Two women in a same-sex “marriage” have been applauded during Mass at St Michael’s church, Athy, Diocese of Dublin, while the faithful Catholic who expressed concerns about their leadership roles in the parish has been advised by the clergy to stay away.
As of yesterday, Jacinta O’Donnell and Geraldine Flanagan resumed their roles leading the adult and children’s choir at St Michael’s church, and as Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion, having announced on Kildare radio that they had been ‘forced’ to resign by a fellow parishioner two days earlier.
Anthony Murphy, the editor of The Catholic Voice newspaper, had raised concerns about whether it was appropriate for two lesbians in a same-sex “marriage” to have such public and prominent roles within the parish.
In the presence of five priests and a church packed with many who rarely attend Mass, Jacinta O’Donnell and Geraldine Flanagan led the choir in singing “I will follow him” from the film ‘Sister Act’. The two women held hands and bowed as many in the congregation applauded and cheered. This occurred on the sanctuary as the 5 priests processed out at the end of Mass.
Mr. Murphy, editor of the newspaper Catholic Voice, says that he received a death threat during a hate campaign “whipped up” by local Sinn Fein councillors, and has been advised by the local curate and police not to attend Mass at St Michael’s due to concerns about his safety.
“Just an update regarding the situation with the two “married” women in my local parish. They have resigned from their positions in the Church BUT today a mob has been whipped up into a frenzy by among others some of the local councillors and I am now the subject of a pretty intensive hate campaign. One Sinn Fein councillor has been particularly active in this regard and as a result of this incitement I have now received a death threat!! Apparently I am no longer welcome and I have been threatened by members of the local Sinn Fein Party not to go into my local town unless I have a ‘death wish.”
Mr. Murphy contacted his parish priest about his concerns about the prominent role of the women in the parish who were so publicly contravening the Church’s clear teaching against same-sex “marriage”, recently reiterated at the Synod on the Family. He did not receive a helpful response from his parish priest. Instead, Jacinta O’Donnell and Geraldine Flanagan have claimed that “parish priest Canon Frank McEvoy has been supportive of them” and that they had “not been asked to resign by the clergy”.
“My parish priest sees nothing wrong with two lesbians –who have entered into a same-sex ‘marriage’ — running the parish choir and acting as Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion. In fact, he was quite content for them to hand out invitations to their ‘wedding’ in the church after choir practise! Is it any wonder that the Church is in such a crisis?”.
Mr Murphy told The Irish Times that, because of their relationship, the couple had already resigned positions with the Lay Dominicans Ireland of which Ms Flanagan had been president and Ms O’Donnell was president of its Athy chapter. It was “a similar issue” in Athy parish, he felt.
“The choir is on the altar, almost centre stage with the priest. It’s a very public contradiction [with church teaching banning same-sex marriage]. The church has to decide whether it believes what it teaches,” he said.
The saddest thing about this story is the the two women are being encouraged in their relationship by their priest, rather than receiving help regarding their same-sex attraction. The Catholic church welcomes all people with same-sex attraction and invites them to live a chaste life, along with all others (gay, straight or celibate) who are not married.
If you are experiencing same-sex attraction and would like someone to talk to in a non-judgmental and friendly way, please visit www.couragerc.org