Gerry O’Connor on Cork 96fm
Gerry O’Connor CSsR on Cork 96fm this morning commenting about Fr. Sheehy’s controversial comments in Kerry.
You can hear the interview on the link below beginning at 23.10 minutes into the interview.
I note that the mainstream media outlets in seeking comments in regard to a homily delivered by a Catholic priest in the Diocese of Kerry chose to seek the views of the ACP and its officers. I note that are other priests and commentators whose voice has not been sought and I wonder why.
While, like the vast majority of us, I was not present to hear Father’s homily and am only relying on third party accounts and a very short edited clip to comment on. Yes certainly the delivery of the fire and brimstone messages of the past has gone but the teaching of the church has not changed.
It’s amazing how the issue of abortion raised in the homily and the pushing of that agenda by political leaders and some Catholic priests appear to have not made the headlines. There is no doubt that the delivery of a homily is a privilege that priests have and shouldn’t be taken lightly in the moment that the celebrant teaches.
But what about the bishop in all of this? Is he not denying the teaching of the Catholic faith and what about his support or pastoral care for the priest? It appears to me in reading media today that those in the lead role of the ACP have not just kicked the priest to touch but would rather see him go quietly into a corner and not be heard again.
The language of spokespersons of the ACP reminds me of culture that if I don’t believe in their agenda, their point of view, then I am nothing.
I can guarantee you that all the media outlets would have inundated many priests and bishops with requests to comment; the vast majority would have refused those requests as they often do. Thankfully, representatives of the ACP do not run scared and at least respond to media requests with a commentary that is usually thoughtful, respectful and fair.
While it might be fair to criticise Fr. Sheehy’s tone, his style, and immoderate language, if the focus remains only on that, it sidesteps the reality that much of what he said finds support in Catholic teaching (e.g. the Catechism). It is much easier to critique the thankfully tiny number of hellfire and brimstone preachers than to address the matter of the development of doctrine. Indeed, if bishops were to reject condemnatory homilies but never advocate for the development of doctrine, their critiques of reactionary preachers would seem rather hollow (not to make any judgment regarding Bishop Browne in particular). In the meantime, homilists have to live with a stark disconnect between official teaching and good pastoral sense (and credible theology) – and not just on sexual matters.
What was immoderate about his language?
Thankfully, the doctrine and teaching on many of these matters, and how it evolves, develops and is interpreted and preached, has formed much of the reflective discussions that have taken place, and continues to take place, as part of the synodal process.
I was horrified that this brave priest was thrown under the bus by his bishop. The Church is dying because of the paucity of courageous priests like Father Sheehy, because the Church no longer speaks truth to power, no longer has relevance and is silent on the profound moral and existential issues that we face. I am grateful that someone recorded the Homily, so that the world can have hope that there are still some priest willing to face persecution and discrimination for Christ, are prepared to lead the people out of the darkness and into the light, to confront a broken, suffering and misguided culture out of love. Thank you Father Sheehy. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
Is ‘Hugh Oxford’ really his name? If not, his posting reads very ironically. The ACP should stick to its policy of excluding anonymous and pseudonymous postings.
Colm O’Gorman puts it very well in his response to fr. Sheehy -“To genuine, open hearted, joyful love, love without judgement, love that expands rather than diminishes one’s connection with one’s humanity. I am not lost. He is”. I wonder when will we have doctrinal developments that can embrace the heart of the Gospel as captured in this comment?