Scottish priest who wrote of 'lavender mafia' is suspended; parishioners revolt [CC]

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 …


The article is so brief… does anyone know anything more about this?

What I would like others who are more knowledgeable than myself to comment on is the following:

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.

Is this normal?

From ‘related links’ at the bottom of the story:

Scottish priest may sue colleague over book claiming homosexual harassment in seminaries

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.

Mass walkout during service

Angry scenes broke out among the congregation on Saturday when Bishop Toal informed them “a penal judicial process” had been instituted against Father Despard as a result of his book, Crisis in the Priesthood.

Priest to sue fellow cleric after sexual bullying book allegations

Father Robert Kane, a priest in the Diocese of Motherwell, announced to his congregation his intention to pursue Father Matthew Despard through the courts.
While he is not named in the book, it is understood Father Kane, who serves St Teresa of Lisieux in Newarthill, believes he is referred to several times. It is understood he denies any wrongdoing.
Church sources questioned the cost of a defamation action to an individual priest and what damages could be secured from another member of the clergy.

There is also the legal difficulty of Father Kane not being mentioned, while the book is already out of circulation.

Thanks Linda Marie.

Prayers for all involved.

Good question.

This is from the blog of a canon lawyer:

A priest’s removal from ministry could be effected under Canon 1722, a norm that authorizes such action against persons under certain circumstances (who knows whether those circumstances were satisfied in this case), and there is canonical provision, even preference, that ecclesiastical penalties be imposed or declared in a judicial (instead of administrative) penal process per Canons 1314 and 1341-1342.

Most canonical crimes are listed in Canons 1364-1399, and most of these canons have nothing whatever to do with the fact patterns suggested in this case. But five penal canons could be relevant in this matter.

I might mention, though, one other penal canon possibly relevant in this matter. Canon 1389 threatens with sanctions those who abuse office in the Church. Invoking, on frivolous grounds, a formal penal process against a priest might qualify as abuse of ecclesiastical office. + + +

The same topic but about US seminaries was the subject of the book Goodbye Good Men by Michael S. Rose.

What, if anything, happened to Michael Rose?

Well he isn’t a priest. He’s a Catholic journalist, and AFAIK he is still writing and lecturing.

I remember the book well. I think there was clearly a time when homosexual males could hide in the priesthood and not get questioned about not marrying. As time went on the homosexual influence in certain seminaries increased to the point that orthodox and holy young men were discouraged from entering the seminary. I think a lot of the problem is the inability to speak the truth about the predatory nature of some homosexuals. This is what created our abuse scandal, not celibacy or the lack of female “priests.” Everyone wanted to believe a fairy tale, that this was not a problem. As we see in the OP those who speak of the reality of homosexual activisim within the priesthood are often the subject of prosecution…as if pretending the problem didn’t exist will make it go away.


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit