Controversial self-styled bishop Pat Buckley has spoken about his “deep love” for his Filipino boyfriend ahead of their marriage — stating he can see no contradiction between their partnership and his faith.
The outspoken priest, who has conducted his independent ministry since 1986, will marry chef Eduardo Yango (32) in a civil partnership this weekend in Larne. Though he says he knows it will infuriate the Catholic hierarchy, he has vowed to continue his ministry .
He told the Sunday Tribune: “There is no conflict between my love for Eduardo and my faith. Both are equally important to me. But this is ground-breaking territory.
“Other priests have married women or entered civil partnerships with men. But they’d all left the church beforehand — none continued with their ministry.
“I’ve been battling against the Catholic church as an institution for 25 years. I’m old and wise enough not to lose sleep worrying over what the hierarchy thinks.”
Bishop Buckley and his partner have been together three years and decided to enter into a civil partnership a few months ago.
They met when the Filipino was visiting Ireland.
Buckley said, apart from a few witnesses, the wedding will be private but they would throw a party at a later date for friends and family, who he said are “100%” behind him.
Eduardo’s family know nothing about the union however and the Filipino has declined to comment saying: “I would prefer not to talk about it at the moment.”
The bishop, who has a long established ministry to the gay and lesbian community, says that he believes “homosexuality is not sinful in the context of love. Sex is only sinful when it is about use or abuse”.
Speaking about the relationship, the 57-year-old said: “It wasn’t a wild, love-at-first-sight thing. It’s a meeting of soulmates and companionship. It’s rooted in deeper things than physical attraction alone.
“Eduardo and I have the courage to nail our colours to the mast and hopefully we will encourage thousands of others to do the same.
“The Iris Robinson story shows that too many people in the North pretend to be something they are not and lead hidden lives.”
He added: “If what Eduardo and I are doing moves the North a little bit further towards respecting tolerance and diversity, it will be a step in the right direction.”