St Michael's ; Athy

Discussion in 'Ireland' started by padraig, Oct 2, 2016.

  1. padraig

    padraig New Member


    A whiff of schism: when different Catholics hold radically different beliefs
    By Phil Lawler (bio - articles - email) | Sep 23, 2016

    At a Catholic parish in Athy, Ireland, a lesbian couple who resigned from parish ministry after entering a legal marriage has returned to active participation—and to loud applause. So now everyone is welcome in St. Michael’s parish, right?


    Anthony Murphy, the editor of Catholic Voice—the man who objected to the lesbian couple’s prominent role in parish life—has received so many threats that he is, on the advice of the local police, staying away from the parish. But then again, if you know the whole story, you may wonder why Murphy would ever want to attend Mass at St. Michael’s.

    The bitter dispute in this Irish parish is an extreme example of a sort of conflict that has become sadly familiar within Catholic communities. These conflicts erupted in the 1960s, peaked in the 1970s and 1980s, then subsided for a few decades. They have escalated again during the past three years, since the election of Pope Francis. They involve fundamental disagreements about what it means to be Catholic: debates between people with irreconcilable views, who sometimes suggest (and sometimes forthrightly proclaim) that their adversaries must be excluded from the Church. These conflicts pose a clear and present danger to the unity of the Catholic faith, and they will continue until the fundamental questions that are now in dispute have been resolved.

    Many good Catholics, motivated by the best of intentions, have sought to downplay these tensions, to avert a showdown. But the conciliatory approach cannot succeed when two sides are irreconcilable. A healthy Church cannot long accept a situation in which some members anathematize what other members endorse. (The worldwide Anglican communion, desperately fighting to avoid formal recognition of a schism that is already apparent to the world, illustrates my point.) Fundamental questions cannot be ignored and finessed and explained away indefinitely. Eventually the failure to answer a question is itself a sort of answer: a judgment that truth and integrity are less important than temporary peace and comfort. Such an answer is unworthy of Christians.

    Since the shocking case of St. Michael’s in Athy is the starting point for this essay, let me recount the story:

    Jacinta O’Donnell and Geraldine Flanagan were prominent members of the parish: both singing in the choir, one the choir director, the other an extraordinary minister of the Eucharist. They were also lesbian partners, united in a civil marriage ceremony. (Invitations to the wedding were passed out at choir practice.) When Anthony Murphy registered an objection, saying that their active role in parish ministry suggested an endorsement of their union, the pastor, Father Frank McEvoy, brushed away the objection. But Murphy’s protests made the couple uncomfortable enough so that they voluntarily stepped down… for a while.

    The reaction from parishioners—support for O’Donnell and Flanagan, hostility toward Murphy—brought the couple back into the sanctuary. In their triumphant return at a Saturday-evening Mass on September 10, they led the choir in singing “I Will Follow Him”—which is not a hymn but a 1960s pop song, memorably performed by Whoopi Goldberg and others in the film comedy Sister Act—and were rewarded with raucous, shouting applause, which the pastor judged “well deserved.” At the conclusion of the Mass the couple stood before the altar together, arms raised, fists clenched, to new applause. They had won; Anthony Murphy had lost.

    But not just Anthony Murphy.

    “Wherever applause breaks out in the liturgy because of some human achievement, it is a sure sign that the essence of the liturgy has totally disappeared,” wrote then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger in The Spirit of the Liturgy. It is impossible to believe that the “human achievement” prompting applause in this case was the couple’s musical performance. (If you listen to their rendition of the song, readily available on YouTube, you’ll see what I mean.) No; this Catholic parish was saluting the couple for their homosexual union. And Yes, the essence of the liturgy had totally disappeared.

    After that appalling display, one of the five priests who was on the altar at St. Michael’s said that he was sorry he had been there. Father Brendan Kealy explained that he had intended to celebrate the 50th anniversary of a fellow priest’s ordination:

    I was not present to promote or condone same-sex ‘marriage’ or what appeared to be the apparent triumphant and victorious return of our musical directors which seemed to become the focus of the evening. In my opinion, the Mass was hijacked to support the cause of same-sex ‘marriage’ which is clearly in breach of Catholic Church teachings…I felt Saturday evening’s principal purpose of the Mass was grossly lost and I regret my participation.
    Now what does it mean, when a Catholic priest regrets his participation in the holy Sacrifice of the Mass? Something is seriously wrong there, is it not? Father Kealy recognized that the Eucharistic liturgy had been exploited for political purposes—and for purposes that are incompatible with Catholic teaching, at that.

