Father Felix Donnelly: commentator on human sexuality

Father Felix Donnelly died in Auckland on Monday 26 August.

He was Director of Religious Education for the Auckland Diocese 1962-1971.

For 20 years Donnelly was a talkback host on Radio Pacific.

Donnelly was a controversial commentator on issues in relation to human sexuality.

His views were often seen to be in conflict with the teachings of the Catholic Church but, although his ministry was at times limited, Donnelly remained a priest.

Donnelly studied for the priesthood at Holy Cross College, Mosgiel (1947–1953).

He was ordained a priest for the Auckland Catholic Diocese by Archbishop Liston on 19 July 1953.

As an academic, Donnelly was director of the Department of Community Health and Department of Psychiatry and Behavioural Science at the University of Auckland, Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences from 1972 until his retirement in 1994.

He was the founder and long-term director of the Youthlink Family Trust.

In 1970 Donnelly was instrumental in founding Youthline, a telephone counselling helpline service for youth, run by youth, which still continues.

In 1971 he also established the Youthline Hostel as a home for troubled youth in Auckland.

He was was a prolific writer of non-fiction and wrote one novel.

Felix Donnelly College was named after him.

In the 1998 Queen’s Birthday Honours, Donnelly was appointed an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit, for services to the welfare of youth.

A service to celebrate Donnelly’s life will be held on Saturday 7 September 2019, 11 am at McLaurin Chapel, 12 Princes St, Auckland Central.


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News category: New Zealand.

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