Priest alleges bullying by Church hierarchy over ‘gay mafia’ claims

gay mafia

Scottish Catholic priest Father Matthew Despard alleges he’s been subjected to bullying by church hierarchy after publishing a book accusing the Catholic Church in Scotland of being controlled by a “powerful gay mafia”.

Despite being suspended from parish duties in 2013 for his claims, Father Despard remains resolute, stating he won’t apologise for speaking the truth.

Father Despard’s book ‘Priesthood in Crisis’ led to his suspension from St John Ogilve’s parish in Blantyre, South Lanarkshire.

A Vatican court ruling in 2016 cleared the way for a possible return. However, the church says he will not be allowed to return until he makes a public apology.

Father Despard said the last 10 years had been “incredibly hard”.

“I have privately asked Bishop Toal again and again to return to a parish but have been ignored” he said.

“It’s unjust, I’m still waiting here. I have no avenues left but to speak out publicly. I feel I have been systematically bullied and silenced by the church.”

Despite being barred from certain religious duties, he remains employed by the church.

The Vatican’s ruling cleared the way for his return, but the final decision lies with Bishop Joseph Toal of Motherwell.

In response to the Vatican’s criteria for his return, which includes withdrawing the book and issuing a public apology, Father Despard asserts he has fulfilled both requirements.

However, Bishop Toal insists on a public apology. Father Despard refuses to meet the demand, stating, “I’m not sorry for telling the truth.”

Support from parishioners

Father Despard’s case has gained attention amid wider controversies within the Scottish Catholic Church, notably surrounding Cardinal Keith O’Brien who faced allegations of sexual misconduct dating back to the 1980s.

Brian Devlin, one of the accusers, highlighted a culture of silence within the church.

Fr Despard still enjoys support within his former parish.

Retired NHS clerical worker Helen Duddy is a member of a support group in his former parish which is trying to have Father Despard reinstated to church duties.

“He was fantastic for the parish. It’s very sad” Duddy said.

The Diocese of Motherwell maintains that Father Despard’s return to public ministry hinges on his willingness to apologise to those affected by his book and his gay mafia comment. However Father Despard stands firm, alleging systematic bullying and refusing to apologise for speaking out.



Daily Mail


Additional reading

News category: Great reads, World.

Tags: , , , ,