Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 19 April 2014

Vatican's diktats make me feel hurt, says former priest

An Irish priest whose love affair rocked the Catholic Church has revealed that he feels new restrictions sent to him by the Vatican make him a "second-class citizen".

Sean Page (54), originally from Castlerea, Co Roscommon, last year wed his partner, Clarice Young, a mother of five.

The wedding took place in a simple Church of England ceremony near his home in Rochdale, greater Manchester.

But despite leaving the Catholic Church, he still feels it is interfering with his life.

Among the conditions delivered to him in a Vatican document were to ensure any wedding celebration was "low-key", to "absent himself" from areas where he would have been known as a priest and to undertake to not engage in teaching theology.

More than a decade ago, the former curate in St Anne's parish in Sligo left the priesthood in a blaze of publicity to move in with a mother-of-seven. The relationship later failed and he moved from Sligo to make his home in the UK.

Last year as he made preparations to marry his new partner Ms Young, the Bishop of Elphin, Christopher Jones, wrote to Mr Page to ask that he go through the laicisation process from the Catholic Church. Mr Page said the notification of his dispensation that he received from the Vatican on Holy Thursday had left him "hurt".

He will not be signing the dispensation. But, as he understands it, he is now laicised as it takes effect from the moment he received it by registered mail.

The Catholic Communications Office did not respond to queries.

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