Saturday, January 21, 2006

Going My Way?

Blarney apparently has its charms:

At least 500 women in Ireland are conducting clandestine affairs with Roman Catholic priests, according to the leader of a support group set up to look after those in forbidden relationships.

Bishop Pat Buckley said an extremely conservative estimate was that one in 10 of the 5,000 Catholic priests in Ireland enjoyed regular sex with women and some even referred to their clerical collar as the "bird catcher".

....Bishop Buckley runs the Bethany organisation in Larne, Co Antrim, which he set up to provide support to those in love affairs with the clergy.

....Counselling sessions organised by Bethany have disclosed that several women were unwittingly having sex with the same priest.

....Romances between an understanding man of God and an unloved wife were commonplace, as were priests and their housekeepers secretly living together as man and wife while relationships between priests and nuns were unofficially known as the "third way" by the church.

...."Some priests are in the Jack the lad mould and have several relationships in various parishes. I have heard priests refer to their clerical collar as the bird catcher," Bishop Buckley said.

The Roman Catholic Church in Ireland declined to comment on Bishop Buckley's claims.

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