KERRY, Ireland (ChurchMilitant.com) - The bishop of Kerry is publicly condemning a priest for preaching against homosexuality, transgenderism, abortion and the Irish government's recent policy of distributing free condoms to teenagers.
Bishop Ray Browne apologized on the Feast of All Saints to "all who were offended" for "the deep upset and hurt caused by the contents of the homilies in question delivered over the weekend," by Fr. Sean Sheehy at the 11:30 a.m. Mass on Sunday.
"The views expressed do not represent the Christian position. The homily at a regular weekend parish Mass is not appropriate for such issues to be spoken of in such terms," Bp. Kerry wrote in a "statement issued on behalf of the diocese of Kerry regarding the offending homilies."
On Tuesday, Fr. Sheehy told Radio Kerry that the bishop had told him he was "to be taken off all Masses."
The bishop was "muzzling the truth in order to appease people," Sheehy remarked. "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."
During his sermon at St. Mary's Church, Listowel, Fr. Sheehy used the category of "mortal sin" to warn against "the promotion of abortion," the "promotion of sex between two men or two women" and the "lunatic approach of transgenderism."
"God is also telling you and me today ... you have a responsibility to seek out those who are lost," Fr. Sheehy pleaded. "You have a responsibility to call people to an awareness of the fact that sin is destructive. Sin is detrimental, and sin will lead us to Hell."
"When we honor the saints on the first of this coming month, we honor people who are saints. Why are they saints?" Sheehy asked. "Because they repented and because they sought forgiveness. As somebody said one time, Heaven is full of converted sinners."
Sheehy, a retired priest filling in for Fr. Declan O'Connor, urged parishioners to seek the lost and tell them that "God loves you. He has come to call sinners, but He wants you to have life and have it to the full because that's what He wants."
The preacher shared an anecdote of a conversation he had with a mother who complained that the Irish health services were promoting "promiscuity" after her 17-year-old daughter came home and handed her mother a condom that was being distributed by the government.
"Now there are people, you see, who won't like to hear what I'm saying. But the day you die, you will find out. What I'm saying is not what I invented. It's not what I came up with, it's what God is saying," the priest thundered.
Several parishioners heckled the priest, and around 30 congregants walked out during the sermon. "And those of you who happen to be leaving today, God help you. That's all I have to say to you," Sheehy responded.
Father Sheehy exhorted the congregation to "become conscious of our sinfulness so that we will turn to Him and say, 'Lord, please forgive me,'" since God is "only too willing to do that."
In his censure of the priest, Bp. Browne insisted that "the Gospel of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is a Gospel of love and ever proclaims the dignity of every human person" and "calls on us all to ever have total respect for one another."
Church Militant sent a transcript of Sheehy's sermon to the bishop of Kerry and asked why Bp. Browne would regard a call to repentance as problematic.
The bishop was also asked if he could identify a single statement in the sermon that goes against the teaching of Scripture, Tradition, or the Magisterium.
"Would you have a problem with the Old Testament prophets, John the Baptist, Jesus and with St. Paul for so firmly preaching against sin? If the pulpit is not the place to denounce the evils of this world, where else do you expect your priests to preach biblical truth from?" Church Militant asked.
A source from Ireland told Church Militant that the Kerry Diocesan Youth Service has been actively endorsing the Sexual Health Center, a nongovernmental organization that is funded by Ireland's Health Service Executive and the Department of Children and Youth Affairs.
In July, KDYS recommended the "DASH van" on its social media, stating that diocesan youth could get "free products, information and testing," including free contraceptives, lubricants and rapid HIV testing.
The van is an initiative of the Sexual Health Center, an organization that's strongly pro-abortion, pro-LGBT and promotes local "pride" events in the southwest of Ireland, where they advertise free HIV testing under the slogan "get pricked for pride."
In September, Ireland's health minister, Stephen Donnelly, announced a new governmental initiative to dispense free contraceptives to "women and people with a uterus" between 17–25 years of age.
The program claims to be for the benefit of women, "particularly for those financially dependent on parents or guardians" and offers "short-acting contraceptives" like the pill, the patch and the contraceptive ring.
It also offers "long-acting reversible contraceptives that you do not have to remember to take every day" like the "implant, injection, [and] intrauterine device or IUD and intrauterine system or IUS (these are also known as coils)."
Bishop Browne's director of communications said that the bishop was not available to offer a response.