Scottish priest who wrote of 'lavender mafia' is suspended; parishioners revolt
November 18, 2013
A Scottish Catholic priest who wrote a book about homosexual influence in the clergy has been suspended from ministry, and in response his parishioners boycotted a Mass celebrated by the apostolic administrator of the diocese.
Nearly the entire congregation at St. John Ogilvie parish in Blanton walked out of the church as Bishop Joseph Toal began to celebrate Mass. The parishioners had signed a petition protesting the suspension of Father Matthew Despard. A spokesman for the angry parishioners said: "Because Father tells the truth he is removed from his priestly duties."
Bishop Toal had announced that Father Despard was removed because he is the defendant in a canonical trial, in which he is accused of wrongful accusations against another priest.
In his book Priesthood in Crisis, which he self-published on the internet, Father Despard charged that homosexual priests intimidate others in the clergy. 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.
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- Gay clergy book row priest Father Matthew Despard suspended (BBC)
- Congregation unite in protest at suspension of parish priest (Herald Scotland)
- Mass walkout during service (Evening Times)
- Scottish priest may sue colleague over book claiming homosexual harassment in seminaries (CWN, 6/12)