IRA terrorist to priest

IRA terrorist to priest

The Boston Globe Magazine had an unusually even-handed profile of a former IRA terrorist who is studying for the priesthood in Ireland.

Shane Paul O’Doherty is not perfect. He is a pacifist and rejects the Church’s teaching on just war, but I suppose that is to be expected from a man who completely rejected his violent and murderous past while spending 14-1/2 years in an English prison. He was married for a time, but had it annulled when his American wife wanted to move back to the US and he couldn’t follow because the US wouldn’t give a former terrorist a visa. He apparently also has some liberal tendencies on things like homosexuality, although it’s never made real clear how exactly he stands on the issue.

What’s interesting is that while canon law forbids anyone who has killed a priest or tried to kill one from being ordained, such that only the pope can dispense one from this law, O’Doherty has apparently received this dispensation. (O’Doherty once sent a letter-bomb to the bishop who was the head Catholic chaplain to the British army; it didn’t explode.)