“I am a Kilalloe priest who has known Pat a long time and he asked for my take on the current situation with regard Father Ger Fitzgerald and its handling by our bishop, Fintan Monahan.
Personally, I am not a friend of Gers and as a person I feel quite neutral about him. He is neither my hero or my enemy.
I respect Fintan as my bishop but am aware that he has his limitations.
When two adults have consensual sex it takes two to tango.
However, I would say that Ger has made a formal and public promise of celibacy. The woman has no such vows or promises.
From what I gather, the woman was vulnerable after her father’s and the sale of the family home.
As a PP Ger is in a position of trust. It is a violation of that trust to engage in a relationship and sex with a parishioner. The power balance is all wrong and as such the issue of true consent comes into question.
The current discipline of the church obligates Ger, myself and others to be celibate. In practice that means that we are not allowed , morally or canonically to have sex with anyone.
In dressing as a priest and in standing up, vested at Mass, each time we are saying “I am here because I am observing my priestly obligations.
To stand there, leading a double life, is a lie, a contradiction and fraudulent.
Ger, and others like him, must decide to either observe the obligations he has freely accepted, or leave the priesthood.
In making that decision, one way or another, he will be showing integrity.
Fintan’s role is clear.
He must remove Ger’s faculties from him for the time being.
Ger must leave Cloughleigh and take a period of three or six months to decide his future.
If he wants back he must recommit to celibacy and practice that.
If he cannot do that he must embrace another way of life.
This decision is for Ger and Fintan to make.
The people of Cloughleigh have no role to play. Fintan can of course listen to their concerns – but Fintan and Fintan alone, is the decision-maker.
One thing is certain. This scandal must end and must end now.
As long as it continues it is sowing dissension and low morale among the clergy.
It is confusing and disconserting the laity.
It is dividing Ennis parish.
It is turning the woman into a scapegoat.
Fintan is the ONE responsible for the unity and peacefulness of the People of God.
Fintan, act NOW”!
ONLY TWO SEMINARIANS STUDYING FOR ARCHDIOCESE OF DUBLIN!
Archbishop Dermot Farrell announced yesterday that Dublin only has two seminarians!