Renegade Catholic bishop Pat Buckley's wedding postponed
It had been billed as one of the weddings of the year. But the civil partnership between Bishop Pat Buckley and his Filipino boyfriend descended into farce yesterday.
The maverick cleric was due to tie the knot in Larne, but the event was called off after his intended suddenly became publicity-shy.
Around half a dozen journalists and photographers had gathered outside the offices of Larne Borough Council but, as 3.30pm came and went, there was no sign of the happy couple.
Instead, it was left to a receptionist to come out and break the news the wedding was off.
The reason? The intense media interest, said Bishop Buckley, who instead was found back at home at The Oratory.
While his partner, Eduardo Yango, may have been camera shy, the priest was only too happy to speak, inviting the journalists inside for a chat.
He explained that the marriage isn’t off — it will go ahead soon — but only when his partner has had time to “de-stress”.
“Eduardo has found the last 10 to 14 days really overwhelming,” he said. “We decided that we’d postpone things on Sunday night because he is totally and utterly stressed out.”
Fr Buckley explained that news of their civil partnership had travelled around the globe, making headlines from the Philippines to Costa Rica.
“Eduardo was on the internet last week and was shocked that there were so many headlines about him,” he added. “You don’t expect a little tinpot civil partnership in Larne to be reported all around the world.
“Also, culturally speaking, the Philippines is where Ireland was 30 or 40 years ago. So from a cultural, religious and stress point of view, he’s just been finding things very difficult.
“I’m a little bit disappointed, but at the same time I’m a realist,” he added.
He said he been delighted with the response of ordinary people.
“However, people have been very supportive and, since the news broke a fortnight ago, I have been inundated with emails and text messages.
“There were one or two of the Paisleyite-type, for want of a better word, who were talking about abomination. But, as we know from other events in Northern Ireland recently, when people in glass houses throw stones, they sometimes break their own windows.”
Fr Buckley was suspended as a Catholic priest in 1986 and excommunicated in 1998 following his unlawful ordination as a bishop, and he is unconcerned about the repercussions from his gay marriage.
“As an institution, the church can sometimes tear up people’s ID cards like they used to do in Communist Russia, and send people to Siberia.
“I feel rather lucky that I was sent to Larne and not Siberia.”