Scottish priest may sue colleague over book claiming homosexual harassment in seminaries
June 12, 2013
A prominent priest in Scotland plans legal action against another priest who wrote a book charging that sexual harassment was commonplace in Scottish seminaries.
Father Matthew Despard’s book, Priesthood in Crisis, caused a sensation when it first appeared, although it was a self-published work, available only through Amazon. In the book, Father Despard claimed that he and other seminarians had been subjected to homosexual approaches, and those who resisted were harassed. The book—which appeared just as Cardinal Keith O’Brien resigned, having been accused of homosexual misconduct—prompted further speculation about the influence of homosexuals among the Scottish clergy.
The Motherwell diocese initially suggested that Father Despard might face disciplinary action for writing the book. Although that threat has apparently been withdrawn, Amazon has removed Priesthood in Crisis from its site in the United Kingdom, citing “content guidelines.”
Now another priest of the Motherwell diocese, Father Robert Kane, has announced plans to take legal action against Father Despard. Although his name is not mentioned in the book, Father Kane believes that several passages refer to him, and insists that they wrongfully charge him with misconduct.