IRELAND… again.

If I am not mistaken, you probably have more fingers – Capt. Hook included – than all of Ireland has priestly ordinations.

Remember the video of the old jack ass priest saying that he’d rather not have any vocations than priests like these new young guys?

Here’s another reason why there are problems.

Mind you, this is an extreme example, but it does underscore a real problem: a growing divide between priests and bishops. I read a piece the other day about a study with priests about their bishops. It was grim, to say the least, and very sad.

Several readers have written to me about the following. In this case it is about an older priest who still has his head screwed on in the right direction, unlike many of his coevals.

A priest preaches about moral issues. The bishop stomps on him.

Bishop of Kerry apologises after priest tells mass that free condoms [TO GIRLS] promote promiscuity

Fr Seán Sheehy also told the congregation in Listowel that sex between two men or two women was a sin, as was ‘transgenderism’.

A PRIEST IN Kerry has sparked backlash after telling a mass that sex between two men or two women is sinful and that free condom schemes from the HSE promote promiscuity.

Fr Seán Sheehy, a retired priest deputising for parish priest Fr Declan O’Connor, said during his homily at St Mary’s Church in Listowel that repentance would save people from Satan and his “wiles and ways”[Imagine such a thing!]

He also said that Irish legislation took a “lunatic approach” to “transgenderism”.

The Bishop of Kerry, Dr Ray Browne, has this morning apologised for the homily, saying the views expressed were not representative of Christianity.  [Thus, the problems in Ireland.]

Bishop Browne in a statement posted on the diocesan website this mid morning said he was 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. The homily at a regular weekend parish Mass is not appropriate for such issues to be spoken of in such terms.

[Get this…] “The Gospel of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ is a Gospel of love and ever proclaims the dignity of every human person. It calls on us all to ever have total respect for one another.  [I ask you… is it loving to candy coat or be silent about things that separate you from the love of God and which, if not dealt with, bring you to Hell rather than Heaven?  Is spiritual neglect, refusal to do one’s duty as a priest, show respect to people?  “TOTAL respect” includes the hard styff.]

The statement included three passages from the Bible, including: “Think of the love that the Father has lavished on us, by letting us be called God’s children; and that is what we are,” from the Gospel of John.  [There are other passages.]

’1980s Ireland’
A number of people left the Sunday morning mass in protest. A member of the congregation can be heard shouting at the priest in a video circulating on social media.  [Hardly a surprise after decades of seriously bad shepherding.]

The video sparked backlash on Facebook and Twitter. One person told The Journal that the sermon was “like stepping back to 1980s Ireland.”

Fr Sheehy told the congregation: “You rarely hear about sin but it’s rampant. It’s rampant. We see it for example in the legislation. We see it in the promotion of abortion we see it and in the example of this lunatic approach of transgenderism and in promotion of sex between two men and two women.

“That is sinful. That is mortal sin.”

The mass in question was an anniversary mass and there were children and families in the congregation.  [Anniversary of… what?  A marriage?  In that case, there were probably some younger people there who have never heard anything like this.]

Fr Sheehy also condemned the distribution of condoms to girls by the HSE, which he said promoted promiscuity.

As people apparently left the congregation, he said: “Those of you who happen to be leaving today, God help you is all I have to say. God bless you who are here and worshiping God. God bless all of you.”

Fr Sheehy, who returned to Kerry from Baton Rouge in Louisiana in the US in 2007, has previously made the news after outcry when he shook hands and gave a character reference for convicted sex offender Danny Foley of Listowel, in Tralee Circuit Court in 2009.  [I don’t know anything about that case, but I do know that many Catholics … catholics … have a “one strike” attitude. They don’t really believes that a sinner can ever repent.  Donatists at heart.  Conversion?  Repentance?  Pffft.]

Then Bishop of Kerry Dr Bill Murphy distanced himself from his actions.

Sometimes the Church is accused of focusing on sexual sins too much.  It is said, correctly, that there are more serious sins.  While this is true, sexual sins by and large are mortal sins.   If there are more serious mortal sins, such as those of malice and pride, etc., that doesn’t make less serious mortal sins un-mortal.  If you are crushed by a bus-size meteor from space, you are dead.  If you are shot with a .22 round and you die, you are dead.  If you commit a mortal sin of malice and you die in that state, you go to Hell.  If you commit a less serious mortal sin of the flesh, and you did in that state, you go to Hell.

