CONTROVERSIAL Limerick priest Fr Tony Flannery has backed the views of former President Mary McAleese in calling for the church to recognise and discuss homosexuality amongst the clergy.
Fr Flannery, a member of the Association of Catholic Priests, has said he is glad the former president has made her views public on the Catholic Church’s attitude towards homosexuality.
Speaking on Live 95FM, Fr Flannery, who has been barred from his ministry by the Vatican due to his outspoken views on issues such as homosexuality, contraception and women priests, said: “This has been a bit of an elephant in the room, the whole area of homosexuality within the Catholic Church”.
He said Pope Benedict’s statements on homosexuality as being an “intrinsic evil” were very unhelpful, but praised Pope Francis for dealing with many issues before the Church with more “compassion” than his predecessor.
“We do think that this issue needs to be much more openly discussed within the church, and indeed the whole approach by the Catholic Church towards homosexuality needs to change”.
He said it’s “impossible” to measure how many existing and former members of the clergy are gay, but said it’s undoubtedly the case that there are, and said that he knew “lots of gay priests”.