Deaf priest confesses to congregation he has a love-child before quitting church

A deaf Catholic priest confessed in sign language to a shocked congregation that he was the father of a love-child - and then quit the church. Father Peter McDonough dropped the bombshell during Sunday mass, telling fellow worshippers that the service would be his last. It is thought the mother of the child, a four-year-old boy, met Fr McDonough, 54, through his church work. At the end of the service he asked parishioners to sit down before delivering the devastating news.

He stayed behind for two hours after mass to explain his decision. Fr McDonough has been deaf since he was three, and joined St Patrick’s church in Collyhurst, Manchester, to run services for the deaf community. He was also director of St Joseph’s Mission, based in Collyhurst. James Kenny, 85, who has lived near the church for 52 years, said the news would come as a big shock to the entire community. 'He’s let down the Catholic community. People are confessing to him - I’ve confessed to him - and he’s been carrying this big secret. 'What faith can you have in someone like that when it’s not say as I do but do as I say? ‘He’s been here for years and should have done this as soon as he knew about the child.’

One worshipper said: 'I am extremely surprised. He always came across as very pious and very proper and as a very good priest. ‘I thought he was devoted to his religion and devoted to his calling. I am very disappointed.’ But mother-of-three Kathleen Maguire, 40, defended Fr McDonough’s character saying ‘priests are human beings too’. ‘I don’t think it’s right that they’re not allowed to marry and have kids just like the rest of us,’ she said. Monsignor Mark Davies, Salford Roman Catholic Diocese’s vicar general, said: 'It was with great sadness that the deaf community and the whole Catholic community in Collyhurst learned of Fr Peter’s decision on Sunday.

'Following much reflection and many conversations with his bishop, Father Peter McDonough has reached this personal decision. ‘The outstanding work of St Joseph’s Mission to Deaf People to which Father Peter dedicated so many years of his priestly life will continue to be fully supported by the Salford Diocese.’ The vicar general added that Fr McDonough, who had been at St Joseph’s for 27 years, had met with the bishop several times to discuss his future. ‘Fr McDonough has left the church and is now taking time to consider what to do next. He wants to take responsibility for the child and he needs to look for full-time employment,’ he said. ‘It was very much his decision. He finished on Sunday and he is looking at his life.’

Fr McDonough held sign language masses at St Patrick’s Church every Sunday morning, which were were attended by up to 70 deaf people and some hearing parishioners.
He spent a year in Dublin studying a diploma in teaching deaf people, having also studied at Salford College and Sheffield University. He holds an MA in Deaf Studies from Durham University. A spokesman for the diocese said Fr McDonough did not want to comment.

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Well, he’s not the first, he’s not the second, and he won’t be the last one.

In pre-Reformation England “son of a priest” was a synonym for “bastard” or “sonuvabitch” in verbal abuse.

Why should we even care about this kind of gossip, it is for most of us not even our country, and certainly not our sin, or our Purgatory.

I pray that this man can provide for his kid, and I grieve that once again the “desires of the flesh” have caused a priest to give up that awesome calling. But really, if everybody concentrated on working off their Purgatory instead of other people, fewer would fall into sin.

He is human. I do not condemn him, I am not disappointed, though, I do not condone his action of having an affair. I would rather pray for him now that he is out there looking for a job, what can he do? he’s been a priest for most part of his life, the spiritual calling is still in him, God has not withdrawn his call as a result of this incident.
I am concerned for him and would like you all to join me in prayers for this priest.

Almighty and ever living God, thou who hates sin but loves sinners, even to the point of sending your only begotten son to die on the cross for our salvation, I raise up to you your servant Fr. Peter Mcdonough, you called him unto yourself, Lord, you know all things, even before he was born you knew him. At this moment, that he has made such a difficult decision, please go to his aid, let him always feel your presence, bless him, touch him in his hour of need, draw him even closer to you.

I also raise to your glory the love child and the mother. They all must be going through a lot of emotional turmoil at the moment, place your hand on them, forgive them and bless them.
This I pray through Jesus Christ your son Amen.

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