So there’s a reason why the Church tends – or tended  – to stress sexual sins: there are a lot more of them being committed.  And they can pave the way to worse sins yet.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Imrahil says:

    While this is true, sexual sins by and large are mortal sins.

    I’d surmise to say that when those who accept Catholic morality in principle commit sins of thought by not quite as immediately as they could have shunning an unlawful temptation, and the like, it is “a sexual sin” by definition of the words, but mostly venial through lack of sufficient will.

    And in these people, especially if, say, we only count the “status at present” and not “before conversion” or “before getting out of a difficult situation”, etc., it may be that not only the one or the other exception, but most of the sexual sins fall in this category.

    I grant of course that most people won’t think of sins of thought when hearing “sexual sin”.

  2. Imrahil says:

    So there’s a reason why the Church tends – or tended – to stress sexual sins.

    As far as I see, she does not and did not. Some pious people have, with valid concern. But the attitude of the Church as a whole has usually been “these things really are sinful; they happen; go to Confession, don’t do that again, and get yourselves married so you can indulge in the pleasures lawfully”. (Obviously, what the Church did in areas where there is a morality race with the Protestants going on, some of whom really do have a focus on the subject, might tend to distort the picture.)

    What the enemies of the Church mean when they accuse the Church of being obsessed with sexual sins, and the like, is simply the fact that she insists that the commandment exists at all, and that she does not declare these mortal sins lawful no matter how loud they cry for it. But that the Church really cannot do; as a matter of fact, she couldn’t do it for venial sins either.

    She repeats that, ever again, because she is asked to deny what she previously said, ever again. But objectively, that does not mean she is obsessed with the matter. On the contrary, it means those are obsessed with the matter who keep on asking (and in an unfriendly matter at that).

  3. rtjleblanc says:

    1. In many ways our vocation crisis is a self inflicted wound. It certainly is in my diocese. I have three times signed up for diaconate formation and three times withdrew because I couldn’t close my, eyes and hold my nose long enough to swallow the gargabe that was being handed out in the program long enough to be eligible for ordination. I supoose that reflects badly on me for not having the fortitude to see it through. None-the-less, I am sure that, as with diaconal formation, so with priestly formation. Candidates are rejected who should not be rejected and many of those who do go on to seminary leave due to the foul taste left in their mouth by their studies.

    2. It is true that sexual sins are not the most serious sins that one could commit. But they are among the most serious sins that people commonly commit. Few people commit, or are likely to commit, armed bank robberies or murders, but many people commit a variety of sexual sins. Saying that sexual sin is not as serious as murder fails to consider the relevance of the two kinds of sins in many people’s lives.

  4. Not says:

    Don’t know why , But I think Ireland was the testing ground for the present liberalism infecting Holy Mother Church. Maybe it was the brutality of the English or the brutality of the IRA. When the IRA starting executing fellow Irishmen…
    The Novus Ordo (new order church) is all sunshine and lollipops. Anything is ok as long as your not hurting anyones feelings.

  5. Ms. M-S says:

    God’s teachings have always been clear, from the stone tablets to the Baltimore Catechism. And, as you have often said, Fr. Z, the Devil always tells us what he’s doing as well. The choice seems pretty simple to me: Please God and regain our place as sons and daughters in His kingdom or do whatever we damned well please and live in ultimate misery trying to be as gods, trying to remake Creation according to whatever lunatic whims are currently in vogue.

    As dissenters come tumbling out of the closet, their teachings offer a clearer and clearer choice between heresy and truth. Everyone should take care what line they get into because the two lines have two and two only ultimate destinations.

  6. Lurker 59 says:

    There is a sort of false prudishness when it comes to sexual sins, as if not preaching about it to young ones means that they will never hear about it. We were all young once, we know the information that passes amongst the youth is a magnitude lewder than what adults think it is and the degree of misinformation that comes from adults not talking about things. This is not an advertisement for sex-ed.

    I’d like to also point out, and this is very very important, that if certain bishops want to be prudes and not hammer directly against the sexual sins that are rampant in our society, they need to be preaching on the virtues of the family, married life, and single life. But no, they won’t talk about these either, and some go about dismantling St. JP II’s institutions and teachings and replacing them with falsehoods. As to why, that is obvious, and a good reminder to pray for bishops and do penance for their sins.

  7. Kentucky Gent says:

    Father Z,

    These kinds of reports really hurt. One of the beautiful things about the Catholic faith is it offers something that the world does not offer. So to have a bishop go and publicly repudiate the truth leaves me in shock and sadness.

