At least women in Ireland are conducting clandestine affairs with Roman Catholic priests, according to the leader of a support group set up to look after those in forbidden relationships. An indication of the extent of illicit sexual relationships within the church was given after it was disclosed that Fr Maurice "Mossy" Dillane, 73, had fathered a child with his year-old girlfriend. Bishop Pat Buckley said an extremely conservative estimate was that one in 10 of the 5, Catholic priests in Ireland enjoyed regular sex with women and some even referred to their clerical collar as the "bird catcher". Studies had shown that 80 per cent of priests had broken their vows of celibacy on at least one occasion, he said. Bishop Buckley runs the Bethany organisation in Larne, Co Antrim, which he set up to provide support to those in love affairs with the clergy. Abusive priests unmasked. Described as Ireland's rebel bishop, Bishop Buckley was sidelined by the Catholic church in the mids when he pursued his own ministry for those who felt alienated by the traditional church.
I f anyone had asked me what I thought about Eastern Orthodoxy before I converted, I would have said it was basically a popeless Catholic Church, except that its priests can marry. My presumption was mostly wrong. Moreover, it is a misnomer to say that Orthodox priests can marry. They can be married, and indeed, most Orthodox priests are.
We have no reliable figures on just how many priests in the Catholic Church are gay. The Vatican has conducted many studies on its own clergy but never on this subject. The consensus in my own research over the past few months converged on around 30 to 40 percent among parish priests and considerably more than that — as many as 60 percent or higher — among religious orders like the Franciscans or the Jesuits. This fact hangs in the air as a giant, unsustainable paradox. The massive cognitive dissonance this requires is becoming harder to sustain.