Fr. Bernard J. Lynch

Contact Us

Table of Contents

Search Site

home  Home


Also on this website:

Toby Johnson's books:

GAY SPIRITUALITY: The Role of Gay Identity in the Transformation of Human Consciousness

GAY PERSPECTIVE: Things Our Homosexuality Tells Us about the Nature of God and the Universe

SECRET MATTER: updated, revised & expanded edition from Lethe Press with Afterword by Mark Jordan

GETTING LIFE IN PERSPECTIVE: A romance novel set in the 1980s and the 1890s.

THE FOURTH QUILL, a novel about attitudinal healing and the problem of evil

TWO SPIRITS: A Story of Life with the Navajo, a collaboration with Walter L. Williams

CHARMED LIVES: Spinning Straw into Gold: Reclaiming Our Queer Spirituality Through Story


About ordering

Books on Gay Spirituality:

White Crane Gay Spirituality Series

  Articles and Excerpts:

Read Toby's review of Samuel Avery's The Dimensional Structure of Consciousness

Funny Coincidence: "Aliens Settle in San Francisco"

The Simple Answer to the Gay Marriage Debate

Why gay people should NOT Marry

Wedding Cake Liberation

Gay Marriage in Texas

What's ironic

Shame on the American People

The "highest form of love"

Second March on Washington

A Bifurcation of Gay Spirituality

 The cause of homosexuality

The origins of homophobia

Q&A about Jungian ideas in gay consciousness

What is homosexuality?

What is Gay Spirituality?

My three messages

What Jesus said about Gay Rights

Queering religion

Common Experiences Unique to Gay Men

The purpose of homosexuality

Interview on the Nature of Homosexuality

What the Bible Says about Homosexuality

Mesosexual Ideal for Straight Men

Varieties of Gay Spirituality

Waves of Gay Liberation Activity

Why Gay Spirituality: Spirituality as Artistic Medium

Easton Mountain Retreat Center

Andrew Harvey & Spiritual Activism

The Gay Spirituality Summit in May 2004 and the  "Statement of Spirituality"

"It's Always About You"

The myth of the Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara

Joseph Campbell's description of Avalokiteshvara

Avalokiteshvara at the Baths.

You're Not A Wave

What is Enlightenment?

What is reincarnation?

How many lifetimes in an ego?

Emptiness & Religious Ideas

Experiencing experiencing experiencing

Going into the Light

Meditations for a Funeral

Meditation Practice

The way to get to heaven

Advice to Travelers to India & Nepal

The Danda Nata & goddess Kalika

Nate Berkus is a bodhisattva

John Boswell was Immanuel Kant

The Two Loves

Curious Bodies

What Toby Johnson Believes

The Joseph Campbell Connection

Campbell & The Pre/Trans Fallacy

The Nature of Religion

What's true about Religion

Being Gay is a Blessing

Drawing Long Straws

Freedom of Religion

The Gay Agenda

Gay Saintliness

Gay Spiritual Functions

The subtle workings of the spirit in gay men's lives.

The Sinfulness of Homosexuality

Proposal for a study of gay nondualism

Priestly Sexuality

 "The Evolution of Gay Identity"

"St. John of the Cross &
the Dark Night of the Soul."

 Eckhart's Eye

Let Me Tell You a Secret

Religious Articulations of the Secret

The Collective Unconscious

Driving as Spiritual Practice


Historicity as Myth


No Stealing

Next Step in Evolution

The New Myth

The Moulting of the Holy Ghost

Gaia is a Bodhisattva

The Hero's Journey as archetype

Marian Doctrines: Immaculate Conception & Assumption

Teenage Prostitution and the Nature of Evil

Allah Hu: "God is present here"
Adam and Steve

The Life is in the Blood

Gay retirement and the "freelance monastery"

Seeing with Different Eyes

The mystical experience at the Servites'  Castle in Riverside

The Great Dance according to C.S.Lewis

The Techniques Of The World Saviors

Part 1: Brer Rabbit and the Tar-Baby
Part 2:
The Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara
Part 3:
Jesus and the Resurrection
Part 4:
A Course in Miracles

The Secret of the Clear Light

Understanding the Clear Light

Mobius Strip

Finding Your Tiger Face

How Gay Souls Get Reincarnated

In honor of Sir Arthur C Clarke

Karellen was a homosexual

About Alien Abduction

What are you looking for in a gay science fiction novel?

