Locals to hold solidarity vigil after Ballyfermot church faced backlash for flying Pride flag

(Editor’s note: Fresh comments have been received on this topic, including one from Adrian Egan from Ballyfermot Church, hence moving the issue back to the Homepage.) 

BALLYFERMOT LOCALS ARE holding a solidarity vigil this week after a church received backlash online for flying an LGBT+ Pride flag on its grounds.


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  1. Ger Hopkins says:

    Thanks for the link to the journal.ie article.
    Brid Smith and another People Before Profit councillor, Ballyfermot Anti-Racism Network – which would be considered to have a large crossover membership with Sinn Fein – and SF councillor Daithi Doolin are all involved in organising a demonstration outside Ballyfermot Church of the Assumption this evening.
    I’d be very surprised if “the local GAA team” (I presume they mean De La Salle) are officially represented.
    I am not sure what exactly is implied by posting this journal.ie article here.
    Many clergy would have been implacably opposed to SF in times past so, whatever the politics, it is good to see wounds healed and new expressions of solidarity with old enemies. If that’s what it is then there’s probably a lesson here for us all.

    Strange to see Catholics described as being “aggressive and hostile and nasty and loud and accusatory and condemnatory” and a “cohort who are very aggressive and difficult”.
    Here’s video of an opponent of Church teaching approaching the Rosary Rally outside the Church of the Assumption. The video has been getting a lot of exposure on Catholic and Anti Lockdown social media.

    I am somewhat familiar with the people who put on the Rosary Rally. They meet on North Earl St opposite the GPO every month. The reaction from passers-by, especially young ones and tourists, is uplifting.
    For anyone who’s interested, the Rallies take place at 4pm on the Saturday closest to the 13th of the month – which I’ve learned is the date each month Our Lady appeared at Fatima.
    Here’s the video from a Sacred Heart Pilgrimage they just had.
    The numbers may seem modest until you realise this is how many were ready to walk fifty miles in three days.
    The people being thanked at the end of the video, Fr Michael Anthony Buckley, Fr Stephen Kennedy and Sr Catriona Kavanagh, were all ordained or professed vows in the last ten years.

  2. Roy Donovan says:

    Another example of the Church/Archdiocese putting laws ahead of people and of Gospel witness. Jesus didn’t hide behind laws. Very handy way out! It sends out another message of rejection to LGBTQ people. Fr. Adrian must be supported for this initiative and his inclusiveness

  3. John Collins says:

    The Parish Pastoral Council and Fr Adrian were and are trying to be inclusive… just as the Gospel message is for everyone … Jesus reached out to those on the Margins with kindness and compassion… I am not seeing much kindness and compassion from so called committed Catholics, when we see and read the vitriol comments to Adrian and the parish council from them.. I am more than disappointed at the Archdiocese of Dublin making the parish remove the rainbow flag for ‘protocol’ reasons… only the national and papal flags allowed ?… Will there be the same request to remove the Dublin GAA team flag from parishes ? Or Kerry or Armagh or any other team? we in the Dublin Church have just submitted suggestions to the Archbishops task force.. In our parish submission we highlighted the need to be more ‘Inclusive’ in order to be more relevant to the Catholics who are still supporting the church (a number that reduces by the day)… I hope the task force will listen and Act on such suggestions from our lay people and priests … if we want a future for our church than we need to listen to the gospel message of love which we profess with our voices but sometimes ignore in our hearts…
    To all our gay brothers and sisters who are offended and hurt by this unchristian action I apologise…
    Please know that you are loved by God and celebrated as his children.. you are unique and beautiful in the eyes of Jesus your friend and Brother… I pray for an end to bigotry and hate during this month of Pride… I wish every Blessing to Fr Adrian and the powerful men and women of Ballyfermot parish council and to all in the Gay Community… HAPPY PRIDE 🏳️‍🌈🇮🇪

  4. Paddy Ferry says:

    Very well said, John. I totally agree.

  5. Ger Hopkins says:

    I think we are all, all the time, praying for an end to bigotry and hate.
    Here’s a clip from the demonstration outside the Church of the Assumption yesterday.
    Sadly, it is hard to look at it and discern tolerance or respect.

    I wonder if Fr Adrian, who undoubtedly put up the flag for very good reasons, feels that, a week later, his action has resulted in increased feelings of tolerance and goodwill in Ballyfermot.