  8. JMody says:

    Not my phrase, but these bishops certainly seem to put the “less” in “spineless”. Isn’t this proof of a de facto interdict, i.e., there can be no sacraments because there are no valid ministers, not because of a de jure prohibition?

  9. DvdH says:

    “The mass in question was an anniversary mass and there were children and families in the congregation. [Anniversary of… what? A marriage? In that case, there were probably some younger people there who have never heard anything like this.]”

    Some Irish still have Masses offered for the Month’s Mind, First Anniversary of their dead relatives. They refer to the First Anniversary Mass as the ‘Anniversary Mass’. The Month’s Mind is usually around a month after the death. Some of those also have Masses offered around the subsequent anniversaries.

    Catholics who only see the inside of the church at weddings and funerals, strangely attend Month’s Mind and First Anniversary Masses too. Makes sense why there were some who walked out.

  10. Antonia D says:

    The state of the Irish Church gives me the shivers. IRELAND!

  11. Kathleen10 says:

    Fr. Sheehy is demonstrating love for the flock.
    Fr. Sheehy is demonstrating love for Christ, and the faith.
    The bishop’s mincing smile gives a likely hint as to why he would find that homily so objectionable. It seems to be the common element.
    We are engaged in a battle of wills for the faith. There can’t be any “co-exist” anymore in Catholicism. The progressives won’t have it. They not only want it all they want to kick out and jettison the faithful. Just as observing our America being imploded is a mystery, and we say, what is your end game here, if you destroy it all while you’re in it, we can say the same thing about the church, because with the faithful go a lot of people, most of the energy, the youth, a lot of money, and attendance. BXVI said the “church would likely be a lot smaller” in the future, but thus far it looks like the minute part will be the progressive church. So why.
    The Irish Catholics who got up and left would walk out on Christ, if He Himself gave the homily. Maybe He did. And poor fools, they rejected Him.

  12. Son of Saint Alphonsus says:

    To my knowledge I have not encountered anyone who has committed murder (with the exception of slaughtering human beings in utero), however I dare say I could count on one hand those who have never committed a sexual sin.

  13. Cameron466 says:

    Dante put Lust at the top of his Hell partially because it was the least grievous of the deadly sins. But being at the top, it’s also the *widest* circle. Paradoxically the very fact that it’s the least grievous makes it so dangerous: it ensnares far more souls, many who’d never contemplate the worse stuff.

  14. maternalView says:

    I can’t imagine having separated myself from The Church by not regularly attending and then showing up for a rare visit only to walk out because the priest dares to share Church teaching. What arrogance.

    People are so used to be catered to their desires even if it’s in opposition to the Church’s teachings.

  15. JonPatrick says:

    At Fatima Our Lady stated that more souls go to Hell because of the sins of the flesh than any other.

    I wonder if the collapse of Catholicism in Ireland, which seems to have happened faster and farther than elsewhere, could be attributed for the fact that during its occupation by Britain for centuries, Catholicism was a key part of the Irish people’s identity and helped keep them from being assimilated. Once they achieved independence, they now had a secular identity apart from the Church and combined with the ravages of secularism in 20th Century society led to the collapse of the faith. Just speculation on my part.

  16. Hb says:

    There is a legend that Christ has given the privilege of judging the Irish at final judgement to St Patrick.

    These bishops should be very very afraid……

  17. Pingback: ‘No Catholicism, Please, We’re Irish’ | Catholicism Pure & Simple

  18. Suburbanbanshee says:

    Bishops are supposed to “look over” and watch over the Church. They are watchmen. And as a lot of early Christian and medieval commentators noted, that makes them the “eye” of the Church — and if the eye causes people to stumble, it should be plucked out. (re: Mt. 5:29)

    The problem is that if the eye is good, the whole body will be full of light, but if the eye is evil, the whole body will be in the dark. (Re: Mt. 6:22-23) So it looks like poor Kerry is in the dark, and the bishop is a lot of the problem. The ignorant and fallen away people are the symptom, not the cause.

    Needless to say, the heritage of early Christianity in Ireland is pretty strongly against sexual sin, and pro-marriage. Because of course they were fighting pagan polygamy, as well as the old law that used to permit serial divorce and remarriage.

  19. Charivari Rob says:

    DvdH – Good catch!

  20. TheCavalierHatherly says:


    “Don’t know why , But I think Ireland was the testing ground for the present liberalism infecting Holy Mother Church. Maybe it was the brutality of the English or the brutality of the IRA. When the IRA starting executing fellow Irishmen…”

    A lot of the IRA were out and out Communists, a pedigree that went back to the groups that formed and allied before the Easter Rising in 1916. A good deal of them were also secular humanists with religious sentiments, in the vein of Rousseau.

