Priest: "70% of my peers are gay"

BY Advocate.com Editors

October 30 2002 1:00 AM ET

The Catholic priest who officiated at the wedding of John F. Kennedy Jr. is writing a tell-all book about his life in the priesthood, reports Newsday, and it's not likely to please the church hierarchy. In his book, tentatively titled Going My Way, Charles O'Byrne said he will write, among other things, about gay priests he encountered as a seminarian and later as a priest.

Sexual hypocrisy underlies the priest sex-abuse scandal that has rocked the Roman Catholic Church in America since January, he said, and it was that hypocrisy that finally drove him from the Jesuit priesthood. O'Byrne specifically addressed the issue of gay priests, saying the American Catholic Church may not be able to stay within the Vatican fold if Rome continues to maintain certain blatant contradictions. He cited the church's insistence that homosexuality is an "intrinsic evil," even though the church has a significant number of priests who are gay. Asked to estimate the percentage of American priests who are gay, O'Byrne, 43, said, "In my peer group, I can easily say 70% comfortably--no question about it."

For O'Byrne, conflict over sexual orientation will continue to roil the institution and its believers. "The tensions created by the number of priests who happen to be gay...[are] going to lead, I predict, to an even greater" crisis within the church, he said.

Tags: World

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