Kerry priest Fr Sean Sheehy censured by bishop after condemning LGBT relationships, abortion and transgenderism in sermon at St Mary’s Church in Listowel
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Retired priest Fr Sean Sheehy told worshippers at St Mary’s Church in Listowel that gay couples were sinful, and criticised free contraception being provided by the HSE as it was “promoting promiscuity”.
A video of Fr Sheehy’s comments, where he also criticised abortion and the trans community, has been shared widely online and has prompted condemnation of his views.
“What is so sad today is you rarely hear about sin but it’s rampant. It’s rampant,” Fr Sheehy said during his homily delivered over the weekend.
“We see it, for example, in the legislation of our governments.
“We see it in the promotion of abortion.
“We see it in the example of this lunatic approach of transgenderism.
“We see it, for example, in the promotion of sex between two men and two women.
“That is sinful, that is mortal sin.
“And people don’t seem to realise it, but it’s a fact, it’s a reality.”
Some people attending the Mass left the church as a result, to which the priest told them “God help you… and God bless you who are here, who are worshipping God”.
In response to the comments, Bishop of Kerry Ray Browne apologised to those who were offended by Fr Sheehy’s “offending” homily and said his views do not represent “the Christian position”.
He said that to have “total respect for one another” was a “fundamental Christian teaching”, and for these issues to be spoken of “in such terms” a weekend parish Mass was not appropriate.
“I am aware of the deep upset and hurt caused by the contents of the homilies in question delivered over the weekend.
“I apologise to all who were offended.
“The views expressed do not represent the Christian position.”
“I regret that this has occurred while a parish pilgrimage to the Holy Land is taking place,” he added, in reference to parish priest Father Declan O’Connor, who is away.
Speaking to local radio station Radio Kerry on Tuesday afternoon, Fr Sheehy said the bishop had told him he was “to be taken off all Masses”.
“I know myself that what I said cannot be disproven by any honest-to-God Catholic, Christian or Catholic teaching, and that’s the bottom line.”
He added that he believed that the bishop was “muzzling the truth in order to appease people”.
Human rights advocate and former head of Amnesty International Ireland Colm O’Gorman said in response to the priest’s homily: “I can only hope that this man finds his way back to love.
“To genuine, open hearted, joyful love, love without judgment, love that expands rather than diminishes one’s connection with one’s own humanity. I am not lost. He is,” he said on Twitter.
Fr Sheehy, who returned to Kerry from Baton Rouge in Louisiana in 2007, came to prominence previously when there was controversy after he shook hands with and provided a character reference for convicted sex offender Danny Foley of Meen, Listowel, in Tralee Circuit Court in 2009.