In a new book, Father Bernard Lynch, a gay Catholic priest who has incurred the wrath of the Vatican for his views supporting LGBT Catholics, not only says he is non-celibate; he reveals that he has been married to a man for the past 14 years, and has officiated over the weddings of many gay and lesbian Catholic couples. The Vatican, he says, is trying to “get rid” of him, while he has been operating a counseling program for closeted gay priests in London since 1992.
Lynch, who has been a Catholic priest for 40 years, left for London from New York in the early 90s, after he was completely cleared of charges related to child abuse allegations made by a man who recanted his story and whom court testimony showed to be a pathological liar. The scandal had Father Lynch at the center of a media firestorm. He believes to this day that right-wing Catholic groups and now-deceased Cardinal O’Connor of New York, angry at his advocacy on behalf of LGBT people and people with AIDS, were behind his trumped up indictment. He had previously gained awards for his AIDS advocacy from politicians and AIDS activists, while local church officials and the Vatican became concerned about his advocacy.
Lynch wrote a a book in 1993 about the trumped up charges and about his speaking out in support of LGBT Catholics, and discussed his own homosexuality. In the new book, "If It Wasn't Love: Sex, Death and God," Lynch says for the first time he has been married for 14 years to Billy Desmond, with whom he lives in London. They were married by an American monk, and Lynch himself has officiated at gay and lesbian weddings. He also writes that he believes more than half of all priests are gay. And he blames the Catholic Church’s child abuse scandal on the celibacy rule.
"We enter seminary at the young age of 17," he explained in an interview on my SiriusXM radio program. "It is my belief that we were and are seriously arrested in our own psychosexual emotional development. As you know, unfortunately [with] a lot of priests who are guilty of the abuse of children, it's ephebophilia [sexual attraction to adolescents, usually aged 15 to 19], not pedophilia [attraction to prepubescent children]. In other words, they start off where they're left off. They start abusing kids who were their age when they entered seminary. The other point is that I do not believe celibacy can be mandated. I believe celibacy is a gift from God and it's a very small minority of women and men who are gifted with this. They are such a small minority and to equate priesthood with that gift is an abuse of the priesthood. Most priests, straight or gay, do not have the gift of celibacy. They get twisted in their own psychosexual development. And they end up, most unfortunately, visiting that twistedness on the most vulnerable, which happen to be children."
Lynch expects the church to crack down on him further.
"I was expeled from my order just as recently as November of last year and I am under threat of suspension from the priesthood," he said.
And yet, he vows to stay in the church as long as he can, and explained why he would stay in a church that promotes bigotry against his own kind.
"I believe in Christ. and I believe in the Gospel of justice," he explained. "There is gross injustice in my church, therefore I feel a duty to stay within and say this is not the way I see it, as Christ would have it. I believe the Gospel is about human and civil rights, for all people."
Listen to the full interview here: