The Rathmore native, a priest of the Diocese of Leeds in the UK, passed away on January 21 following a battle with cancer. His Funeral Mass and burial is taking place today (Thursday) in his native home.
"I'm just pointing out that one of the fall-outs of mandatory celibate life is the violence it does to a priest's humanity, and the wounds that it leaves on his ministry," Fr O'Leary wrote.
He acknowledged that his words would prove difficult for many within the Church,
"Please remember, I'm only recalling the memories, convictions and awakenings that are filling my soul during these ever-so-strange final days and nights...The enemy, we were warned, back in the 1950s, was a failure in prayer; falling in love was the cancer; suppression, sublimation and confession were the cure. Emotion was the threat; detachment was the safeguard; becoming too human was the risk; the subtle carapace of clericalism was the precaution."
Describing clericalism as a 'collective malaise' he wrote: "It keeps vibrant, abundant life at bay; it quarantines us for life from the personal and communal expression of healing relationships, and the lovely grace of the tenderness which Pope Francis is trying to restore to the hearts of all God's people."