Reverend Dr Bernard Lynch has been a Roman Catholic priest for forty years. He has spent 30 of those years in the pastoral care of people affected by HIV/AIDS, initially in New York and latterly in London, where he now lives with his husband Billy. He is Co-Chair of the London Irish LGBT Network.
“AIDS really put me on the barricades, particularly in relationship to the church, the Catholic Church obviously but all churches, all religions. Hundreds of men around me were dying and they were blamed for their illness by the papacy. The first words from the Vatican: AIDS is the natural result of unnatural acts – outrageous!”
“I couldn’t see an end to it. The word courage completely lost meaning, it was not in my vocabulary, because I was at war and not a war of our own making. I was at war trying to save in whatever little way I could the dignity of my dying brothers, who were being nailed when they were sick as sinful and undergoing the punishment, and that was on the ecclesiastical level. On the secular level they were being thrown out of jobs as soon as they were diagnosed, they were being thrown out of their housing, their apartments, they were abandoned in many cases by their families….”
You can hear Bernard’s interview here.