    Notice that the exploitation of the Mass for any reason in unacceptable. Even if the distraction takes the form of a magnificent musical performance, that is, as Cardinal Ratzinger argued, an abuse of the liturgy. The Mass is Christ’s Sacrifice and the liturgy belongs to Him; we have no right to turn it to our earthly purposes.

    But when those purposes are at odds with the Church’s teachings, the offense is even more grievous and the threat to Catholic unity more acute. American Catholics have been wrestling with this difficulty for years, as prominent Catholic politicians—from Kennedy and Cuomo through Pelosi and Kerry to Biden and Kaine—have continued to approach Communion despite their clear violation of Church precepts on key moral issues. Timid prelates tell us that they do not want to turn the Communion line into a political battleground, but that excuse misses the point. It already is a political battleground; the politicians had made it so, by refusing to acknowledge their break with the Church.

    The canon law of the Church stipulates that those who “obstinately persist in manifest grave sin”—such as those openly involved in illicit sexual unions, and those who publically support the legalized destruction of innocent human life—“are not to be admitted to holy Communion,” primarily because of the scandal involved. But there is another reason for this policy as well: a matter of that it means to be “in communion” with the Catholic Church.

    To say that we are “in communion” with other Catholics is to profess that we believe what they believe, we worship as they worship, we are members of the same faith and recognize each other as such. We are not “in communion” with our Protestant friends, no matter how much we might love and respect them; nor are they in communion with us, since they “protest” various aspects of our faith. Nor are we fully “in communion” with the Orthodox, even if their belief in the Eucharist matches our own.

    How can it be plausibly argued that Jacinta O’Donnell and Geraldine Flanagan—and, apparently, most of the parishioners at that Saturday-night travesty—share the same faith as Anthony Murphy and Father Brendan Kealy? It cannot. Murphy thought that the lesbian couple should be excluded from parish leadership; the couple’s supporters made it clear, on a sympathetic web site, that they rejoiced in having purged Murphy’s “right-wing” views from their community. Clearly these people cannot profess a common faith, until the major issues that separate them have somehow been resolved. They are not “in communion” with each other.

    Nor is their problem unique. More and more frequently, Catholics disagree on what it means to be in communion, what it means to be Catholics. Radically different beliefs are held, and dramatically different goals pursued, by different members within a parish, different parishes within a diocese, different dioceses within the universal Church. (To take just one prominent example, the indissoluble nature of the marriage bond apparently now means something different in Philadelphia and Phoenix from what it means in Argentina and Germany.) These divisions will continue to stretch the fabric of Catholicism, straining the seams, threatening a serious rift, until they are confronted. The unity of the faith requires unity of belief, and unity of belief requires clarity.

    Phil Lawler has been a Catholic journalist for more than 30 years. He has edited several Catholic magazines and written eight books. Founder of Catholic World News, he is the news director and lead analyst at See full bio.
    Heidi likes this.
  2. padraig

    padraig New Member

    Lesbian couple to retake church roles they were ‘forced’ to leave
    Athy activist who asked women to resign ‘will not be intimidated out of the parish’
    Fri, Sep 9, 2016, 15:51 Updated: Mon, Sep 12, 2016, 14:54
    Patsy McGarry

    Jacinta O’Donnell and Geraldine Flanagan married in July and stepped down from leadership positions in the St Michael’s Parish Church choirs in Athy due to what they described as pressure by Anthony Murphy. Image: Google Streetview

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    A married lesbian couple who felt pressured to stand down from choir and Minister of the Eucharist roles in the Catholic parish of Athy, Co Kildare, are to return to those roles at 6pm Mass there on Saturday evening.

    Jacinta O’Donnell and Geraldine Flanagan married last July and stepped down from leadership positions in the St Michael’s church choirs due to what they described as pressure by local Catholic activist and editor of the conservative Catholic Voice newspaper Anthony Murphy. He had also conveyed his views to parish priest Canon Frank McEvoy who, the couple said, had been supportive of them.

