Fr Daniel O’Leary to speak at Quest’s conference despite it being banned by Cardinal Hume from the Catholic Directory

Fr Daniel O’Leary, a priest of the Diocese of Leeds, Tablet columnist and spirituality guru, is to speak at the 40th anniversary conference of Quest.  Quest is a homosexual Catholic group banned by Cardinal Hume from being included the Catholic Directory as an approved Catholic organisation because of its dissent from Church doctrine by promoting homosexual sex. Fr Daniel O’Leary, famous for his New Age bon mots, will be speaking on the conference theme, ‘From Wasteland to Promised Land’.

In a letter to Charles Keal, Quest’s chairman at the time, Cardinal Hume wrote explaining that his decision to remove it from the list of approved Catholic organisations was that if an organization was listed with ecclesiastical approval, “the assumption must be that it accepts the church’s teaching set out in a manner that is in no way ambiguous.” The cardinal further explained Quest’s rejection of living ‘chaste lives in accordance with the church’s teaching’ raised concern about the direction Quest was taking. ”It is one thing for the church officially to recognize a support group for Catholic homosexual men and women, struggling, as we all do, to live up to the demands of our shared Christian vocation,” but was clear that an explicit part of Quest’s agenda is “to encourage and recognize loving same-sex partnerships,” which the church cannot accept.’

Quest’s constitution clearly sets out their promotion of an active homosexual life-style:

The purpose of Quest is to proclaim the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ so as to sustain and increase Christian belief among homosexual men and women by:

1. associating lay men and women who are seeking ways of reconciling the full practice of their Catholic faith with the full expression of their homosexual natures in loving Christian relationships, and providing opportunities for them to meet together for worship, discussion and study.

Quest’s website unambiguously expresses their dissent from the Church’s teaching on the sinfulness of homosexual sex:

[H]omosexual sex is not an incomplete or less perfect expression of human sexuality … I also want to affirm that I regard heterosexual and homosexual sex as having the same potential and value … I disagree fundamentally with Church teaching on this issue.

‘[T]he teaching of the Vatican Congregations….is incompatible with the Gospel”

“Quest, an association for lesbian and gay Catholics, welcomes in general the government’s proposals to provide for legal recognition of same-sex partnerships.”

The Archdiocese of Westminster has appointed a chaplain to be in attendance at Quest’s conference, Fr Francis Wahle, described by Quest as the Diocese of Westminster’s representative for Catholics who feel alienated from the Church.’

Protect the Pope comment: A few questions for Fr Daniel O’Leary, does he accept the Church’s doctrine as expressed in the Catechism of the Catholic Church that ‘ Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity, tradition has always declared that “homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered.” They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved.’ (2357). During his talk at the Quest conference will Fr O’Leary be truly loving and pastoral by teaching and explaining this to these Catholics under his care?

Furthermore, will he go on to explain that ‘Homosexual persons are called to chastity. By the virtues of self-mastery that teach them inner freedom, at times by the support of disinterested friendship, by prayer and sacramental grace, they can and should gradually and resolutely approach Christian perfection.’ (2359).

If Fr Daniel O’Leary does not intend to abide by, and teach, the Church’s doctrine on the immorality of homosexual sex then dioceses and parishes  that allow him to lead days of renewal should reconsider allowing him into their jurisdiction.



29 comments to Fr Daniel O’Leary to speak at Quest’s conference despite it being banned by Cardinal Hume from the Catholic Directory

  • Michael Petek

    If Fr Daniel O’Leary refuses to affirm the Church’s doctrine on the immorality of homosexual sex, then his Bishop should excommunicate him for heresy; alternatively a canonical process should be filed against him.

  • Pat

    I think there’s even more of a ‘snowball’s chance in hell’ for Catholics with same-sex attraction issues to find authentic pastoral care in this country. If ever there was a case of crying out for bread and being given stones, this was it. The bishops, priests and laity who support these dissenting groups should be utterly ashamed of themselves. Maybe some think they are being ‘pastoral’ but the exact opposite is true.

    The 1986 CDF document on pastoral care for homosexuals accurately describes the likes of Quest when it states: “Some of these groups will use the word “Catholic” to describe either the organization or its intended members, yet they do not defend and promote the teaching of the Magisterium; indeed, they even openly attack it. While their members may claim a desire to conform their lives to the teaching of Jesus, in fact they abandon the teaching of his Church. This contradictory action should not have the support of the Bishops in any way. We encourage the Bishops, then, to provide pastoral care in full accord with the teaching of the Church for homosexual persons of their dioceses. No authentic pastoral programme will include organizations in which homosexual persons associate with each other without clearly stating that homosexual activity is immoral. A truly pastoral approach will appreciate the need for homosexual persons to avoid the near occasions of sin.

    So, if you are Catholic and have same-sex attraction issues and want help, forget Quest, forget Roman Catholic Caucus of the Lesbian & Gay Christian Movement, forget the Soho Masses Pastoral Council. The only support group which is faithful to Church teaching on homosexuality in Great Britain is Courage GB. They can be contacted here:

    • Antiochus

      “While their members may claim a desire to conform their lives to the teaching of Jesus, in fact they abandon the teaching of his Church.” Would that the teaching of the Church were simply equivalent to the teaching of Jesus. That sadly seems not to be so if authentic pastoral care includes telling people that they are in a intrinsically disordered state. Motes and planks?

      • Pat

        The men and women at Courage GB don’t have a problem with the teaching of the Church – which is the teaching of Jesus Christ – the two cannot be separated – that the homosexual inclination is objectively disordered. Do you also object to Church teaching on Original Sin – that (apart from Our Blessed Lady) we are all born in a state of enmity with God, and that even after baptism, we all remain affected by concupiscence? Everyone has their struggles, homosexuality is just one among many. This powerful article, written by a homosexual man, is really worth reading. It’s called ‘The Truth about the Homosexual Rights Movement’ by Ronald G Lee.

        • Antiochus

          Since Christ is not recorded in the Gospels as saying anything at all about homosexuality, I fail to see how the Church’s teaching on this subject can be said straightforwardly to be the same as his teaching, let alone the attitudes that churchpeople express on the matter.
          If the Church’s teaching on original sin were that we are born in a state of enmity with God, I would certainly object to it, but I do not recognise that as the Church’s teaching. The Catechism is a good deal more nuanced here.
          We do all have our struggles, but some are more serious than others. If a homosexual person were struggling with his/her nature I doubt they would see it as just one among many struggles nor find that the view that they have an intrinsically disordered orientation very reassuring.

  • Peter

    If the church wants to have a pastoral outreach to all people why condemn a priest giving a talk to Quest?

    And once again excommunication is discussed as a punishment, it’s as if John 23rd had never spoken about the medicine of mercy or that Jesus continually walked alongside those who who society believed to be sinners. If you really believe that the members of Quest are sinners it is time to remember the actions of Jesus who committed his life to the lost sheep, a lost son and a lost coin. Prostitutes, sinners, those who did not know the law and poor were all condemned by the scribes who loaded on legal burdens and never lifted a finger to relieve them and therefore excluded them. Yet Jesus was moved with compassion and loved them and spent his entire ministry with those excluded by religious authority. When we believe we are superior to those we think are sinners we exclude ourselves from the kingdom.

  • Joseph Matthew

    Antiochus, it is not the person who is in an intrinsically disordered state. The person is good and created for eternal life with God. It is the orientation that is intrinsically disordered since it leads the person away from God.

    • Antiochus

      But that distinction is only theoretical. In practice it seems like adding insult to injury. If you, Mr. Matthew, were told you have an intrinsically disordered orientation how can you not see that as a denigration of your personhood?

  • Genty

    Christ did indeed consort with many of those excluded from society. But I think you’ll find that they sought Him out, repented and afterward followed His teachings. When Christ refused to condone the stoning of the woman taken in adultery he told her. “Go, and sin no more.” That’s the bit that is usually left out when attempting to argue that sin is not sin.
    The difficulty in living a chaste life is common to us all.

  • Joseph Matthew

    Antiochus, a chaste paedophile has an intrinsically disordered orientation. But he may still be a saint.There is no denigration of his personhood.

    • Antiochus

      You seem to be saying that paedophilia is a disorder in the same way as some think homosexuality is a disorder. A paedophile who knew paedophilia to be a disorder would I imagine feel his humanity to be let us say impaired by that condition, but it is far from clear that homosexuality is an impairment of anyone’s humanity in a similar way – unless you have already decided on other grounds that it is.

  • BJC

    I notice that Fr. Daniel O’Leary is slated as one of the guest speakers at the ‘Silence in the city’ lectures in Westminster Cathedral Hall along with all the other usual liberal suspects – Fr. Laurence Freeman, Fr. Timothy Radcliffe, Ursula KIng, Fr. Richard Rohr, Rowan Williams and Jean Vanier. He’s clearly liberal royalty and again we see the strong connections to the Tablet. The liberal crew have clearly got the ‘switching points’ in the diocese, as Kung called them, in their back pockets.

