“Dear Bishop Pat, I am a serving priest in an Irish diocese and I also happen to be HIV +. My bishop was told of my status by a former lady friend in whom I had stupidly confided. At a time in my life I was sexually active with two priests and a lay man. The priest who infected me is now deceased I have not been sexually active for many years and made a general confession while on retreat at a monastery. Incidentally, another monk at that monastery tried to seduce me during that retreat and I fully resisted him.

My bishop called me in and was very aggressive with me during the interview and has used my status to control and bully me. I am not strong enough to stand up to him. I also like being a priest and do not want to be dismissed.

I know five other priests who are also HIV + and they live in fear of their bishops finding out. I just wanted people to know of this problem in the priesthood and the lack of kindness we receive even when have confessed, been forgiven and living a life of continence. Thank you for all you do to let people that we priests have all the same problems others do”.

My Dear Brother Priest,

Thank you for your email. I personally know six priests who are HIV + and still in ministry. Its far from being a small problem in the Irish RCC.

Most of the affected I know have not told their bishop about their status. There is no need for Bishops to know the private details of priest’s health.

It is against Article 8 of the Human Rights Act.

The judge in Belfast contravened that article when he publicly announced my status.

I did consult the N. Ireland Human Rights body but was some says late in submitting a complaint.

But the N. I Chief Justice circulated instructions to all the judges.

Any priest having problems with his bishop in this area, or any area should consult a solicitor.

Any priest who needs a good solicitor can contact me for information on solicitors who are not afraid of taking on the RCC hierarchy.

This Blog has friends in the legal profession North and South.