The D.A.F.O.D.I.L. Alliance

More about Gay Mental Health

Psych Tech Training

The Rainbow Flag

Ideas for gay mythic stories

Kip and Toby, Activists

Toby's friend and nicknamesake Toby Marotta.

Harry Hay, Founder of the gay movement

About Hay and The New Myth

About Karl Heinrich Ulrichs, the first man to really "come out"

About Michael Talbot, gay mystic

About Fr. Bernard Lynch

About Richard Baltzell

About Guy Mannheimer

About David Weyrauch

About Dennis Paddie

About Ask the Fire

About Arthur Evans

About Christopher Larkin

About Sterling Houston

About Michael Stevens

Our friend Tom Nash

Book Reviews

Be Done on Earth by Howard E. Cook

Pay Me What I'm Worth by Souldancer

The Way Out by Christopher L  Nutter
The Gay Disciple by John Henson

Art That Dares by Kittredge Cherry

Coming Out, Coming Home by Kennth A. Burr

Extinguishing the Light by B. Alan Bourgeois

Over Coffee: A conversation For Gay Partnership & Conservative Faith by D.a. Thompson

Dark Knowledge by Kenneth Low

Janet Planet by Eleanor Lerman

The Kairos by Paul E. Hartman

Wrestling with Jesus by D.K.Maylor

Kali Rising by Rudolph Ballentine

The Missing Myth by Gilles Herrada

The Secret of the Second Coming by Howard E. Cook

The Scar Letters: A Novel by Richard Alther

The Future is Queer by Labonte & Schimel

Missing Mary by Charlene Spretnak

Gay Spirituality 101 by Joe Perez

Cut Hand: A Nineteeth Century Love Story on the American Frontier by Mark Wildyr

Radiomen by Eleanor Lerman

Nights at Rizzoli by Felice Picano

The Key to Unlocking the Closet Door by Chelsea Griffo

The Door of the Heart by Diana Finfrock Farrar

Occam’s Razor by David Duncan

Grace and Demion by Mel White

Gay Men and The New Way Forward by Raymond L. Rigoglioso

The Dimensional Stucture of Consciousness by Samuel Avery

The Manly Pursuit of Desire and Love by Perry Brass


Bernard LynchBernard J. Lynch is a Roman Catholic priest, now living in London. He has a long history of fighting for gay Catholics’ personal dignity and therefore for DIGNITY, the gay Catholic affiliates group.

Bernard was an AIDS educator and chaplain in New York City during the height of the health crisis.

Because of his positive and compassionate embrace of homosexuality and gay identity, he was wrongly accused of unethical behavior with a student and persectued by his Church.

a priest on trial
The story of that persecution is told in the book A Priest on Trial.

His website is

He is proudly married to Billy Desmond (since 1998).

Billy and Bernard

In 2017, Bernard & Billy married again in Ireland—now fully legal!
See story below

If It Wasnt Love
He is author If It Wasn't Love: Sex, Death and God. 

"All Religion is about the denial of God. This is a book about Life, Love, Sexuality, Death and God. It is a story of many people’s stories, but most of all it is my story. Here for the first time is a truth birthed from fear and oppression and redeemed by love. When I first started putting the book together, I had some scattered ideas as to how I would do this. Some of the scenes written in the early seventies and eighties were never intended to form part of a whole. They stood alone, as a lecture here or an article there. This is in fact true for most of the project in hand. It is my hope and indeed my belief that the book holds together as one man’s attempt to be honest with God. I hasten to add that in no way is this a holy book. The words erection and Resurrection, masturbation and Holy Mass all appear with equal authenticity, pain and celebration. It is no book for the pious or those seeking a quick fix."

Bernard Lynch has appeared in the news and been interviewed for TV, radio, and the Internet, in particular, a 3-part series made in 1987 by Great Britain's Channel 4 called AIDS: A Priest's Testament.

