BISHOP OF LANCASTER PROMOTES GAY PRIEST WHO TARGETED ME IN THE SEMINARY
|FATHER TOM BUTLER|
A couple of years ago after reading the book PRIESTHOOD IN CRISIS by Scottish priest, Father Matthew Despard
|FATHER MATTHEW DESPARD|
|BISHOP MICHAEL CAMPBELL|
Father Tom Butler with the Bishop to the Forces
I contacted the Roman Catholic Bishop of Lancaster, Bishop Michael Campbell about one of his priests who had sexually targeted me while I was in the seminary - a Father Tom Butler.
On several occasions Father Butler had accosted me in my seminary room naked and aroused under his cassock.
I was not just worried about Father Tom Butler himself who by this time had become a Catholic chaplain in the British army and who not only targeted myself in the seminary and who had also targeted others.
I was also worried because Tom Butler himself while a very young boy had been taken to Rome by another priest - possibly of Lancaster Diocese - and sexually abused in Rome. In fact the priest and the young Tom Butler spent all day in bed together - the priest only leaving the room to say Mass!
Furthermore the young Tom Butler had been sexually abused by a lay teacher while attending a Catholic school in the Diocese of Lancaster.
I was concerned about Tom Butler's current state of mind but I was also very deeply concerned that the other priest and teacher who had abused him were still alive and possibly continuing to abuse young boys or others.
I wanted Bishop Campbell to conduct a full investigation into all these matters and assure me that things were okay and that no children, minors or vulnerable adults were in any danger within his diocese from anyone.
I have known Bishop Campbell for 30 years as he and his family come from Larne in County, Antrim, Ireland where I live.
I was very disappointed when Bishop Campbell did not reply to me letter and he has never contacted me since to give me the reassurances I needed. Instead he got a permanent deacon from the Lancaster Diocese to contact me to ask me some further questions. Not even that deacon has gotten back to me to let me know that an investigation has taken place and that no one is in danger.
This week, by complete coincidence I learned that Father Butler has been taken out of the army and has been promoted by Bishop Campbell to be the parish priest of three united parishes in Cumbria -
Wigton, Maryport and Silloth.
|SAINT CUTHBERT'S CHURCH, MARYPORT|
It seems to me that the Roman Catholic Church in general and the Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales feels it has no obligation to respond to those who bring Safeguarding concerns to their attention?
It used to be the case that when concerns about priests were expressed to bishops that the bishops simply moved priests from posting to posting. I hope that these practices have stopped?
Father Despard, mentioned above, has been suspended by the Catholic Church in Scotland for highlighting the fact of a Gay Mafia in the priesthood who were bulling other priests and seminarians who were both "straight" and gay. Father Despard had experienced this bullying himself in the seminary and while acting as a chaplain in the British Army.
I have not had the opportunity to read Father Despard's book as it has been removed from Amazon Kindle. Many people feel that Father Despard is homophobic in the book. If so, that is sad and he needs to understand that homophobia, like racism or sexism is wrong and sinful. Perhaps he was writing out of a sense of hurt and betrayal?
I am a priest myself who happens to be gay. I believe that there is a very central place in the Catholic priesthood for gay priests, even and especially when they are in committed partnerships.
However there are a number of problems:
1. There are gay priests everywhere in the Catholic Church who are bullies and mafia like and who other priests, seminarians and lay people a very rough time. These people are often living double lives and appear to have no faith and are very cynical. They preach against homosexuality and sex outside marriage on a Sunday morning and on Sunday night they are to be found in the gay saunas and they holiday several times a year in the gay holiday spots.
2. There is a massive difference between gay priests who have consensual relationships with other adults and priests who are sexually interested in minors or children. It is a massive untruth to use the words "gay" and "paedophile" together.
3. Those in authority in the Catholic Church must learn that the days of cover-ups are over and they must respond with openness, integrity and truthfulness when Safeguarding concerns are brought to their attention.