This "celibate" priest fathered two children, his colleagues say

Catholic church leaders have recently defended the church's ban on married priests, and emphasizing the public image of priestly "celibacy". But priests can have private relationships (either "gay" or "straight") if this is hidden from the public. For example, Father John O'Callaghan, of Melbourne, had a relationship with a woman, who gave birth to Father O'Callaghan's two daughters. These girls have grown up into adulthood, knowing that they are the offspring of Father John O'Callaghan. The private life of Fr John O' Callaghan is no secret among the Melbourne clergy of his generation.

Several Melbourne priests have confirmed the O'Callaghan matter to Broken Rites. And a relative of O'Callaghan has spoken to Broken Rites, confirming the matter.

This kind of "private life" is accepted by a priest's colleagues (many of whom have a "private life" of their own). Meanwhile, bishops and other church leaders (some of whom may have a "private life" themselves) look the other way, hoping that the practice does not get into the media. Any media exposure would damage the church's corporate brand-name.

Father John O'Callaghan was born in 1929, the third child in a family of eight. In those times, it was common for a large Catholic family to channel one of its sons into a career in the priesthood — and a lifetime of (nudge-nudge, wink-wink) "celibacy".

O' Callaghan died in 1995, aged 66. He is survived by his two daughters.

The Catholic Church authorities still advertise their clergy as "celibate" but, as shown by the O'Callaghan case (and others), "celibate" merely means "not married".

Father John Ignatius O'Callaghan's adult relationship was not a criminal offence. However, several people have complained about having been abused by O'Callaghan when they were minors. To read more from Broken Rites about these complaints, click HERE.

Also see these articles about two other cases of "celibacy":