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Controversial priest led prayers in Kerry after Leo Varadkar 'going to hell' outburst

Fr Sean Sheehy vowed to continue to celebrate mass at his home to people who wish to listen to his sermons

Fr Sean Sheehy

Ali BrackenIndependent.ie

Controversial cleric Fr Sean Sheehy led a prayer service in Tralee town square yesterday afternoon and vowed to continue to celebrate mass at his home to people who wish to listen to his sermons.

The retired priest, who gave a widely condemned address in a Co Kerry church last weekend, has been prevented from saying church Mass again after the Bishop of Kerry rebuked his comments as unchristian.

More than 30 parishioners walked out of the mass after Fr Sheehy condemned transgenderism, same-sex couples, and supplying condoms to teenagers in his sermon.

Fr 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”.

He also criticised abortion and the trans community.

Despite this storm of controversy surrounding his remarks, the retired cleric went to Tralee yesterday to lead the ‘Monthly Men’s Rosary,’ which he explained consists of the recital of the 15 mysteries of the rosary.

“I got a very nice reception from the faithful Catholic today,” he told sundayworld.com.

“There was about 30 men present, as well as some women and children. It was prayers for people who live and are faithful to the Christian life. Prayer is always peaceful and I enjoy praying with others. It is called the Monthly Men's Rosary because it was initiated by men, it is celebrated internationally each month.”

Fr Sheehy agreed that he was “disappointed” that he is no longer permitted to celebrate mass at Catholic churches in Kerry following a direction from the bishop in recent days.

But the priest insisted that he will continue to celebrate mass at his home in a personal capacity - which he said is something he has been doing for some time in his retirement.

“Of course it is disappointing I am no longer permitted by the bishop to celebrate mass. But I will still celebrate mass. I already do so in my home and I will continue to do that, of course I will. People often come to my home for mass. That will continue,” he added.

The retired cleric continued that the he was “mostly disappointed” for serving priests in Kerry, because he will longer be permitted to fill in when they are ill or unable to work for other reasons.

“I am mostly disappointed for the other priests. I won’t be allowed to fill in for them when they are sick. I am no longer allowed to provide cover. That is a real shame, for them.”

Speaking on Radio Kerry last week, the priest claimed that some parishioners have since thanked him for his sermon.

When asked by Kerry Today host Jerry O’Sullivan: “Do you think that our politicians, the ones who legislate for things like same sex marriage - some of them are openly gay, the soon to be Taoiseach again Leo Varadkar - do you think they are going to hell?,” he responded: “Absolutely, if they don’t repent on sin and seek forgiveness”.

“Because what they’re doing is contrary to the law of nature and secondly, and more importantly, it’s contrary to the law of God. When you go against God, who is the author of life, you actually go against life itself.”

A spokesman for Leo Varadkar said after speaking to him in Singapore, where he is leading a trade mission: “The Tánaiste profoundly disagrees with Fr Sheehy’s views, however he respects his right to express his religious beliefs freely.

“The Tánaiste does not believe that gay people will go to hell for being who they are, nor does he believe that any man or woman can make such a judgment. As Pope Francis said, ‘who are we to judge’ ”.


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