Parish supports priest who posted pictures of himself on gay dating app Grindr
Published 14/05/2016 | 10:56
A Catholic priest from Armagh who posted pictures of himself on a gay dating app has received support after he took a leave of absence from his duties.
Father Rory Coyle (35) asked for time off from his clerical duties in March to reflect on his future and has been absent ever since.
It has been reported in the Irish News that Fr Coyle is originally from Drogheda, Co Louth, and that he has been a curate in Armagh for the last six years. The popular priest is a member of Armagh GAA's management committee, and in 2010 he was chief celebrant during the Requiem 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.
Earlier this year Fr Coyle posted some pictures of himself on Grindr, along with a series of comments about himself.
He posted his mobile number on the site so people could contact him.
Fr Coyle failed to mention he was a member of the clergy, alternatively describing himself as a lecturer.
A spokesman for the Archdiocese of Armagh said: "Early in March, Fr 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'.
"Fr Coyle's request was granted and he is currently on leave of absence."
At the end of March Fr Coyle posted a message in the Armagh parish bulletin to say he was on extended leave and asked all the parishioners to keep him in their prayers.
Sinn Fein Newry and Armagh MLA Cathal Boylan said the priest was very well-known and respected and wished him 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," said Mr Boylan.
"I'm sure I'll not be alone in wishing him well at this difficult time."
The young priest has not been active on social media since early February.