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The reports have already led to the reation of Monor Jeffrey Burrillwho stepped down from his position as general secretary of the U. Conference of Catholic Bishops last month after The Pillar alleged his cell phone data showed he used Grindr and patronized gay bars. The blog has also accused unnamed individuals of using Grindr within the Archdiocese of Newark, which has a history of its priests being accused of sexual misconduct, including former Cardinal Theodore McCarrickwho was charged just weeks ago with sexually assaulting a teenager in


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CAROL has been in a relationship 25 years with a priest.

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A rriving at the fundraiser late, I ordered a pint and then manoeuvred myself through the sea of ceilidh dancers that separated me from familiar faces.

What happens when priests fall in love and abandon celibacy?

I was spat out the other side of a do-si-do without so much as spilling a drop when I literally bumped into her. We had met before in Cologne as year-olds when we were enthusiastic young Catholics on a pilgrimage to see the newly appointed Pope Benedict XVI. During the 10 years that had passed, she had trained as a nurse and got married.

I had become a Catholic priest. When I was ordained I made a promise to the bishop to be celibate for the rest of my life. It was easy to do at the time.

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I had trained for six years in an all-male college away from home — and as a heterosexual man, very little temptation came my way. I was so confident about being celibate that I happily discussed it on TV and radio.

Report: allegations of priests using grindr have unnerved the catholic church

The prospect of never having children was daunting, but I was happy to make that sacrifice to become a priest. That evening at the fundraiser we rekindled our friendship to the soundtrack of a tin whistle.

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I put my foot in it at one point by asking her how her husband was and she informed me she had recently got divorced. She was confident, funny and easy to talk to — the same qualities that had attracted me to her a decade ago in Germany.

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Then, in a scene resembling an episode of Ballykissangel but without anyone dyingshe also fell in love with me. It was at this point that I had to make the most important decision of my life. I wanted to be a priest — I believed it was my calling and I knew that I was good at it — but I also wanted to be with her.

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My parents were very supportive; however, the decision would cost me my home, my job and a lot of friends. And yet inat the age of 29, I took off my dog collar for the final time and walked away from the Catholic priesthood.

Pope Francis had ignored my request for guidance: the letter I got back from a Vatican secretary told me to speak to my bishop.

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So I did. And after many meetings, I finally told him I was choosing love over the church.

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I was under a lot of pressure from the church to abandon her. I was also told that I could not break my vow of celibacy — but it turns out that it was as easy as making it. Of course it did: being with a partner is a natural part of being human. I am currently barred from marrying my fiancee in a Catholic church; they still see me as a priest, so I would need consent from the pope. Although we have yet to make a decision.

I am currently using the knowledge I gained to teach religious affairs and I am managing to find humour in my former life in the standup comedy I do.

Clerical celibacy in the catholic church

I really thought that from time to time I would regret my decision, but I never have. Since I left, I have had the freedom to question my old beliefs, take a step back from church and focus on discovering the world for myself. Other priests in similar situations can have very different experiences. I know men who have pushed away the person they love because they are scared to leave the priesthood — and who can blame them when they were trained at a young age, then given a home, living expenses and prestige?

I also know men caught between both worlds, unable to leave the priesthood and unable to leave their lover. It was reported last week that due to the low of priests in Brazil, Pope Francis will ask priests who left for marriage to return. Dermot might have returned, but these men should stay away for their dignity. Some will see the return of married priests as a victory over harsh Catholic rules — maybe in time it will be — but for men who will be asked to return now, it is an affront to their marriages.

The pope will want these men to give up their lives again; not because the church suddenly recognises the value of their relationships, but because it is desperately low on priests. However, it means that I have the life I have now — and I am spending it with the person I love. A moment that changed me Catholicism.

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This article is more than 4 years old. Dan Murtah. I met an old friend at a ceilidh — and romance followed. But I was a Catholic priest: pursuing our relationship would mean turning away from my vocation. Photograph: Dan Murtah.

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Fri 13 Jan Allow married Catholic priests to halt decline in Ireland, says clergyman. Reuse this content.

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