Why is this man still a priest?
*Fr Bernárd Lynch, a gay Irish Catholic priest living in London, overcame prejudice and accusations of child abuse to find happiness in marriage, writes PATSY McGARRY , Religious Affairs Correspondent
FR BERNÁRD LYNCH seems taken aback by my question. “How can you believe in a loving God, considering the plague you have witnessed and experienced at such close quarters and what you have been through personally at the hands of so-called men of God?”
He reflects for a bit. “I suppose if I didn’t believe I would have killed myself a long time ago. It’s nothing to do with proof. It’s very fundamental.”
But he has had to separate his faith from the institutional church. He recalls how, in New York very early in “the Aids holocaust”, a Daughter of Charity nun he worked with, Sr Patrice Murphy, said, “The gay community will have to transcend the church in order to find God.”
The eldest of six, Bernard Lynch was born in Ennis, in Co Clare, in 1947, joined the Society of African Missions in 1965 and was ordained in 1971. He is best known for his work with Aids victims in New York and for coming out as a gay priest.*