Modern Heroes 1: Fr Bernard Lynch*

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6 Responses to “Modern Heroes 1: Fr Bernard Lynch*”

  1. Mark from PA Says:

    OK, I am confused here. I know that there are a lot of gay priests (30-40% according to one estimate) but I never heard of a gay married priest who is married to a man. Did I read this correctly?

    • Terence@queerchurch Says:

      You did. Bernard is leagally married to his husband Billy – and freely introduces himself as such. Nor is he the only priest married to a man. See “Wedding Bells for Gay Priest“. We should also not ofrget the many who have let the formal priesthood, but in church law remain priests: once a priest, always a priest. Some of these have since married and continue to minister outside of the formal church structures. (I had a story on this a while back, but cannot find the link. Darn – my archives are getting far too full.)

      I did find this, though (which I had forgotten), in a post “Celibacy in the Year of the Priest

      Father John Joseph Reid and Father Lawrence Turner are Catholic priets that fell in love with each other and married in Massachusetts. They now preside over the New Devine Mercy Catholic Communities. The opening statement of their website is listed below.

      “In imitation of Jesus Christ, we welcome all people to worship and celebrate God’s all-inclusive love with us. Whoever you are, where ever you are in your life, we thank you for choosing to be here with us today. Our Mission: To Extend God’s Kingdom of Justice, Truth, Love and Peace.”

  2. Inversion table Says:

    For the Catholic Church, what is worse than a priest having a conviction for child sexual abuse? It would seem helping gay people come to terms with their own sexual identity and being able to die at peace with themselves, especially if they are gay and have AIDS. This would be a very sad story if it was made up, but it is factual, it is history. This book holds up a kind of a mirror to the church and I doubt if anyone will like what they see. But I do not detect any bitterness in it … this guy (Fr. Bernard Lynch) has grown bigger than the problems of the church and points a way forward. The gift of love is truly mysterious!

    • Terence Weldon Says:

      You’re right – he has indeed grown bigger than the church. I am pleased to know Fr Bernard personally, and can confirm at first hand what you have deduced – there is no bitterness.

      He is in sharp conflict with the institutional church and the rule book Catholics, but also deeply in harmony with the Gospels.

  3. Teeter Hang ups Says:

    On 13 May 1988 Father Bernard Lynch was indicted on five charges of child abuse. On 21 April 1989 the prosecution case collapsed, as it became apparent that the evidence against him had been fabricated. Since 1977 Father Lynch had ministered to the Catholic gay community in New York, whose members were, and still are, forbidden to worship on Catholic Church property. The upsurge of AIDS in the 1980s prompted Father Lynch to found a Catholic AIDS ministry, but his work with AIDS sufferers incurred severe censure from Rome. Specifically, his attempts to explain homosexual relationships as acceptable and loving, sometimes even in the face of death, were at odds with the strict teaching of the Church, and provoked bitter conflict with New York’s Cardinal O’Connor, who ordered Father Lynch to end his ministry. Determined to continue his work, even if it meant doing so without official Church blessing, Father Lynch remained undiscouraged. “Being identified with the oppressed’, he has observed, `means that I am going to be oppressed”. A relentless persecution campaign was mounted in a bid to get him removed from his post at a boy’s school, and this led to hie false indictment. In this book, he tells his life story, bringing into focus his often controversial attitudes to gays, the Catholic Church, God, love and sexuality. Central to the book is a detailed reconstruction of the trial, a courtroom drama reminiscent of “The Bonfire of the Vanities”.

  4. strumpfhosen Says:

    At a time when allegations of sexual abuse of minors by priests fill the media, it is important to look at the saga of the author, who was unjustly accused of such a crime. A native of Ireland, the teenaged Lynch entered the seminary, where he had his first homosexual experience. Ordained, he was stationed as a missionary in Zambia, but became disenchanted. Eventually reassigned to New York City, he became aware of his own sexual orientation and became politicized as he joined Dignity, a Catholic support group, and founded the organization’s AIDS ministry. After several run-ins with the archdiocese, he was forced to resign his position at Mount St. Michael’s Academy. Three years later, as he continued his AIDS ministry, he was indicted on first degree sexual abuse charges brought by a former student. Lynch chose a non-jury trial argued before Burton Roberts, a judge known for his bluntness and impartiality. What unfolds in the court transcripts, which take nearly half of the book, is the riveting testimony, which branded Lynch’s accuser a pathological liar. Vindicated, Lynch clearly believes that right-wing Catholic groups and John Cardinal O’Connor were behind his indictment. Lynch, who now lives in London, has written a disturbing book about the justice system, and about an uncharitable church which is obsessed with sex.

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