herald

Monday 23 October 2017

Gay priest takes time away from ministry after case

Fr Gabriel Rosbotham
Fr Gabriel Rosbotham

A priest who took a case against his former lover, an ex-Franciscan friar, over the ownership of a house is to take time out to reflect on his life and ministry.

Fr Gabriel Rosbotham will take time to "reflect on his life, on the commitments he made and on his ministry", according to the Bishop of Killala, Dr John Fleming.

In a letter read out at Mass in all 22 parishes, Dr Fleming said news of the recent court case had come as "a complete shock to me, to the priests of the diocese and - I am sure - to all of you".

Dr Fleming attended Mass in the parish of Kilmoremoy in Co Mayo, where Fr Rosbotham is the curate.

He said the news had caused deep distress, adding that parishioners were in his thoughts and prayers.

He told parishioners that he has met with Fr Rosbotham since the case.

"For the past 17 years, Father Gabriel has ministered in this diocese, in your parishes, and he has received great appreciation for his pastoral care.

"Since the court case ended I have met with Fr Gabriel and he has decided to take some time away from the diocese, to reflect on his life, on the commitments he made and on his ministry."

Dr Fleming said he was deeply aware of the sadness and shock felt by many people in the community 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," he said.

sued

Fr Rosbotham's private life was brought into the public eye after he sued his former lover for the rights to a cottage.

Last week a court ruled that Fr Gabriel was entitled to a 27pc share of Rose Cottage, a bungalow in the foothills of Donegal's Bluestack Mountains. Mr Crawford and Fr Rosbotham had shared the house on and off between 1994 and 2002. The men had begun a relationship in the 1980s. It ended in 2002.

hnews@herald.ie

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