    I do think, however, that “Vatican II: The Aftermath” was a massive rug pull for places like Ireland. Ultra-catholic Quebec suffered almost thd same fate.

  21. Amina says:

    That’s strange, not Ireland, yet nevertheless- I happened to read a readers response from Rev. Kenneth Doyle yesterday seeming to support the legal “protection” for illicit unions . I wrote a letter critical of this and looking up the name again today discovered he died 7 days ago.

  22. amenamen says:

    What is striking is that the homily was so ordinary, so unexceptional.
    He simply spoke the truth, as any Catholic should. If some people were “offended,” it looks as if they disagreed with the content of the homily, which is the Catholic faith, or what some have called “the Christian position.”

    If that homily is considered a barn-burner, there must be scarce evidence of normal Catholic preaching in parts of Ireland.

  23. PostCatholic says:

    A lot changed in Ireland to turn a very religious society into a very secular one. Economic development; rapid rise in educational attainment; women in the workforce; the homogenizing effect of global television, films, and the internet; the decline in emigration (the people who most wanted change used to leave!); economic outlook (Ireland used to be an isolationist state but since the Celtic tiger it is much more a participant in the global economy) the surge in immigration… All of those things changed what had been a very traditional family lifestyle. But then, those things happened in all western European nations post-WWII, or as it was called in Ireland, “The Emergency.”

    Then consider factor in how deeply hypocritical the upper management of the Catholic institutions were during the 20th century (I’ll leave it there, you know what the crimes are), and how entwined into government and social services the church. It’s not fair to call the 20th century government of Ireland a theocracy, but it came pretty close for a western liberal democracy. When the avalanche of criminal wrongdoing came to light, it was at a time of profound social change for a country that until recently had lagged behind the west in many ways. That made it all the easier to disaffiliate.

    I lived in Ireland, as a Catholic seminarin, in the early 1990s. Our rector was a leftist radical who was a narcissistic sociopath later found to be abusing children. I am not going to use his name but accounts of him are to be found in news sources on the web. I met many wonderful clergy there but also a lot of cruel men among them, too. I don’t think it was well understood at the seminary among faculty or students that Ireland was percolating into a period of change. Because the seminary was so miserable, I made most of my friends among students of other disciplines at NUIM. It was palpable that Ireland was on the cusp of change when you spent time in their company. In contrast, St Patrick’s was run by abusive control freaks who were concerned with consolidating and maintaining their power and societal position, so that they could put it to bad ends.

    It doesn’t surprise me that Irish Catholicism is in free-fall. It wouldn’t surprise Paul of Tarsus, who said “For what things a man shall sow, those also shall he reap. For he that soweth in his flesh, of the flesh also shall reap corruption.”

  24. Gabriel Syme says:

    The mainstream Church is finished in Ireland, fortunately there is a growing traditional contingent – e.g. ICKSP in Limerick & SSPX nationwide – which will mean the Church will not be completely snuffed out.

    (There are also traditional Carmelite nuns in County Cork, I think the SSPX look after them. For a long time, there was only two of them – including one very young Sister – and then suddenly / recently, their numbers doubled to four and it seems there is hope they might soon double again to eight!).

    What a complete shambles the mainstream set up is. Bishops attacking priests for articulating Catholic doctrine, so-called Catholics leaving Mass upon hearing Catholic sentiments. Its pathetic. They would be as well as boarding up the Churches right now, for all this mess will achieve. It would be less embarrassing for all involved, just to “jack it in” right now.

    I pity the Catholics of good will trying to raise children amid this circus. What chance do they have? They ought to get the hell out of dodge and get to the nearest traditional order.

    This nonsense has been going on for a long time, its not always reported. In Scotland, I know a very good priest, a Sacred Heart Father – very sympathetic to traditional – who was drummed out of the Dublin Archdiocese and sent home, for the crime of teaching kids that they should not receive the Eucharist, unless in a state of Grace. No joke. This was years ago and things in Ireland have only gotten worse.

    What do the Bishops think the Church has to offer, if not the sometimes challenging – but always sanctifying and consoling – doctrines of the True Faith? What do these snowflake Catholics go to Church for, if they find mention of Catholicism intolerable?

    What strange and toxic oddballs many modern Irish ‘Catholics’ are, clergy and lay alike.

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