by Anthony Murphy

The recent events in my local parish, St. Michael’s Athy, again underscore the reality that we now live in a time where aggressively anti-catholic sentiment rules the day and woe betide anyone who has the nerve to challenge the prevailing culture. A culture which claims “equality” and “tolerance” as its buzz words but in truth a culture which is dragging us back to the darkest days of intolerance and persecution.

Anyone who has followed the thuggish nature of this story will see which side uses a message of hate. The intimidation which my family has experienced over the past week, including a campaign to force us to move out of our home, has been fuelled by local Sinn Fein and LGBT supporters and can only be described as incitement to hatred. Thankfully the Gardai have begun an investigation but we remain ostracised by a highly active and vocal presence in the town, we are made to feel like strangers living in a strange and unwelcoming land.

That once Catholic Ireland has reached this point is surreal; my good friend Deacon Nick Donnelly summarises the situation well in a comment he wrote for EWTN:

“Anthony Murphy has had the courage to stand up for the truth of the Catholic faith. All faithful Catholics in the town of Athy and the world should support him against the intimidation and violence he is receiving for upholding the teaching of the Church. Anthony Murphy, his wife Kim and their family should not have been placed in this position by their parish priest's failure to act as a pastor. Canon Frank McEvoy should have asked Jacinta O'Donnell and Geraldine Flanagan to resign from their leadership positions in his parish due to their entering into a same-sex “marriage” and the scandal of them broadcasting their defiance of Church teaching to the parish's adult and children’s choir. Anthony Murphy has acted in accordance with canon law, which states that Catholics have the right, and duty, to make known their concerns to their pastors and to other members of the faithful" (Canon 212 §3).

In light of Pope Francis recently reiterating the Church's total rejection of so-called same-sex “marriage” in his apostolic exhortation, Amoris Laetitia, Canon Frank McCoy should have shared Anthony Murphy's concerns about leaders of the parish choir entering into a same-sex union. Pope Francis wrote:

"In discussing the dignity and mission of the family, the Synod Fathers observed that, “as for proposals to place unions between homosexual persons on the same level as marriage, there are absolutely no grounds for considering homosexual unions to be in any way similar or even remotely analogous to God’s plan for marriage and family”. It is unacceptable “that local Churches should be subjected to pressure in this matter and that international bodies should make financial aid to poor countries dependent on the introduction of laws to establish ‘marriage’ between persons of the same sex”

Addressing the situation of the clergy present who stood silent and watched as the two women were applauded during Mass Deacon Nick wrote:

“What did they intend to communicate to the parishioners and the wider world by their presence at the Mass that welcomed the return of lesbians Jacinta O'Donnell and Geraldine Flanagan to leading the choir after an absence of two days? More importantly, what support have the local priests given to Anthony and his family, following the threats Anthony has received for upholding the Church's teaching on marriage which they are singularly failing to uphold? Anthony and his family have been excluded from the sacraments in their parish church and their right to worship God has been denied because of fears for their safety. Their rights under canon law have been trampled because Anthony has defended the doctrine of the Church. This is a grave injustice.”

Local curate speaks out

As we go to press the local curate, Fr. Brendan Kealy, has contacted Catholic Voice to express his deep shame and regret at attending the Mass in Athy. He says 

“the Mass was hijacked by LGBT activists and I became part of this mob and missed the opportunity to show my obedience to Christ and His teaching. I was unaware the Mass would be filmed and the two women would be paraded in such a way, thus magnifying their defiant act of disobedience to God’s will. The Mass was lost to the evil of vanity. Hijacked and held ransom for all the wrong reasons. I even found myself clapping at one stage but quickly stopped when I realised I resembled the lost sheep. No excuse. The more I thought about it the more uncomfortable I felt and feel about it.” 

He then went on to emphasise that he fully accepted Church teaching that marriage can only be between a man and a woman. Perhaps this will give the other local clergy the courage to also defend Christ at this time of crisis in the parish.

In closing I wish to thank the very many decent and kind people who have contacted the office to express support and offer prayers for my family and also the many offers of support. Clearly, we cannot and will not abandon Christ at this difficult time and there must be some reparation for the grave sins against the Blessed Sacrament. In the days ahead we will decide the best action to take and will be in contact with those who have offered to help. In the meantime please pray for the Church in Ireland and in particular for the shepherds that they may not abandon the flock for fear of the wolves. Our Lady, Queen of Ireland, pray for us. St. Michael the Archangel defend us in the hour of battle.