Monday, October 20, 2014

A Question Of Celibacy

Father "Do As I Say Not As I Do" Rosbotham
Two men dispute ownership of a holiday cottage. They both claim ownership rights.

Not a particularly earth-shattering revelation. People can be found in courts everywhere, arguing over who owns how much of what if they own a piece of it at all.

Such disagreements between two people in a relationship that does not have the legal framework provided by marriage are often contentious. What a wife might get in a divorce settlement is not what a lover can expect to automatically receive when the relationship ends. Then the courts have to wade in and calculate how much each party invested in the asset in question, and the feuding couple has to testify in court about various aspects of their personal life that would otherwise never become public knowledge.

For instance, there could be two men arguing, and the next thing you know, everyone is made aware that the lads are not just old friends or work colleagues but homosexual lovers.

And where did our subjects here work? They worked for the Roman Catholic Church. One used to be a Franciscan. The other is still a priest.

What of the vow of celibacy, gentlemen?

Parishioners in Kilmoremoy, in County Mayo, were a bit stunned, at least those who attended Mass on Sunday. Their bishop read a letter to them, which itself was a shock. You don't often see the bishop at a Mass at a small local parish. But there he was in all his majesty, letting the faithful know that their curate was being given a time-out to reflect on the things he preached about. Things like sin and fornication and the like. The things Father Gabriel Rosbotham was doing for years with his Franciscan lover.

Father Rosbotham makes no apologies for being gay, and in keeping with the Pope's call to not judge homosexuals, the Church hierarchy isn't saying anything about his sexual orientation. What has the Church upset is this latest example of hypocrisy, which is doing more to drive people away from the Church than the most boring series of sermons ever could.

Priests must be celibate, and let someone suggest that the celibacy issue is part of the madness of the institution and you'll be told it's tradition, a gift, a sacrifice, or whatever excuse will do to stop any mention of ordaining married men. Don't even get them started on the suggestion that women be allowed entry.

The sexual relationship between Father Rosbotham and Hugo Crawford was exposed in court when the two argued over a cottage in Donegal. Father Rosbotham ended up with a legally decreed 27% share, and the Catholic Church ended up with another fire to extinguish. A pair of clerics were getting up to all sorts of fun in a scenic section of Donegal for ten years, and their superiors knew nothing, or at any rate, Bishop Fleming says he knew nothing. Women can't preach from the pulpit but a hypocrite can because he's male?

A gay priest? Not shocking at all. But a priest who lives a lie? That's not shocking either.

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