“What I’m saying is not what I invented, it is not what I came up with, [it] is what God is saying. And the day you die, you will find out that is the truth. Our prayer for people is that you, it won’t be too late for people. But how will people know that God wants to forgive them if we don’t tell them? How will people who are lost be found if we as God’s people don’t call them and say look, God loves you, he has come to call sinners, but he wants you to have life and have it to the full,” he continued.
“That’s what he wants. He wants you to live life to the fullest … we can only live it through, with, and in his grace,” the priest said.
Bishop Browne’s statement regarding “the offending homilies” said that “the views expressed do not represent the Christian position.”
“The homily at a regular weekend parish Mass is not appropriate for such issues to be spoken of in such terms,” the bishop continued.
“The Gospel of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is a Gospel of love and ever proclaims the dignity of every human person. It calls on us all to ever have total respect for one another,” Browne added, saying: “This fundamental Christian teaching was beautifully proclaimed” in recent readings at Mass.
Speaking to Radio Kerry, Father Sheehy said the bishop had stopped him from saying Mass.
“I know myself what I said cannot be disproven by any honest-to-God Christian or Catholic teaching, and that’s the bottom line,” the priest said.
Irish newspapers were quick to report the priest’s controversial past support for a convicted sex offender.
Sheehy was a character witness for Daniel Foley, a former bouncer convicted of sexually assaulting a woman in the parking lot of a nightclub in 2008. He joined dozens of the accused’s supporters in court when the conviction was announced in December 2009 and shook the hand of the then 35-year-old Foley, and made disparaging comments concerning the woman’s status as a single mother, The Irish Examiner reported in 2013.
Then-bishop of Kerry Bill Murphy censured Sheehy, who resigned from his parish in Castlegregory soon after the verdict but continued to support Foley.
There are about 140,000 people living in the territory of the Diocese of Kerry, the vast majority of whom are Catholic.
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