A Dublin priest decided to risk everything by choosing to come out in front of his congregation in order to fight for same-sex marriage.
But it was worth taking, for he received a standing ovation from his parishioners.
Father Martin Dolan, a priest at Church of St Nicholas of Myra in Dublin’s city center, led Mass last weekend by calling on his flock to support same-sex marriage in the upcoming Irish referendum.
‘I’m gay myself,’ he revealed.
At first there was a smattering of applause, and then his ‘proud’ parishioners stood up to clap at the bravery of his statement.
Liz O’Connor, a community youth worker, told the Irish Sun: ‘We are all very proud of Martin. Because he has admitted that he is gay doesn’t change the person that he was before he said it.’
But not everyone was pleased by Dolan’s coming out, with some suggesting he should be fired or moved from the church he has been at for 15 years.
‘I wouldn’t like to see him being moved for the statement he made. That would be horrendous,’ O’Connor added.
‘He should be supported. He has done nothing wrong. If he’s moved, there would be uproar in this parish. He’s still the same man today.
‘Martin has always been an advocate of people’s rights, and even spoke about the child abuse in the Church.
‘There’s not many [priests] that would come out because they’re afraid of the bishops and that, but Martin is his own man. That’s what he believes in.’
The Dublin Archdiocese declined to comment until they had spoken directly to Dolan.
In the polls leading up to May’s referendum, they show over 70% of Irish people support gay marriage.