Matias Wilboa has put all Three Documentaries made by Channel 4 on YouTube.

AIDS: A Priest's Testament: on YouTube

This compelling documentary shot for Channel 4 in the summer of 1987 tells the story of Fr. Bernárd Lynch and his ministry to people with AIDS in New York. The Irish born priest and psychotherapist was closely involved with the LGBT community and founded the first pastoral outreach to people with AIDS in the city. He was subsequently drafted onto the Mayor of New York's Task Force on AIDS. His ministry and his commitment to civil rights for LGBT people led him into conflict with the Catholic Church authorities as well as bringing him into the most harrowing situations; preparing young people for their untimely deaths. The documentary profiles the man, his ministry and the pressures that brought him close to the edge of his physical and spiritual limits.  (Conor McAnally, Director.)

A Priest of Trial: on YouTube

This documentary film was made in 1992 and charts the savage attempt to silence the ministry of Fr. Bernárd Lynch. An openly gay priest in the Roman Catholic Church, Fr. Lynch was given an ultimatum by the Vatican and falsely accused of paedophilia. The accuser, John Schaefer admitted at Trial in the Bronx Supreme Court, that he had been forced against his will to bring the charges.The judge, Justice Burton Roberts, not only dismissed the charges and berated the politically motivated prosecutors from the District Attorney's office, but dramatically and fiercely declared Lynch wholly innocent.This film -- with live footage from the Trial -- is a vital testimony to the lengths that some will go to silence truth, love and compassion, with lies, hate and the abuse of power. (Conor McAnally, Director.)

Soul Survivor: on YouTube

In 1986, Father Bernárd Lynch was immersed in the AIDS pandemic in New York City. During an interview about his ministry on World AIDS Day of that same year, in Ireland, he denied he was gay. This he later described as "the greatest sin I ever committed". This documentary made by Channel 4 in 1989 'to correct the lie', traces the personal struggle of this remarkable priest to come out at a time when homosexuality was still a criminal offence in Ireland. The truth cost him his job. He was never allowed licence to earn his living by the Catholic Church. With outstanding courage and dignity his father stands with him in the third of three personal profiles by Channell 4. (Conor McAnally, Director.)

Mr. Billy Desmond and Dr. Bernárd Lynch to Wed 27 January, 2017 in Clare
Bernard and Billy 2017
Mr. Billy Desmond, left, and Dr. Bernárd Lynch on a recent visit to New York

Mr. Billy M. Desmond and Dr. Bernárd J. Lynch will marry on Friday, 27 January at 3 PM at the Armada Hotel, Spanish Point—the first gay male wedding to be registered in County Clare. The Registrar is Ms. Theresa Quinn. Mr. Desmond, a psychotherapist and Dr. Lynch, a retired priest and psychotherapist, reside in London and Lehinch, County Clare, Ireland. They have been together for more than 20 years.
Their relationship was first blessed in a public ceremony in London in 1998 by their late friend, Fr. Dan Kelliher, OSCO, a Trappist monk from the monastery in Snowmass, Colorado at a time when same-sex marriages were not legally recognized. In 2007, they had a Civil Partnership in Camden Town Hall in London.
After the wedding ceremony, a presentation will be made of a proclamation from the Council of the City of New York honoring Dr. Lynch’s more than 40 years of service to and activism with the LGBT and AIDS communities. It is authored by the Council Member Daniel Dromm of Queens, NY and will be presented by Mr. Andy Humm, a former New York City Commissioner of Human Rights. A copy of the proclamation is pasted below and attached. Council Member Dromm’s message is online at
In lieu of gifts, the couple is requesting donations to an organisation they are establishing called Bronntanas to further the mental health and well-being of Irish LGBTQI people. More information at 



