Kerry priest says gay politicians going to hell if they don’t 'repent'

The Tánaiste and other gay politicians are “absolutely” going to hell if they do not repent their sins and seek forgiveness according to the priest who delivered a much-criticised homily at the weekend
Kerry priest says gay politicians going to hell if they don’t 'repent'

Anne Lucey

The Tánaiste and other gay politicians are “absolutely” going to hell if they do not repent their sins and seek forgiveness according to the priest who delivered a much-criticised homily at the weekend.

Fr Seán Sheehy has not backed down on his comments after he described same-sex relationships and transgenderism as mortal sins on Sunday.

Fr Sheehy — who was deputising for parish priest Canon Declan O’Connor — has since been taken off the roster in Listowel by the Bishop of Kerry Dr Ray Browne.

The bishop on Tuesday apologised for the comments made by Fr Sheehy, saying he was aware of “the deep upset and hurt” the comments had caused. Bishop Browne said the views expressed were not representative of Christianity.

Fr Sheehy had also delivered a similarly controversial homily at the Saturday vigil mass, according to Listowel locals.

In an interview on Radio Kerry on Wednesday, Fr Sheehy doubled down and elaborated on his position, saying sin was “embedded in modern culture and enshrined in legislation”.

"People think because there's no law against it, it’s ok. But that’s not true,” Fr Sheehy told the Kerry Today programme.

He added that scripture taught that the sinner had to be admonished and this was done out of love in order to bring them to eternal life.

Fr Sheehy also said compassion was misunderstood — being compassionate meant telling the truth to people doing something wrong.

“The truth hurts, but it sets us free,” he said.

Fr Sheehy insisted all he was doing was preaching scripture and Catholic doctrine.

It’s not fundamentalism it’s the word of God.

“It’s not fundamentalism it’s the word of God," he added.

While around 30 people had left the church on Sunday, others remained. And on Tuesday morning, he claimed he got a standing ovation at the end of mass.

Asked about politicians legislating for same-sex marriage, and about gay politicians including Leo Varadakar, and if they were going to hell, Fr Sheehy said: “Absolutely, if they don’t repent of their sin and seek forgiveness. Absolutely. Absolutely.

“What they're doing is first of all against nature and secondly and most importantly contrary to the law of God," Fr Sheehy said.

He added that everyone was prone to sin and while a small percentage of homosexuality may very well be biological mostly this behaviour was “nurture, and environment, not nature”.

He had seen in the US how some psychologists were successful in helping people in that respect. However, the media had come down on the therapists.

Fr Sheehy also said the Bishop of Kerry was muzzling the truth in order to appease people who did not want to face reality.

"I know myself what I said cannot be disproven by any honest-to-God Christian or Catholic teaching."

Fr Sheehy, who returned to Kerry from Baton Rouge in Louisiana in the US in 2007, has been embroiled in controversy before after he shook hands with and supplied a character reference for convicted sex offender Danny Foley of Listowel in Tralee Circuit Court in 2009.

Speaking on Tuesday afternoon, Fr Sheehy said the bishop had told him he was “to be taken off all Masses”.

Human rights advocate and former head of Amnesty International Ireland Colm O’Gorman said in response to the priest’s Sunday homily: “I can only hope that this man finds his way back to love.

“To genuine, open-hearted, joyful love, love without judgment, love that expands rather than diminishes one’s connection with one’s own humanity. I am not lost. He is,” he said on Twitter.

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