I read this book in less than two days. I skipped some of it, but the main facts are nothing less than horrendous. Of course, some people are asking if Fr. Daspard is really telling the truth as it was and is. With our human frailties the sincere desire to tell the truth may still involve overly subjective and distorted views. With the best will in the world, it is still easy for us to "colour" our accounts because of pain, misunderstanding and distorted memories. Allowing for all of these things, there are "facts" in this book which common sense insists are either basically true or are simple lies. As they are presented, some things, even with all that is said about human frailties, cannot be complete distortions or fabrications. There are reports here of altercations with priests and bishops and examples of gross injustice that are either substantially true or not; in some cases at least, there is no middle ground; you either believe him or you don't. Having read the book, with the reservations noted (and which I would apply to similar exposes) I believe him.
The fact that the Vatican is refusing, at this time, to fill in the episcopal gaps in Scotland until a proper investigation has been carried out suggests that the basic information in Fr. Daspard's book is not without real substance. When the book arrived on the Kindle site, there was a clear intention, on the part of his bishop, to press for Fr. Daspard's canonical suspension. We are told that an announcement was made through the Ad Clerum in the Diocese of Motherwell (normally a confidential document, but in this case, clearly not regarded as such by some people!) that no action is to be taken against Fr. Daspard. When a reporter asked someone close to the curia why this is so, the answer was, "He holds all the aces!"
Apart from Fr. Daspard's account there are other books and articles dealing with the main subject of this book. (That is homosexuality and related corruption in the Church). A book was published in Italy by a priest suggesting there was (or is) a strong homosexual lobby at work in the Vatican. A report commissioned by the Polish hierarchy was published recently revealing that the same situation exists in Poland.
Fr. Daspard. more than once, refers to homosexual priests (that is with a homosexual orientation) who are good priests and remain faithful celibates. He praises such men for their devotion. I will also do the same. As we know the Vatican advises, strongly, that homosexuals should no longer be admitted to the priesthood. Given the seriousness of the recent scandals (and there seem to be more to be discovered in the pipeline) this cannot be judged as overreaction. Besides, there are theological questions to be asked about the quality of the "maleness" of candidates for the priesthood. At the same time, there are always exceptions to the rule. We must allow for the action of the Holy Spirit. It is entirely possible that someone with a homosexual leaning could become not only a very good priest, but a saint. However, a very high quality of discernment seems to be required on the part of seminary professors and bishops to avoid serious mistakes.
In my time as a seminarian and a priest I can name many who were and are known to be homosexuals. (I am not going to name names here). A few of them have become very good priests and the sad thing is that a scandal such as we are seeing now in Scotland can damage all such men by association. On the other hand, like Fr. Daspard I witnessed very worrying scenes of conflict and jealousies in the seminary that I realised, even then, were based on homosexual relationships. Some of those who became priests were subsequently involved in sexual abuse scandals (either with children or young men). We can argue that the statistics show that such men are in a minority, but in my experience it is a big minority. It is true that in some dioceses homosexual priests form a kind of support group. Whether this just happens because they get on well together or whether something else is happening is for others with more knowledge to judge.
Because of the nature of homosexuality, which sometimes is linked to emotional instability, homo-eroticism and narcissism, there is a danger that relationships between priests will, at least, encourage bitter resentments, jealousy, obsession and mutual condemnation. Such emotional disturbances are bad for the priests involved and are also bad for the people they are appointed to serve. Where such emotional "rages" and such episodes of resentment lead to bullying, intimidation and gross injustice, we have a recipe for disaster in the parishes and wider church. The Holy Father and his council must act to purge the Church of this poison. Fr. Daspard's book has helped to shine a spotlight onto some very disagreeable aspects of the Church of the last 40 years and into the present. The time has come for some real house cleaning.