Principal criticises Church gay stance

Former GAA star ‘parts company’ with the Church on issue

The principal of one of Ireland’s largest Catholic post-primary schools has criticised the Church’s teaching on homosexuality.

Jarlath Burns, principal of St Paul’s High School, Bessbrook, Co. Armagh also welcomed the recent acknowledgement by Dublin’s Archbishop Diarmuid Martin that the teaching could be used in a homophobic way.

In a wide-ranging interview with The Irish Catholic Mr Burns, a leading figure in the GAA, said Dr Martin’s comments were “very important”.

“This is one area of Church teaching where I part company completely with the Church.

“Why should we say to gay people that it is not a sin to be gay but it is a sin to have a partner and to practise homosexuality? That is a very prescriptive thing to say about people who can offer so much to us and to society,” Mr Burns said.

He said that “maybe once every couple of months a pupil would come out as being gay…we would celebrate, under diversity, the fact that we are all different, all made in the image and likeness of God but all different.”

Elsewhere in the interview he robustly defended Catholic education saying “I would die for it” and rejected recent comments critical of Catholic schools by Education Minister Ruairi Quinn.