A thank you to Pope Francis

 

Sir, – As a former Catholic priest, for me Ursula Halligan’s piece (Opinion, October 24th) on Pope Francis’s comments on civil unions for gay couples brought back memories of my own struggles with my sexuality in my teens and 20s.

When working as a priest in Nottingham in the late 1960s I refused to preach the church’s teaching on artificial birth control which showed a lack of understanding of human sexuality and compassion for the struggling married couples I had come to know and respect in my work in the parish. My bishop made it impossible for me to continue my work as a priest.

Looking back as a gay man, living happily with my civil partner since 1978 – a situation I never could have foreseen when I collided with that bishop in 1968 – I read the Pope’s views with great admiration and excitement. He is a brave man and I thank him on my behalf and on behalf of all Catholics who have felt unwanted by the church for so many years. – Yours, etc,

JOHN KEANE,

Dublin 8.