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Father Matthew Despard BBC.png
Father Matthew Despard BBC.png
World News

Priest alleges bullying after asserting Scottish Catholic Church is led by 'gay mafia'

by Kelly Valencia

A clergyman who authored a book accusing the Catholic Church in Scotland of being controlled by a "powerful gay mafia" has alleged he has faced harassment from church authorities.

Father Matthew Despard was suspended from parish duties in 2013 after making these allegations in a self-published book.

Although restricted from certain religious responsibilities, such as saying Mass, he has continued to be employed by the church.

His appeal against suspension was brought before the Roman Rota in Italy in 2016, an internal Catholic court system.

However, a Vatican court ruling paved the way for a potential reinstatement, but the church stipulated that he would only be permitted to return upon issuing a public apology.

In an interview with the BBC, Father Despard has insisted that while he feels no remorse for speaking the truth,  the past decade has been "incredibly challenging".

"I have repeatedly implored Bishop Toal in private to allow me back to a parish, but my requests have been ignored," he stated.

"It's unjust; I am still here waiting. I have exhausted all avenues but to voice my grievances publicly.

"I believe I have been systematically harassed and silenced by the church."

A spokesperson for the Diocese of Motherwell told Premier:

"Fr Despard was asked to make a personal apology to those still living who were written about in his book and who remain hurt and offended by it. To date these apologies have not been made.  Any consideration on suitability for public ministry remains a matter for the Bishop."

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