness on the bishop’s part to communicate.
Dr Fleming declared that the court case came “as a complete shock to me”, even though he has been Bishop of Killala for 12 years. One would expect him to be intimately familiar with his charges. Seasoned leaders are rarely shocked.
The bishop said that the gay priest, Fr Gabriel Rosbotham, is to take time away from the diocese of Killala “to reflect on his life, on the commitments he made”. Where do the gay Catholics in the diocese of Killala rank in his priorities? And what prayers does he intend to offer for the Catholic faithful who are not hurt, distressed or disillusioned by a disclosure that has not inflicted damage on innocent third parties?
Homosexuality in Ireland was decriminalised 20 years ago and it would be highly improbable that the nation’s homosexual population does not feature as strongly in the ranks of ordained clergy as it does in the public sector and every trade and profession.
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