Writer, psychoanalyst and broadcaster, Michael Murphy, has dismissed as nonsense the Roman Catholic Church’s treatment of gay people.
Murphy, who recently married his life partner, Terry O’Sullivan, rebuts the view – expressed in an earlier Hot Press interview by the Primate of All-Ireland, Bishop Eamon Martin – that homosexuality is not a sin, but the ‘act' of homosexuality is.
"The Vatican said that we’re intrinsically disordered with a tendency towards evil,” Michael Murphy tells Hot Press senior editor, Jason O’Toole. "That’s the direct quote of the teaching, which is a very heavy burden to bear. Can you imagine: you get out of bed in the morning and you realise you’re intrinsically disordered with a tendency towards evil! And I go up then and practise as a psychoanalyst – so, it’s a very hard pill to try and swallow. Obviously I don’t, because it’s complete nonsense."
Murphy also believes that the Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, was afraid to come out in the past because he struggled with “internalised homophobia”.
In a courageously honest and often humorous interview, Murphy, who was sexually abused as a child, opens up about taking anti-depressants and says that he had even contemplated suicide by drowning. Murphy also lambasts Newstalk presenter George Hook for his outrageous comments, made live on air, about rape.
In what is his first ever Hot Press Interview, Michael Murphy also reveals that the first time he had sex was with an American priest; is scathing about the institutionalised ageism in RTE; advocates the repeal of the 8th Amendment; discusses euthanasia – and lots more of the ‘hot button’ topics of the moment.
It is a fascinating and in many ways radical exchange, which makes essential reading in full, for anyone interested in the national conversation...
As a cousin of the Socialist TD, Paul Murphy, the ex-RTE man is critical of the Jobstown protest: “I think it was unforgivable. It was really unforgivable,” he says of the fact that the protests cast a shadow over the achievements of those who were being presented with their educational qualifications on the day.
On George Hook’s controversial comments about rape, Murphy says, “It was a very stupid remark to make. Look, nobody is asking to be raped – that’s the bottom line. Nobody is ever asking to be raped. You really have to be very careful around issues of rape or abuse."
On why Leo Varadkar once told Hot Press that he was against same sex marriage, Murphy says: “Okay, that internal homophobia that I was talking about earlier – maybe a bit of that. Afraid to be seen to be gay. But pop stars are the same, like Elton John, George Michael – do you remember? They’re all worried about their fan base. Luckily today, we can now be more open about our sexuality.”
Revealing that he’s taken anti-depressants and contemplated suicide several times, he says: “I do have those moments in the black night of the soul.”
On why he’s in favour of repealing 8th Amendment, Murphy says: “I would be firmly on the side of women having a right to choose. And certainly, in the very, very early stages of pregnancy, if the child is coming into an environment which isn’t conducive, I would believe in abortion, certainly.”