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Support for priest who posted pictures on gay dating website

Fr Rory Coyle has been absent from clerical duties since March
 

THERE has been support for a well-known Catholic priest after it emerged he had posted pictures of himself on a gay dating website.

Fr Rory Coyle, who is also a member of Armagh GAA's management committee, has been absent from clerical duties since March when he asked for some time off to reflect on his future.

The 35-year-old priest, originally from Drogheda, has been a curate in Armagh for the last six years.

In 2010 he was master of ceremonies during the funeral Mass of Cardinal Cahal Daly.

He is also on the board of governors of St Malachy's Primary School and is chaplain for St Catherine's College in Armagh.

Fr Coyle posted a series of comments and pictures of himself on the gay dating website 'Grindr' earlier this year, including his own mobile phone number.

He did not say that he is a member of the clergy, describing himself as a lecturer.

There is no suggestion of any illegal behaviour.

A spokesman for the Archdiocese of Armagh said on Thursday: "Early in March, Father Rory Coyle asked Archbishop Eamon Martin for time off to obtain personal and spiritual support.

"Following this, on March 22 he asked the Archbishop to extend his leave so that he could 'engage in a period of personal discernment and receive further help'.

"Father Coyle's request was granted and he is currently on leave of absence".

The priest also published a message in the Armagh parish bulletin at the end of March confirming he was on extended leave and asking to be kept in parishioners' prayers.

Sinn Fein Newry and Armagh MLA Cathal Boylan said on Thursday night that people would wish Fr Coyle well "at this difficult time".

"Fr Rory Coyle is well respected by the community in Armagh and known for his dedication and work promoting Gaelic games.

"I'm sure I'll not be alone in wishing him well at this difficult time."

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