In a new book, Father Bernard Lynch—whose pro-LGBT views have irritated Rome for years—reveals that not only is he not celibate, he’s been in a committed relationship with another man for more than a decade.
Lynch, who took orders 42 years ago, has just released If It Wasn’t Love: Sex, Death and God, in which he discusses for the first time his 14-year marriage to his husband, Billy Desmond, with whom he lives in London. (Lynch has claimed that approximately half of all Catholic priests are gay.) He also reveals that he has been officiating wedding ceremonies for same-sex Catholic couples for some time.
In the book’s description on Amazon, reviewer Jim Cotter describes Love as shining “a necessary if often uncomfortable bright light on the personal, political and spiritual dimensions of our half-understood and half-lived sexuality.”
Love also examines how the demands of celibacy are actually detrimental to Catholic clergy. In an interview with Michelangelo Signorile, Lynch explained:
“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.”
He maintains that now-recanted child-abuse charges that mired him in scandal in the 1990s were the work of conservative Catholic groups and the late Cardinal O’Connor, aggravated by the priest’s outspoken activism on behalf of people with AIDS and the LGBT community.
Lynch was suspended from his order last November, but he’s is savvy enough to the new book could bring him even more trouble, telling Huffington Post he’s “under threat of suspension from the priesthood.”
So why doesn’t he just walk away? Become, say, a Unitarian?
“It’s my church—and I’ll be the last out after the Pope,” he said.