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'I find them terrifying': Mary McAleese wary of gay priests and nuns who preach anti-LGBTI message

The former President expressed her concerns at ‘fake hetero homophobes’ within the Church.

Image: PA Archive/PA Images

MARY MCALEESE HAS expressed concern at the damage caused to children and adolescents by the Church’s teachings on homosexuality.

Speaking at the launch of a new study challenging the Catholic Church’s stance on homosexuality, the former president said she was also “terrified” by gay priests and nuns who taught children that homosexuality was wrong.

She said: “A phenomenon that I have found very commonly are what I call the ‘fake hetero homophobes’ within the clergy, who live double lives as gay men and women, but who [wear a veil] that is really stridently homophobic.

“And I find them terrifying. Many of them are young priests who are going to be the very pastors who I as a mother might have taken my son to, for example, for help.

“And when I think of the damage that they can cause, they themselves are very damaged human beings.”

However, she expressed hope that academic research being carried out by UK-based think-tank the Wijngaards Institute could lead to the disappearance of the phenomenon.

McAleese also claimed that children educated by Catholic-run institutions have “the right not to be subjected” to misinformation on homosexuality that would damage their lives and marginalise them.

She said: “Homophobia is dangerous in the lives of our growing children, in particular our adolescent children.

“It is dangerous, it is damaging, and those who provide the services to our children through which that teaching is conveyed have a huge moral and indeed a legal responsibility to those children to ensure that nothing they do abuses those children’s rights or compromises their futures.”

She added that the Catholic Church was at a “tipping point” in relation to its teaching on homosexuality, and claimed that its future would be defined by how it dealt with LGBTI issues.

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