CATHOLIC Truth has been approached by some concerned parishioners in the parish of St John Ogilvie in Blantyre, deeply upset at the suspension of their priest, Father Matthew Despard.

We have supported Fr Despard - although we have never met him or had any personal contact with him - and we are willing to speak on behalf of these concerned parishioners because we believe that he is being unjustly treated by the hierarchy. Priests who admit to being homosexual are on public record disowning Catholic sexual morality in this area, and even openly work within the "gay rights" movement, yet they are allowed to remain "priests in good standing" without any sanctions imposed upon them.

It is, in fact, important to note that Bishop Joseph Devine, despite being named in Fr Despard's book, chose to make no public statement on the matter and issued an assurance that there would be no action taken.

For Bishop Toal, then - despite being in a merely "caretaker" role - to choose to suspend Fr Despard from priestly ministry has shocked both Fr Despard and his parishioners to the core. I have been impressed by the determination of the genuinely upset parishioners who have contacted me, to do everything in their power to have Fr Despard reinstated without delay.

Child-abusing priests have been protected and even promoted within the church worldwide, and there has been little to no calling to account of negligent bishops. That Fr Despard should be suspended from his priestly ministry for having published a book in an effort to expose the extent of homosexual infiltration within the church is excessive in the extreme.

The hierarchy risks raising suspicions among the Catholics of Scotland that they have chosen to punish Fr Despard rather than deal with the major problem of homosexual infiltration within the priesthood in Scotland.

Speaking on behalf of our readership and the parishioners of St John Ogilvie's parish, we call upon Bishop Toal to reinstate Fr Despard as parish priest with immediate effect.

Patricia McKeever,


Catholic Truth,

10 Sandyford Place,