Ireland: Gay Catholic priest ‘on leave’ after being outed in court case
A Catholic gay priest in Ireland is on leave “to reflect on his ministry”, after his sexuality was discovered by Church leaders.
The sexuality of Father Gabriel Rosbotham, a curate in Ballina, County Mayo, came to light last week, after Irish press reported on a lawsuit surrounding ownership of a house he shared with his ex-boyfriend.
The Bishop of Killala, Dr John Fleming, said he had been unaware of the priest’s sexuality beforehand, and was said to be “completely shocked” at the revelations.
According to the Irish Herald, while attending the priest’s parish of Kilmoremoy in County Mayo, the Bishop said: “For the past 17 years, Father Gabriel has ministered in this diocese, in your parishes, and he has received great appreciation for his pastoral care.
“Since the court case ended I have met with Fr Gabriel and he has decided to take some time away from the diocese… to reflect on his life, on the commitments he made and on his ministry, as well as to think about the future.
“The Church and, in particular, the Christian community of which each of us is a member, is the place where we are joined to Christ, our Lord, and where we support one another in good times and in bad. It is also the place where we find forgiveness, hope, encouragement and healing.
“I am offering this Mass for all of you and for all those hurt, distressed or disillusioned by what has happened.”
A court ruled last week that Father Rosbotham was entitled to a 27 percent share of the house he shared with his lover, a former Franciscan friar, between 1994 and 2002.
When asked about his sexuality, the priest said: “Look, I am who I am”.