Fr Radcliffe breaks silence in Divine Mercy row

Nothing said, written against Church teaching, Dominican insists

Fr Timothy Radcliffe has insisted that nothing he has said or written on homosexuality “was against the teaching of the Church”.

Responding to criticism levelled against the organisers of this year’s Divine Word Conference, set for the RDS in Dublin this weekend, Fr Radcliffe issued a statement to address concerns expressed by some against his appearance as a guest speaker.

“I have been surprised at the wide concern with my views on homosexuality,” he said. “I have written or edited eight books, and given over a thousand lectures since my return from Rome, and none of these have been about homosexuality, except in passing.”

Acknowledging that he has penned an article on the subject of homosexuality, Fr Radcliffe nevertheless points out that this “received the approval of my successor as Master of the Order, and of the Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster prior to publication”.

On the accusation that he presided over ‘gay Masses’ in Soho in London, Fr Radcliffe said: “I have presided occasionally at Masses which were intended to be especially welcoming to gay people. These Masses are part of the pastoral programme of the Archdiocese of Westminster, approved by Cardinal Murphy O’Connor, who consulted the then Cardinal Ratzinger and received his support. There are no grounds at all for regarding these Masses as gatherings of dissenters from the Church’s teaching.”

On the issue of supporting gay marriage, an accusation levelled against Fr Radcliffe as a result of an address to the compilers of the Pilling report on human sexuality for the Church of England, Fr Radcliffe pointed out that “the key issue was ‘gay marriage’ which I opposed. Nothing that I said was against the teaching of the Church.”

Meanwhile, in a response to demand for places at this year’s conference the Divine Mercy organisers have issued a call for priests to hear an expected 3,500 Confessions during the event this weekend.