    On Friday afternoon Ms O’Donnell said they had been overwhelmed by local support for them to stay on and had decided to do so. Athy solicitor Frank Taaffe and local Athy Community College principal Richard Daly both expressed their support for the couple on Kildare FM radio this afternoon.

    Mr Murphy told The Irish Times he believed their decision to return was as a result of “a campaign of hate and threats of physical violence” against him which the Garda was investigating. He said gardaí had advised him “not to attend Sunday Mass this Sunday [at St Michael’s] for my own personal safety”.

    He and his family “will not be intimidated out of the parish or out of the town”. He accused the Catholic Church and Sinn Féin locally of having entered into “a bizarre alliance” against him.

    ‘Hateful stuff’
    Speaking to Kildare FM on Thursday, Ms O’Donnell said they had stepped down “when we were made aware of Anthony Murphy’s feelings and when we saw some of the very negative and I suppose hateful stuff, really, that was on his Facebook page etc and then when I got the personal text message from him.”

    She continued: “The only thing we tried to do is provide a music ministry . . . to enhance the Eucharist and we felt that bringing this trouble to the church door would be really futile and negate anything we were trying to do.” It was “and still is, a difficult decision that we came to. We are both very upset by it,” she said.

    Mr Murphy told The Irish Times that, because of their relationship, the couple had already resigned positions with the Lay Dominicans Ireland of which Ms Flanagan had been president and Ms O’Donnell was president of its Athy chapter. It was “a similar issue” in Athy parish, he felt.

    Both women were “in church leadership positions as Ministers of the Eucharist and ran both the children’s choir and the gospel choir”. They “had chosen to marry in a public way, issuing invitations to choir members,” he said.

    “The choir is on the altar, almost centre stage with the priest. It’s a very public contradiction [with church teaching banning same-sex marriage]. The church has to decide whether it believes what it teaches,” he said.

    He emphasised it was not a case of gay people not being welcome in the church. “Of course they are welcome in church and to sing in the choir, but they could not assume leadership roles because of the contradiction,” he said.

    He instanced what it could lead to; how a young girl on the choir had come home to her mother in Athy when she heard Ms Flanagan and Ms O’Donnell were married and announced she was going to marry her girlfriend too when she grew up.

    “If Tesco had a sign saying ‘don’t buy here, go to Dunnes’ or if someone at a Sinn Féin Ardfheis said ‘Vote Fine Gael’, they’d do something,” he said. The email he sent the couple on July 23rd, three days after they married, emphasised that he did not wish to judge them or fall out with them.

    It said, he recalled, that they “should have the decency to resign from the choirs and as Eucharistic minister, in the same way as you had the decency to resign from Lay Dominicans. Anything else would be a contradiction and hypocrisy.”

    ‘Bizarre alliance’
    He accused local Athy Sinn Féin councillor Thomas Redmond of launching “a campaign of social media terrorism” against him, “Sinn Féin who oppose almost everything the church stands for, supports the parish priest [in this case]. It’s a bizarre alliance,” he said.

    Speaking to The Irish Times Cllr Redmond described both women concerned as “extremely well known and pillars of the society in Kildare”. His Facebook page on their case had received “500 to 600 supporters”, he said.

    Neither Canon McEvoy or the Dublin Archdiocese, to which Athy parish belongs, would comment on the case. Ms O’Donnell and Ms Flanagan agreed to speak only to Kildare FM radio.

  3. garabandal

    garabandal Powers

  4. garabandal

    garabandal Powers

    Strangers in a strange land

    Published: 14 September 2016
    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
  5. padraig

    padraig New Member

    This Church reminds me of a scene out of a Dracula film. You watch someone , some poor fool, wander into a Castle a nest of Pure Evil. Old Count Dracula appears at the front door and invites them in. All the film goers let a collective scream out of them when the imbecile nods and crosses the door and the Count says, 'Enter freely...' (...its your own pure fault you dumb bell). Anyone who reads this and has anything at all to do with that cursed Parish, that home for laughing demons, should get clear of it as quickly as your legs away from it for it has gone over to the other side and is now a dwelling place of evil and abomination. Never look backwards even once, just run for cover. They are under the Judgement of God and will be brought to account for their wickedness in due season.

