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A Scottish priest who authored an exposé on the gay lobby in the Church has been sentenced.
Father Matthew Despard of the diocese of Motherwell, Scotland, published a tell-all book in 2013 alleging homosexual influence in the Scottish hierarchy.
Shortly after the book's publication, Bishop Joseph Toal suspended Fr. Despard and initiated a canonical trial against him. Loyal parishioners staged walk-outs during Masses offered by the bishop in Fr. Despard's parish, while Father stood outside weeping.
The book went out around the same time Scottish Cardinal Keith O’Brien resigned in disgrace after admitting sexual improprieties. Titled Priesthood in Crisis, the book accuses various Scottish clergy of facilitating or ignoring bullying by homosexuals.
Two years later, a Church tribunal has found Despard guilty of defamation. Bishop Toal issued a letter this week stating, “The judges determined that of the 21 of the 26 charges brought against Father Despard, five were not proven. In the majority of cases, the tribunal ruled that Father Despard had injured the good reputation of a number of people, both lay and clergy.”
He added, “The bishop regrets that a penal case had to be pursued against Father Despard, but felt it necessary in order to vindicate the reputation of those wrongly accused by him.”
Father Despard will now be removed from his parish and required to do three months' penance.
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