Current Affairs

Priest who claimed gays were paedophiles resigns

Jessica Geen October 21, 2009
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Father John Owen, the priest who said earlier this year that gay men are the main perpetrators of paedophilia in the Catholic Church has resigned as a chaplain at Cardiff University.

Speaking on BBC1’s Big Questions programme in May, which focused on child abuse scandals in the church, the communications officer for the archdiocese of Cardiff stated that “most of the offences are being committed by homosexuals”.

Father Owen, also said that teenage boys were the group affected by the “majority” of abuse cases in the United Kingdom, adding: “Now what does that tell you? Now that is a fact.”

His comments were met with anger from the studio audience, while others such as author and director of Amnesty International Ireland Colm O’Gorman, who has written of his own abuse, described Owen’s words as “ill-informed, ignorant, corrupt and dishonest”.

Owen has been nominated for Stonewall’s Bigot of the Year award for his comments.

A Cardiff University spokesperson told the institution’s student newspaper Gair Rydd: “University concerns were expressed by the vice-chancellor at a meeting with Father John’s employer, the Archbishop of Cardiff, held as soon as possible after the broadcast.

“Cardiff University does not employ any chaplains of any faith. A number of chaplains are appointed by their respective churches to provide pastoral support to members of the University community.”
“Cardiff University’s position on Father John Owen’s television interview has not altered since the original broadcast,” the spokesperson added.

The university had previously said it supported free speech but stated that “any expression of belief has to take account of the rights and reasonable sensitivities of others”.

A spokesperson for the Archdiocese of Cardiff said Owen offered his resignation during a meeting with Archbishop Peter Smith on October 2nd.

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