Whereas: Rev. Bernárd J. Lynch has been a tireless advocate for the rights of LGBT people for more than forty years as an out gay and proud Roman Catholic priest beginning with his work in Dignity/New York in the 1970s; and
WHEREAS: Father Lynch founded in 1982 and sustained the first AIDS ministry in New York City with Dignity/New York, aiding thousands of people with AIDS in the darkest years of the HIV/AIDS pandemic by healing their spirits, reconciling them with their faiths and their families, guiding them through their deaths, and celebrating their tragically short lives as documented in the documentary films AIDS: A PRIEST’S TESTAMENT in 1986 and SOUL SURVIVOR in 1990; and
WHEREAS: Father Lynch’s leadership in the AIDS crisis included service on Mayor Edward I. Koch’s Task Force on AIDS and was recognized by the AIDS National Interfaith Network with their Award for Outstanding Contributions to HIV/AIDS Ministries in 1990; and
WHEREAS: Father Lynch, at great personal risk, publicly advocated for the rights of the LGBT community at a time when most religious voices were in opposition; and
WHEREAS: Father Lynch publicly supported Mayor Edward I. Koch’s Executive Order 50 in 1984 compelling City contractors not to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation;
WHEREAS: Father Lynch also publicly campaigned for and testified in favor of New York City’s lesbian and gay rights bill banning discrimination based on sexual orientation in jobs, housing and public accommodations, seeing it through to passage by the City Council in 1986; and
WHEREAS: Father Lynch’s advocacy for LGBT rights brought down on him a false prosecution perpetrated by church and government officials opposed to his work—charges that he faced down in Bronx Supreme Court, winning total exoneration from Justice Burton Roberts as documented in the documentary film A PRIEST ON TRIAL in 1990; and
WHEREAS: Father Lynch continued his ministries in London and Ireland and worldwide touching thousands with his books and television/radio appearances including the BBC’s premier interview show “Hardtalk” in 2013. He was amongst the first ever openly LGBT group invited to Arus an Uachtaráin (President's official residence) by President Mary Robinson in 1995.  He was the first priest of any denomination to march in London’s LGBT Pride Parade, co-founded a support group for gay priests, served as Chair of the Camden LGBT Forum, served as Co-Chair of the first London Irish LGBT Forum that led the first Irish LGBT group in London’s St. Patrick’s Day parade in 2014, and aided the “Take the Boat to Vote Campaign” to bring Irish nationals home to pass successfully the historic Irish referendum opening marriage to gay couples in 2015; and
WHEREAS: Father Lynch has been honored with the Lesbian & Gay Christian Movement’s award for “Longstanding Work and Witness” to LGBT people and people with HIV/AIDS in 2008, the Magnus Hirschfeld Award for outstanding service to the cause of Irish LGBT Freedom in 1986, with canonization by the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, and as one of the twenty most prominent people to come out of County Clare; and
WHEREAS: Father Lynch’s relationship with his husband Billy Desmond was publicly blessed in 1998 and he became the first serving Catholic priest in the world to have a civil partnership in 2006; now therefore
BE IT KNOWN: That I, Daniel Dromm, Council Member of the 25th District, am proud to honor minister, advocate and human rights champion
Father Bernárd J. Lynch

For his extraordinary service to the LGBT and AIDS communities of New York, London, and Ireland and for his courage in the face of tremendous adversity.
Signed this 27th day of January in the year Twenty Seventeen.

Council Member, 25th District

rainbow line

Toby Johnson, PhD is author of eight books: three non-fiction books that apply the wisdom of his teacher and "wise old man," Joseph Campbell to modern-day social and religious problems, three gay genre novels that dramatize spiritual issues at the heart of gay identity, and two books on gay men's spiritualities and the mystical experience of homosexuality. In addition to the novels featured elsewhere in this web site, Johnson is author of IN SEARCH OF GOD IN THE SEXUAL UNDERWORLD and THE MYTH OF THE GREAT SECRET (Revised edition): AN APPRECIATION OF JOSEPH CAMPBELL.

Johnson's Lammy Award winning book GAY SPIRITUALITY: The Role of Gay Identity in the Transformation of Human Consciousness was published in 2000. His Lammy-nominated book  GAY PERSPECTIVE: Things Our Homosexuality Tells Us about the Nature of God and the Universe was published by Alyson in 2003. Both books are available now from Lethe Press.

 back to top

BACK to Toby's home page

valid html

Essential SSL