    To my mind the demo in Ballyfermot yesterday seems entirely counterproductive. They seem to be undermining themselves. When we see people being pressurised to fly a gay flag it completely undercuts the idea that every other flag is being flown out of genuine heartfelt support.

  6. Joe O'Leary says:

    The “truth doesn’t change” guy is infuriating in his prissy passive aggression.

    “Many clergy would have been implacably opposed to SF in times past” and many more played footsie with them. Does Ger Hopkins really see no reason for such implacable opposition?

    ” so, whatever the politics, it is good to see wounds healed and new expressions of solidarity with old enemies.” Really? Are we to allow the next generations of Irish people to learn in school that the PIRA campaign of murder, torture, intimidation, etc. etc. was a noble struggle?

  7. Ger Hopkins says:

    @Joe I was trying to make the point, although I obviously didn’t make it clearly, that it was strange to see people on this site making common cause with Sinn Fein by supporting this demonstration.

    I nearly feel like I’m pulling a fast one on you in relation to the man in the video who is being subjected to the “infuriating” prissiness and “passive aggression”. Your fury is being felt on behalf of Greg Kelly … ex Sinn Fein councillor and current SF public representative.

    The “truth doesn’t change” guy is actually a very nice fella to talk to and anyone who’d like to can meet him at the Rosary Rally they are holding this Saturday (10th July) at 4pm at the top of North Earl Street opposite the GPO.

  8. Joseph O'Leary says:
  9. Joe O'Leary says:

    Here’s another one from that obnoxious pastor: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tagZ1uNr5oE

    I did not realize the Ballyfermot belligerent was a Sinn Feiner. It figures. They love to play the gay lib card and their support is the kiss of death for lgbt folk.

  10. Paddy Ferry says:

    ” ..that obnoxious pastor.”

    Joe, I don’t understand why you would torture yourself watching that kind of nonsense. I only lasted 20 secs and I just had to disconnect. I am still having a bad reaction even to the 20 seconds.

  11. Adrian Egan says:

    For information purposes, for some reason the Rosary Rally group deliberately chose to come and pray the rosary, at the roundabout, directly opposite our church, on a day following the flying of the Irish and rainbow flags, even though the flags had been taken down at that stage. Why did they do that? They came with loudhailers, carrying flags on flagpoles which were way larger than any we had flown, with banners, statues, gentlemen wearing sashes, and protest placards. Between each decade of the rosary, they shouted aggressively, in the direction of the church, ‘Reparation! Reparation! Reparation!’. They reminded me of gatherings and groups that may have gathered on the original Good Friday shouting slogans. On a positive note, their rally inspired local youth groups, anti-racist groups, and other local sporting groups to rally the following Friday night, in much larger, and more colourful and joyful numbers to gather in support and solidarity for any efforts that are made to be welcoming and inclusive. They reflected the genuine hospitality and warmth of the Ballyfermot, Assumption community; genuine Gospel values. As for the ‘Ballyfermot belligerent’ – he lives here, is part of the local community, and contributes, like many locals, in very positive, practical, Christian ways, and on a voluntary basis, to the well being of our community. For all that happened, we’re a better and stronger community. Thanks to everyone who’ve helped, despite themselves, to spread the message of welcome and inclusion; ‘This is God’s house, your home. All are welcome in this place’.

  12. Ger Hopkins says:

    @Adrian. It’s really great to be able to hear from the person who was so directly involved. Thanks for taking the time.

    You have a much different perspective than me on both the Rosary Rally people and the counter demonstrators.

    I know one (young) person who contacted the Diocese about your flag the day it went up and I would guess there were more. She isn’t involved with the Rosary Rally people.
    The Rosary Rally was of course protesting the actual flying of the flag. Still an issue even if the flag had been taken down. All items in your description of the Rally apply each time they hold one. (With the exception of ‘Reparation’, which they do say, being ‘shouted aggressively’.)
    You can check this out at their next Rally on Nth Earl Street 4pm Sat Aug 7th.

    (The Rally they had there last Saturday had a crowd of about a hundred – I’d say a third of whom were passers-by who saw them and joined in. The double take moment was three teenage girls who stayed long enough to say a few Hail Marys and one of whom declared the whole thing to be ‘cool’. One, I thought the word ‘cool’ had gone out of fashion and two, I was mainly there because of how wonderfully uncool I felt it all to be.)