    • Pat

      Fr Richard Rohr speaking at Westminster Cathedral Hall? Dear oh dear. Check out this article about Fr Rohr:- and especially the link in that article

      • Antiochus

        I looked up the links. They are among the nastiest things I have ever seen on any blog, even in the Catholic blogosphere. How is the cause of divine truth aided by such poisonous vilification?

    • Antiochus

      The usual liberal suspects, as you call them (are you one of the usual conservative suspects?), come from a variety of backgrounds and standpoints. If they are all liberal, it is in the sense that they believe God wants us to enjoy “the glorious liberty of the children of God.” I happen to know that ‘Silence in the City’ receives no particular support from the diocese of Westminster, being organised by laypeople who are asked to pay to use the cathedral hall for doing the work of the Church – helping people to pray. The last speaker in the series was the Orthodox bishop Kallistos Ware – a liberal suspect? The organisers cannot afford to advertise often in ‘The Tablet,’ but do use the ‘Catholic Herald,’ which charges less for advertisements.

    • Peter

      Thanks for the heads up. A fantastic range of holy and erudite speakers with years of experience. Hopefully I’ll get to hear some of the talks.
      These speakers are thoughtful theologians and spiritual guides.

      Timothy Radcliffe is really worth listening to. As a former Master of the Dominican Order his experience of church is always thoughtful.

      • Pat

        Timothy Radcliffe? Worth listening to? I beg to differ. In The Tablet of 28 Jan 2006 he wrote:-
        “Let us glance at some touchy issues: sexual ethics, homosexuality and the ordination of women. Christian morality is not mostly about sex, despite the impression given by the media. It is fundamentally about becoming free and happy in God. But if the Church’s teaching about sex becomes radically out of touch with what Catholics live, then there is a problem. Many Catholics are divorced and remarried, or living with partners or practising contraception or are gay. To put it simply: should the Church accommodate her teaching to the experience of our contemporaries or should we stick by our traditional sexual ethics and risk becoming a fortress Church, a small minority out of step with people’s lives? Neither option seems right. In my book, I confess that I do not know the answer.” In the same article he asks the question about homosexual people:- “Are they to be told that they must for ever be celibate?” He answers it by saying “I must confess that I do not know”. On the ordination of women, he asks the question “Is it then true that women cannot be ordained?” and again answers by saying “I confess for a third time that I do not know”. For someone who is a prolific speaker and writer on Catholic issues, he doesn’t seem to “know” an awful lot.

  • BJC

    Peter, you are a laugh I’ll give you that.

    Antiochus, Fr. Laurence Freeman, Fr. Timothy Radcliffe and Ursula King are regular contributors to the Tablet as is Fr. Daniel O’Leary. I would go along with other commentators here and say the Tablet is pernicious and should not be on sale in our churches.

    Pat, thanks for the reference. I knew Fr. Richard Rohr was dodgy, I just didn’t realise he was that dodgy.

  • Joseph Matthew

    Thank you Pat for the really helpful links. One cannot help but think that sooner or later, those who fall into sexual deviations will confront a truly disturbing presence.

  • peter


    if you are telling me that Timothy Radcliffe is not a man of outstanding ability and a tremendous asset to the church, you are arguing against the Dominican Order. The Dominicans elected him Master of their Order – they would not elect someone who was not held in the highest regard. I’ve met Laurence Freeman a few times and he is a good guy with a great understanding of spirituality. Richard Rohr is also a decent guy, whose work on masculine spirituality is interesting, but not really my cup of tea – however his work on-non violence is rather profound. As for Ursula King, i can’t comment as i am not very familiar with her work.

  • BJC


    I hate to tell you this but I wouldn’t touch any of these writers with a barge pole. Life’s too short. I’ll stick to the canonised saints like St. John Vianney, St. Alphonsus di Ligouri and St. Francis de Sales; and spiritual classics like the Imitation of Christ and My Way of Life. The saints are the true masters of the spiritual life and we can be sure of this because the Church has confirmed it. Regular contributors to the Tablet are definitely not on my reading list.

    Finally being ‘nice’ is no guarantee of orthodoxy and neither is having an esteemed position in the Church. Fr. Timothy Radcliffe is on record as saying some dodgy things and one wonders what else he might believe off the record (see link below). The contrast with the sayings of other saints in the Dominican order couldn’t be more stark. As for Fr. Richard Rohr his views are off the scale as a previous link shows. On the ‘Church of Nice’ see Michael Voris.

