YESTERDAY A COMMENT MAKER ON THE BLOG SET THE CAT AMONG THE PIDGEONS BY SUGGESTING THAT THREE 13-YEAR-OLDS TOLD THEM THAT THEY WOULD LIKE TO SEE FATHER RORY COYLE OF ARMAGH DIOCESE BACK IN MINISTRY.
Those of us who claim that we are trying to be Christians MUST answer this question with the Gospel and the teachings of Jesus in the forefront of our minds.
Rory has certainly caused a major scandal in the Irish RC Church and from the point of view of objective Catholic morality he has "sinned" and failed. He has also broken his promise of celibacy, which, whether we like it or not, demands that active Catholic priests maintain a high level of chastity as well as celibacy.
But Rory is not the biggest sinner that ever lived - nor has he indeed committed an UNFORGIVABLE SIN.
In fact, in God's eyes, there is no such a thing as a sin that God is not capable of forgiving.
Rory could have done many a worse thing. He could have taken the life of another person. He could have raped someone. He could have abused a minor etc., etc.
He is obviously a gay man and he found it hard or impossible to refrain from sexual intimacy. Unfortunately for him, he used the infamous Grindr app to talk to a young man and show him his face and his "bits and bobs".
That young man had been a student of Rory's when he was a school chaplain in a previous parish and the young man in question felt angry and scandalized by Rory. He contacted The Irish News newspaper and told them the story and gave them copies of the offending pictures.
The Irish News decided not to publish these pictures but they did carry the story.
They also carried the story of the widespread support and sympathy that Rory was receiving in Armagh from parishioners and members of the GAA in which Rory was very involved.
He later appeared at the back of Armagh Cathedral one morning at 10 am Mass sporting a bushy ginger beard.
Some people wondered if this was him and Amy testing the water for a Rory come back?
Since then the trail has gone silent.
If Rory really and sincerely wants a second chance at priesthood it's very hard, from the Christian perspective, to see why he does not deserve that second chance.
Of course, it would mean some embarrassment for him as people have very long memories.
It would also put dear Amy in a difficult position.
And, of course, it would mean that Rory would have to be sure that celibacy was for him - especially now that he knows the price that is paid for living a double life and being found out.
I often quote my deceased Dad's sayings on this blog. One of those sayings was:
"ITS HARD TO GO IN YOUR BARE FEET WHEN YOU ARE USED TO WEARING SHOES".
If during Rory's absence he has experienced intimacy with others I think that reengaging with celibacy would be more difficult. But of course - not impossible.
What would I advise Rory if he spoke to me about it?
I would advise him to be absolutely open with himself about who he is and what his human needs are and be guided by that.
Celibacy is an "unnatural" state and it really suits a minority of people.
Having been freed from those "chains" - albeit in a painful and public way - would Rory be wise to offer himself back to his chains again?
Rory IS a priest. He will ALWAYS be a priest. Even if he is "laicized" as a cleric he will still be a priest and under canon law will have the obligation to administer the Last Rites to those in danger of death.
He can exercise his priesthood is so many ways out in the world. And he can do that and still have a Beloved in his life.
By all accounts, Rory is a likable man and a man of considerable talents.
Should he squander those talents on a celibate priesthood which has as much a future as the Titanic did after it hit the iceberg?
Grindr was Rory's iceberg.
But he has survived it.
He is a young man and I hope - whatever he decides - his future will bring him happiness.
He may even look back in the future and thank God and Providence for that iceberg.
It may have stopped him continuing to float in waters that would lead to hypocrisy, frustration and a profound sense of emptiness and waste.