DUBLIN (ChurchMilitant.com) - An Irish senator is playing "victim" after being blasted for her tweet criticizing an elderly priest's Easter homily on abortion.
After Easter Sunday Mass, pro-abortion Fine Gael Senator Catherine Noone ignited a fire on Twitter after she tweeted, "Easter mass [sic] in Knock Basilica this afternoon with my parents — an octogenarian priest took at least three opportunities to preach to us about abortion — it's no wonder people feel disillusioned with the Catholic Church."
After immediate backlash Noone deleted her tweet. Cora Sherlock, a spokesperson for Pro-Life Campaign, wrote, "Senator Noone claims she deleted her offensive tweet not because she didn't stand over it but because she did not need the negativity that came in response to it."
Noone defended her tweet, telling the Irish Independent, "When I do go to Mass, I don't expect to be confronted with the issue. Maybe that's naivety on my part."
Father Richard Gibbons, the rector of Knock Shrine, told the media, "I haven't been talking to the priest, and I doubt he knows anything about this Twitter storm."
The Knock Shrine is the site of the Apparition of Our Lady of Knock, where 15 people witnessed a vision of the Blessed Virgin, St. Joseph and St. John the Evangelist in 1879. It is a site of pilgrimage for millions and considered to be one of the most prominent Marian Shrines in the world.
The Knock Shrine has five churches on its grounds and Fr. Gibbons said, "We have a lot of chaplains working at the shrine and quite a number of them are retired." He added, "They don't go out to give offense to anybody. They would just state the Catholic position on life which is important to all of us."
He said these priests are "very measured, intelligent men" and explained that the right to life issue is commonly brought up in Catholic churches.
Others cite that the committee was only used to justify the referendum, noting the proceedings ended only three weeks after they began, without many of the experts' testimony being heard. Sherlock called it "a grubby exercise not worthy to lay claim to the title 'deliberative democracy.'"
A poll from March is showing that support for repealing Ireland's constitutional protections for the unborn is dropping.
Niamh Uí Bhriain, a member of the Save the Eighth Campaign, said of the poll, "One trend is clear both in polling and from our experience talking to real voters — the more the public finds out about this abortion proposal, the less they like it. That is reflected in today's poll which is welcome news."
Uí Bhriain explained there is much more work to be done to educate voters on the referendum. Noting it is a "carbon copy of the U.K. model," she warned, "Ireland is being asked to copy England's mistake."
The vote to legalize abortion in Ireland is set for May 25.
Church Militant contacted Senator Noone for comment but did not receive a response by press time.