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Priest who won property dispute with former partner 'taking time away from Church'

Bishop John Fleming said the news came as a “shock” to him.

Image: Priest via Shutterstock

Updated 8.50pm

THE PRIEST WHO on Friday won a property dispute with his former Franciscan friar ex-partner is “reflecting on his life”, a bishop has told his diocese.

Father Gabriel Rosbotham was awarded a 27% share in Rose Cottage in the Bluestack Mountains on Friday, telling reporters on Friday “I am who I am”.

Today, in a letter to the Diocese of Killala and the parishes of Ballina and Crossmolina, where Father Rosbotham had served, Bishop John Fleming said the case came as “a complete shock” to him.

“This news has caused deep distress and I want you to know that all of you are in my thoughts and prayers at this very difficult time.

“For the past seventeen years Father Gabriel has ministered in this diocese, in your parishes, and he has received great appreciation for his pastoral care, his ability to relate to the young, his effectiveness as a preacher and, in particular, for his singing at Mass.

Since the court case ended I have met with Father Gabriel and he has decided to take some time to himself, away from the diocese, to reflect on his life, on the commitments he made and on his ministry, as well as to think about the future. I know that you will join with me in praying for him, as he seeks God’s guidance for the way forward.

Fleming went on to say that he was aware of the shock felt in the community, but urged people to support Rosbotham.

“I am deeply aware of the sadness of very many people in this community, as well as the great shock felt by so many at the revelations made during the court case. I am offering this Mass for all of you and for all those hurt, distressed or disillusioned by what has happened.

“The Church and, in particular, the Christian community of which each of us is a member, is the place where we are joined to Christ, our Lord, and where we support one another in good times and in bad. It is also the place where we find forgiveness, hope, encouragement and healing. I hope and pray during these coming weeks and months that the Lord will be with all of us to renew our own faith, and the faith and trust of this community.”

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