  • peter

    Hi BJC

    One of the great things about being catholic is the wonderful range of people who have dedicated their life to Christ and gifted to the church wonderful texts of theology and spirituality. There are so many different schools of theology and spirituality that are suitable for all of us, depending on our age, our personality etc etc. My favourite writers include Albert the Great and Thomas of Aquinas, John Cassian, the desert fathers and mothers, Ignatius, Yves Congar and Marie-Dominique Chenu, Edward Schillebeeckx.The list goes on and on because the church has a great richness of teachers.
    I have spent over 40 years working with people and giving retreats and not everyone reflects on their life in Christ the same way. And that is the beauty of the church – the saints have shown us many ways to live in Christ.

    This being ‘nice’ thing that Michael Voris rants about is a red herring and is not helpful – he is stating the obvious but pointing it directly at people he disagrees with. In my opinion is not a scholar of any note but he gives the impression he knows church teaching inside out. He does not.

    As for Timothy Radcliffe, I think you should consider that he was elected by the Dominican Order to be their Master. Do you really believe that they would elect a fool? You send me one quote with no reference however i know it comes from a article he wrote for The Tablet
    ‘This is not to denigrate committed love of people of the same sex. This too should be cherished and supported, which is why church leaders are slowly coming to support same sex civil unions. The God of love can be present in every true love. But ‘gay marriage’ is impossible because it attempts to cut loose marriage from its grounding in our biological life. If we do that, we deny our humanity. It would be like trying to make a cheese soufflé without the cheese, or wine without grapes.’

    Radcliffe is a fine and holy man and is worth reading. But he is not the only person to read, he is part of the history of catholic writers who try to give us some insight into Salvation History.

  • BJC


    Sorry, but you are not convincing me about Fr. Timothy Radcliffe. He makes a basic error in the quote you give above and is seemingly oblivious to the CDF’s document “Considerations regarding proposals to give legal recognition to unions between homosexual persons” (2003) which says this:

    “In those situations where homosexual unions have been legally recognized or have been given the legal status and rights belonging to marriage, clear and emphatic opposition is a duty.” (para 2)

    I would have thought he would be quoting it not ignoring it but it would seem that is beyond him. Further he seems to be suggesting in this quote (but of course won’t say it) that homosexual genital acts are not mortally sinful and so is seriously misleading the faithful and putting some souls in mortal danger. Hardly good spiritual leadership from a priest let alone someone who is supposed to be the leader of the Dominican order in this country. For what its worth I don’t rate him and anytime I’ve flicked through his books all I’ve ever seen is the sort of insipid wishy-washy liberalism that goes down a treat in the Tablet.

    On Michael Voris his ‘rants’ are very helpful and his ‘Church of nice’ videos are anything but a red herring. They are spot on. No wonder they get the backs up of liberals, they are exposing people for what they are and the sort of chaos they’ve caused these past 40 years. I don’t know why you think being a ‘scholar’ is important. The point is is he orthodox and does he mislead people on doctrine and morals. The answer is he doesn’t and he’s worth 10 of our so-called ‘Catholic’ scholars out there who write misleading articles and confuse and endanger souls week in week out in magazines like the National Catholic Reporter and the Tablet. A lot of them don’t seem to know even basic points of Catholic doctrine and basically write bs yet all of them seem to have multiple degrees, doctorates and even professorships. Truly Our Lord spoke wisely when he said:

    “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this is what you were pleased to do.” (Lk 10:21)

    The ‘Revolt of the scholars’ is a well known phenomenon in the Church and Phillip Trower documents it well in the link below. Supernatural faith is a gift from God given to us at our baptism and it doesn’t matter how clever you are you can lose it. Frankly, I’d rather have the rock solid faith of a French peasant any day than the mularkey some of these people promote, for as Our Lord teaches us:

    “Without Me you have nothing” (Jn 15:5)

    Finally I’ll leave you with a link to an essay by a true son of St. Dominic who Fr.Timothy Radcliffe could learn something from. He doesn’t mince his words, has got his head screwed and doesn’t neglect his duty of fraternal correction even if it means ‘offending’ people or other people thinking the worse of him. In short he’s not from the ‘Church of nice’ but he does have truth and he does have charity.

  • Bob Hayes

    Apparently Daniel O’Leary was the ‘star turn’ at the A Call to Action rally at Hinsley Hall earlier this month. It is interesting to note that he promotes of a ‘Third Way’ – echoes of that arch-charlatan Tony Blair?

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