    Did you have a chance to speak to any of the young people at the Rosary Rally in Ballyfermot?

    You are obviously a Priest very much in touch with your parishioners. I’m sure they find that as rewarding as you do and they’re lucky to have you.

    Although you haven’t mentioned them I’m sure you’d accept that the principal organisers of the counter demo were PBP and SF and allied community groups. And De La Salle weren’t officially represented.
    I’m not sure which ‘Ballyfermot belligerent’ you mean
    This SF man, effing and blinding about the Church
    or this local resident picking up on and echoing the anti Catholicism of the counter demo

    It cannot really be denied that there is a strong streak of anti-Catholicism present among a cohort in the Irish gay community.
    Here, among other things, is the man who calls himself Panti Bliss making a mockery of the Mass.
    Here, from last week, a call for LGBT to take over Croagh Patrick during the Reek Pilgrimage and a ‘joke’ about the Church on top being a cocktail bar.
    While these might possibly be the voices of a minority, the fact that the community as a whole tolerates it – with many recognising ‘Panti Bliss’ as a spokesman – is something that they may deal with as they choose but we as a Church need to recognise.
    Somewhere between ‘it doesn’t happen’ and ‘we deserve it anyway’ we need to pause and think about this.

    I’m not alone in being worried about what is happening with the current ‘Hate speech’ agenda but, for those who are pushing the idea, wouldn’t all of the above qualify?

    Thanks again Adrian for engaging here.
    In an earlier post in this thread (#5) I wondered whether you felt that tolerance and goodwill had been increased in Ballyfermot by the flying of the gay flag. From the end of your post above it seems you feel they have. I have a hard time understanding that and I’d like to hear more.
    There seems to be a feeling abroad that the flying of a gay flag immediately awards everyone the badge of Tolerance. I’m sure you don’t share that feeling. There seems to be a lot of rancour towards the Church and her members in that video from the counter demo.

    I’ll finish with a second, more general, question. The Church has suffered throughout its history from allying itself with the secular powers of the day causing it to forget its own message. Are we not in danger of doing that here again?

    P.S. Thanks for opening this up for comments again. The “Compassion, Inclusion and Courage” post has a comment from Paddy Ferry referencing this post that might be copied over here.

  13. Paddy Ferry says:

    Compassion, Inclusion and Courage./ Ballyfermot Rosary Rally.
    Adrian, thanks for the update. All reasonable people, I am sure, greatly admire what you did.
    And, Joe, thanks for the link to Fr. John McNeill. I had never heard of him.
    Honesty and integrity in the priesthood on this matter could be a worthy future issue for debate on this site — despite what that bishop once said to you.
    Hope the weather is good in Donegal next week. It was dry all day on St. Swithin’s Day!

  14. Pat Savage says:

    Dear Father Egan,

    I have tried desperately to understand the logic you took in placing a pride flag within the grounds of the parish church. I have in fact prayed about in seeking the guidance of the Holy Spirit in trying to come to some sense of understanding. I certainly don’t doubt your sincerity or sincerely held view point but at that we must agree to disagree.

    I believe the placing of the flag was in no grounds of reaching out to those who feel vulnerable or neglected by their church. I truly believe that there was a second agenda. And that agenda is for a push on to recognise the “marriage of gay people”. I certainly do not beleive that the sacrament of marriage is between a man and man or a woman or a woman. Sadly I believe we have moved in our church now to believe in the church of self, in words it’s me, me, me.

    I certainly do not agree that the bringing of people to a roundabout to pray or to another group to protest helps anyone but the secular media and political leaders who just wish to use the easy mule to push their agenda.

    Finally, Father I wrote to your parish office to complain about the placing of the particular flag inside the church grounds and I won’t hide the fact that I made a formal complaint to the Diocese. I somewhat can’t get my head around the fact that a priest who lived in the north of this island saw and witnessed the destruction that the placing of symbols and flags can do to a community goes ahead with the actions you did in Ballyfermot.

    As I reminded the Archbishop in my letter, a parish priest can move on or return to their order but the struggling and divided faith community have to remain to pick up the pieces. I thought we had moved on from the day when the bishop swiped his crozier or the parish priest ‘pushed’ his agenda.

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