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A Roman Catholic priest has given a unique insight into day-to-day life at a remote and little-known rehabilitation home used by the church to treat alcoholic, gay and paedophiliac clergymen. The priest was sent to the residential treatment centre in Gloucestershire after his bishop found out that he was a practising homosexual. Writing anonymously in today's Independent, he gives a detailed account of his week-long assessment at Our Lady of Victory - a place he describes as being like "an open prison" - situated high on a Cotswold hill in Brownshill, near Stroud.
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But in the lecture hall and consulting rooms, alcoholic, gay and paedophile clergymen are offered counselling and support. These are problems acknowledged quietly by some Catholic priests to be exacerbated by the solitary, often lonely, and celibate life of the priesthood. Celibacy is a discipline imposed by the church, rather than by a theological imperative, and therefore one that might one day be changed, if the shortage of priests becomes sufficiently pressing.
These are external links and will open in a new window. Some peers have suggested plans to legalise same-sex marriages could allow town halls to "bully" organisations who refuse to conduct services. The Marriage Same Sex Couples Bill states that no religious organisation can be compelled to marry gay couples.
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