Priest who entered sham civil partnership reinstated by Catholic Church
A Catholic priest who entered into a sham civil partnership with another man has been allowed to return to work.
Father Donald Minchew led St Mary’s Catholic Church in Croydon, but was suspended last year after he admitted to tying the knot with the man in 2008.
The priest maintains that his civil partnership to Pakistani national Mustajab Hussain was a sham to help him get a passport, saying “[It was] the only way I could see of getting him in the country”.
Despite the Catholic Church’s ban on genuine openly gay clergy, Father Minchew will be allowed to return to work, according to the Croydon Advertiser.
Monsignor Keith Newton revealed he had lifted the suspension in a letter to parishioners, writing: “Fr Donald has had time to reflect on the events which led me to withdraw him from public ministry and, after much prayer and discussion with Fr Donald and the Archbishop of Southwark, I have decided to reinstate him in his priestly ministry.”
Father Minchew faced prosecution for assisting unlawful immigration – but told the Advertiser he had been assured that the authorities “do not want to take it further”.
The priest also said his civil partnership with Mr Hussain – who reportedly has a wife – has been dissolved.
Father Minchew first hit the headlines in 2012 when he criticised the Church of England and defected with about 70 members his congregation from St Michael and All Angels to St Mary’s Catholic Church.