    When I hear of things like this I feel like howling at the moon. But this is a Sign of the times, first fulll, all out Apostasy and now the next Stinking Wind of Darkness is sweeping in from the black Sea of Hell which is a Satanic Descration of the Mass which exults Sexual Perverts at the very altar whilst silent priests look on, dumbly.

    If I had been in the parish I would have left it so quickly my feet would not touch the ground.

    2 Corinthians 6:17
    Therefore, "Come out from them and be separate, says the Lord. Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you."

    I was watching a film there called, 'In the Electric Mists' and it seems to me that the ghost of General Hood, ex Confederate Texas, has something wise to say on the subject. He reminds me that we are in a War.

    Pull up a chair and listen.

    Last edited: Oct 2, 2016
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  6. padraig

    padraig New Member

    Oh sorry, there is old Pharisee me being wicked and judgemental again. Where do I get this stuff from?

    Anyway here'an oppsoite, more cherrful story. Bishop James Conley of Lincoln Nebraska the Diocse with the most priests per Catholic in the enitre USA with 43 young men studying for the priesthood. Guess what ? He is entirely Orthodox and proud of it.

    Well, well, well.

    Last edited: Oct 2, 2016
  7. CrewDog

    CrewDog Guest

    You cannot argue or compromise with Radicals ... even misguided "Good" Radicals .... but having said that one could easily paraphrase Goldwater's quote below by replacing the word Liberty with: God's Word or God's People and Justice with Godliness or Salvation .... or you Pick-um!
    "Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice. And moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue."
    Senator Barry Goldwater
    The world is overrun with Radicals of the Evil Persuasion be they Islamists, Abortion/Gay "Rights" Activists, godless Anarchists/Socialists .... and the real scary part is ... in the USA & EU they are operating out of the same Political HQ Tent!:mad: ............... manifest Evil ... satan and his demonic horde ... and a God directed Storm of Cleansing and Salvation for His People is the only reasonable answer I can come up with................. Anybody have a better explanation!??

  8. fallen saint

    fallen saint Baby steps :)

    Evil is here...when right is wrong and wrong is right. But like the news, you pick one bad thing and then state it's a universal truth. There might be hundreds of bad churches. But there is also thousands of good ones.

    The gay community are activists that are actually planning many of these attacks. Sooner or later the church will have to respond. On that day the church will draw a line. Many of you seem ready to draw the line.

    When the church decides to draw the line...we will be at war against everyone. The government courts will get involved and the Catholic Church will be known as a hate group. Then the true church will need to hide and go underground. Priest will be arrested and churches will be confiscated.

    It is not that time yet.

    May Gods Will be Done
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2016
  9. garabandal

    garabandal Powers

    Bring it on. The sooner the better.

    A poisonous boil needs a lance.

    Persecution is better than confusion.
  10. padraig

    padraig New Member

    My concern would not simply be with this Parish itself, though there have been reports from all over the Cahtolic Church of similiar and worse manifestations of open evil. My concern would be that these evil can come right out in the open with, apparently no concern from rebke from the Local Bishop.

    I see a similiar thing in work. Some people do wrong things, like not working and engaging in fraud in their time keeping. Although the suthroities no about such things they d not act to enforce discipline, because, I sesne they have lost the will to enforce discipline. The reaosnw hy they lakc the will to enforce discipline is, I beleive in the first place that they no longer beleive in the force of discipline to effect change and also because they are in a place were they are either no longer able to distinuguish good from evil or in the power of good to fight evil.

    I suspect that this is the samee kind of thing in all such cases, or worse, that the local Bishop( are walking down the road hand in hand with this evil).
  11. CrewDog

    CrewDog Guest

    Well ... to "Dig-Up" Ol' Sir John and paraphrase his quote again:
    Apostasy doth not prosper. What is the reason? For if it doth, none dare call it apostasy!
    Considering what's going-on ... Worldwide .... substituting the word Evil for Apostasy would cover the spectrum of the horror that is unfolding before our eyes/ears .... to the point of numbness and disbelief!!

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  12. padraig

    padraig New Member

    Yes the mouth does fairly drop open and leave you gasping in horror. Evry time I hear of this stuff I think to myself, 'Oh well at least it can't get much wrose!' Then in a week or tow I hear of something ten times worse. There just seems to be no bottom to this depraved evil.

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