GAY PRIEST AND GAY MARRIAGE
Last weekend the parish priest of St Nicholas of Myra parish in Dublin city told his congregation that he was gay - and also that he was celibate.
Father Martin Dolan had been preaching a sermon about the beginning of the New Year and was talking about all the changes that would be happening - including the referendum to make Gay Marriage legal in the Republic of Ireland.
He asked his parishioners to vote in favour of Gay Marriage.
As part of his sermon he admitted that he himself was gay but celibate.
I think that Father Martin and I were seminarians together in Holy Cross Seminary in Dublin in the 1970's.
I have heard from many people over the years about his compassion and kindness as a priest.
He is very much loved in his current parish where he has been for 15 years.
I think that his "coming out" last week was very courageous and honest. His integrity in the eyes of many will be greatly lauded.
I hope the people of Ireland listen to his call and vote for gay marriage.
Civil Marriage (not church marriage) is a civil and human right.
Its introduction will be another step in the gradual emergence of Ireland as a modern democracy - and another nail in the coffin for fundamentalist and fascist Roman Catholicism.