Content Warning: Contains mentions of a death by suicide.
A British cathedral is currently under investigation by the Vatican following rumours of an alleged “sex party” hosted on church property during the pandemic lockdown.
Multiple churchgoers shared that in 2021, Father Michael McCoy, then dean of St. Mary’s Newcastle Cathedral, invited them to attend an event in his living quarters adjacent to the cathedral.
The church sex party was organised during lockdown while public gatherings were not allowed.
The case is being investigated by the Catholic Safeguarding Standards Agency (CSSA) who is tasked at investigating all reported abuses, alleged abuses, and concerns that have come to light since the resignation of former Bishop Robert Byrne in December 2022.
Upon leaving his post, Byrne told worshippers that his position had become “too great a burden.” In a letter to the clergy he shared, “My own discernment has caused me to recognise that I now feel unable to continue serving the people of the diocese in the way that I would wish.”
The Vatican has emphasised that there is no indication that Byrne was involved with the alleged sex party at Newcastle St Mary’s Cathedral, however.
The current investigation involves Father Michael McCoy who died by suicide in April 2021. Days before his death, McCoy had been informed that he would be under investigation for a historical child sexual abuse allegation.
In recent years, several accounts have highlighted the hypocrisy within the Catholic church, suggesting it promotes unhealthy perspectives on sexuality that ultimately harm the LGBTQ+ community.
Pope Benedict, who died on December 31, left instructions for his book, What Is Christianity? to be published after his death. In the text, he claims that vocational training for priests is on the verge of collapse since some priests in training are permitted to view pornography.
Regarding the current investigation, CSSA has promised to leave no stone unturned when it comes to reviewing case details and keeping people safe.
If you have been affected by this story or are are looking to reach out to someone for support or advice or just to talk, there are numerous services available for LGBTQ+ people, listed below, and many offer instant messaging support.
Mental Health Ireland
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