DUBLIN -- An Irish priest who was forbidden to write by the Vatican because of his views on human sexuality has had the sanction lifted.
The Marist order said restrictions were lifted on Marist Father Sean Fagan, 86, a moral theologian sanctioned by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith for the past six years.
The superior general of the Marist congregation in Rome, Father John Hannan, confirmed that Father Fagan is now "a priest in good standing" where the church is concerned.
Former Irish President Mary McAleese reportedly wrote to Pope Francis appealing for his intervention in the case of Father Fagan and had her letter acknowledged by the pope's secretary.
Father Fagan, who has suffered from ill health for many years, was first disciplined by the doctrinal congregation in 2008 following the publication of his book, "Whatever Happened to Sin?"
In 2010, Father Fagan was informed by Cardinal William J. Levada, then-prefect of the doctrinal congregation, that he would be dismissed from the priesthood should he write for publication any material considered contrary to church teaching.
Welcoming the news that restrictions had been lifted, the Association of Catholic Priests, which represents about 1,000 Irish priests and is campaigning for liberal reforms, said it believed "that a concerted effort by the orders and congregations, supported by the Irish bishops, could lead to the lifting of similar restrictions" on others.