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Pope Ireland Visit: Gay charity boss says Vatican ignored his abuse by priest

Patrick Kelleher July 31, 2018

Colm O'Gorman with Panti Bliss (Charles McQuillan/Getty)

A gay charity boss in Ireland has launched a scathing critique on the Vatican, claiming Catholic Church officials ignored his sexual abuse at the hands of a priest when he was a teenager.

Colm O’Gorman, who is Executive Director of Amnesty Ireland, spoke about his abuse in a Twitter thread ahead of Pope Francis’s visit to Ireland in August.

Alberto Pizzoli/AFP/Getty

O’Gorman said: “I was 14 [when the last papal visit took place]. Within six months of the visit I was raped for [the first] time by a Priest who had been ordained despite the Church knowing he was a paedophile.

“15 years later I sued [Pope John Paul II] to try to get the Vatican to tell the truth about what they knew about the priest.”

He said his abuse continued until he was 17.

“That’s when I fled my home town… it was another 11 years before I went back and reported the abuse to the police.”

O’Gorman says that the parishioners had complained repeatedly to bishops about the priest’s behaviour but were ignored. He also claims that complaints were made to the Papal Nuncio, who responded by saying that “the Holy See was aware of their concerns.”

Despite this, no action was taken. O’Gorman says the priest “kept abusing” for years.

The priest was eventually removed from the ministry when O’Gorman made a criminal complaint in 1995.

In the Twitter thread, O’Gorman says another young man was abused by the same priest, and went on to die by suicide at 23 years of age.

This is not the first time O’Gorman has spoken publicly about his experience of sexual abuse. He has been featured in several documentaries about his experience, and published a book about it called Beyond Belief in 2010.

Pope Francis greets nuns at the end of a weekly general audience at St Peter's square on May 9, 2018 in Vatican. (Photo by Tiziana FABI / AFP) (Photo credit should read TIZIANA FABI/AFP/Getty Images)
Tiziana Fabi/AFP/Getty

Pope Francis is set to visit Ireland on August 25th and 26th for the World Meeting of Families, which has already been marred by disputes over LGBT+ families.

LGBT+ groups have come forward to say that they are being excluded from the event, and a picture of a same-sex couple was removed from the event’s booklet.

The visit marks the first time a Pope has visited Ireland since Pope John Paul II visited in 1979. It is estimated that over 2.5 million people attended events that year to see the Pope.

Authorities are making provisions for 600,000 people to attend an open mass with Pope Francis in Dublin’s Phoenix Park in August.

More: Europe, Ireland

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