A Catholic activist in Scotland has been condemned as a “modern-day witch hunter” by the Gay and Lesbian Humanist Association (GALHA) after she harassed a priest over allegations of homosexuality.

According to this week’s Catholic publication The Tablet, Patricia McKeever, of radical Christian group Catholic Truth, has been “harassing and intimidating” Fr Ed Hone, a Redemptorist at St Patrick’s in Edinburgh.

He has told how Catholic Truth has been bombarding him with emails demanding he disclose his sexual orientation or face “outing” on their website.

Ms McKeever runs the organisation Catholic Truth from an office in Edinburgh.

It publishes a monthly email newsletter to a claimed 1,000 readers.

In a recent edition she appealed for those readers to inform her if they knew of any gay priests or had suspicions about any. She would then, she said, publish their details on her organisation’s website in order to “name and shame” them.

In one email sent by Patricia McKeever, Fr Hone was warned “Don’t make me doorstep you.”

According to the Tablet, the 47-year old priest says he will not succumb to bullying. “I’m not concerned personally,” he said. “But I’m worried about other priests who might be more vulnerable. People like her rule by fear, harassment and intimidation. This is nothing more than a witch hunt motivated by spite. Everyone’s talking about the rise of fundamentalism in the Muslim community at the moment. But we should address the fundamentalists in our own midst. Are we witnessing the rise of a Catholic

Taliban?”

On the website, Catholic Truth claims that naming suspected gay clergy is “a great work of charity” and promises to investigate allegations made against priests by the public.

Speaking this week, Ms McKeever confirmed that she had prepared a dossier on a priest, which she intended to publish in her newsletter’s November edition. “Why is it a witch hunt to want to root out priests who are living a double life, i.e. a dishonest life?” she asked “We are going to contact everyone who is named by our sources to ask for their comments on what we have unearthed. Obviously, we will deal with each case on an individual basis but if a priest refuses to confirm or deny allegations, we will draw

our own conclusions and let our readers do the same.”

GALHA Secretary George Broadhead said: “This woman appears to have appointed herself judge, jury and executioner for gay priests – or even those who are suspected of being gay. This witch hunting is a familiar practice in many countries that use accusations of homosexuality to get rid of people they don’t approve of. False allegations are almost as powerful as true ones: it works on the no-smoke-without-fire principle.

“The Catholic Church in Scotland seems unconcerned with the activities of Catholic Truth – but then,

the Pope has already started to root out gay people from seminaries, so this seems little different.”