Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Scotish Catholics threaten to 'out' gay priests

A threat to out gay Catholic priests and bishops in Scotland has been condemned as a 21st century witch-hunt by the Gay and Lesbian Humanist Association (GALHA).

The threat comes from a group of Catholics called Catholic Truth, which is based in Edinburgh. Catholic Truth says it will "name and shame" homosexual clergy as part of its "heavenly witness protection programme".

In its widely-read newsletter, the group says it is currently investigating the extent of homosexuality among priests and bishops in the Church north of the Border, claiming that exposing homosexuality within the upper ranks ofthe Church would be a "great work of charity".

Catholic Truth also makes a connection between homosexuality and paedophilia. The newsletter, which is online, calls on its readers to out senior churchmen who they suspect may be gay. It also says:

"We do not want you to contact us merely to give us information ... but then insist that we keep it to ourselves if you give us information that we find iscredible and trustworthy, then we will make it public."

Patricia McKeever, who edits the newsletter told the Glasgow-based paper The Sunday Herald:

"The key objective behind naming homosexual priests andbishops is to raise awareness of the problem within the Scottish Church, ultimately to ensure the safety of others in the Church. Not just the physical safety of children, important though that is, but also the spiritual safety of people and congregations entrusted to the care of a homosexual priest or bishop."

She said she had received information on gay priests in at least two diocese[s] and one other Church institution.

Catholic Truth, based in Edinburgh's Princes Street, seeks to restore"traditional" Catholicism in Scotland. It has previously criticised safe sex messages in schools and condemned liberal Catholics. When Cardinal Keith O'Brien declined to support Bishop Devine's view that homosexuals should not be allowed to teach in Catholic schools, Catholic Truth accused him of being "unfit" for office and demanded his resignation.

George Broadhead, secretary of the Gay and Lesbian Humanist Association, said:

"This is a 21st century witch-hunt. People who are innocent of any kind of misdeed could find themselves on the website of this obnoxious organisation being condemned by association as paedophiles. This malevolent woman must be stopped before she causes immense harm to innocent people. We call on the Catholic hierarchy in Scotland to distance itself from this truly revolting campaign. However, given its own rampant homophobia, we don't hold out much hope."


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