EMOTIVE supporters of Father Rory Coyle, who is on leave from Armagh after outing himself on the gay app GRINDR are very unfairly attacking THE IRISH NEWS newspaper for publishing the story.
Don't get me wrong! I am neither a supporter of or defender of The Irish News. I believe that The Irish News have been much less than fair to me over the years - and I once reported them (unsuccessfully) to the Press Complaints Commission. But the newspaper IS NOT to blame for the scandal surrounding Rory Coyle.
The scandal surrounding Rory Coyle is a major news item in the Catholic / Nationalist community. The Irish News is the principal newspaper of that community. If it had neglected to give that story prominence it would rightly have been accused of bias and non-professionalism.
Instead The Irish News did a story which told the facts but presented it in a way that said that many in the community were supportive of Father Coyle.
The Irish News had been sent a series of naked pictures of Father Coyle which he himself had placed on Grindr. The Irish News did not publish even ONE of those embarrassing pics.
Nor did it publish the full text of his sex chat which the newspaper had in full.
Furthermore The Irish News refused to let any other newspaper have access to those naked pictures and embarrassing chat - even thought it could have. In fact it could have sold those pictures to others for a good price. Instead it practised restraint and withheld all that material.
And Irish News is a pro Catholic and pro Nationalist newspaper.
It was founded by Catholic bishops and priests to campaign against Charles Stewart Parnell after he committed the big sin in the eyes of the Church of being involved in a relationship in which divorce featured.
In my opinion the vast majority of The Irish News' 40,000 plus readers would have expected it to bring the story to them and bring it to them in the sensitive way they did.
Father Rory Coyle is one of the most prominent priests in Ireland. He was the Master of Ceremonies at the funeral of Cardinal Cahal Daly.
He was the Master of Ceremonies to Cardinal Sean Brady and Archbishop Eamon Martin.
His story is an item that is newsworthy and that is of interest to the public.
If a Free Presbyterian clergyman, or a well known politician or a well known medical had of being caught on Grindr with his pants down The Irish News readers would have expected their paper to run the story prominently,
This is a matter of journalistic professionalism and not a matter of anyone being anti priest, anti gay or anti Catholic.
For God's sake, some Irish News journalists walk up to Mass in St Patrick's Chapel everyday!
Anger against The Irish News is misdirected.
People must focus their anger on who is truly to blame - a very foolish priest, another gay man on Grindr etc.
Let us stop the hysteria and irrationality and let reason and common sense prevail.