Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Father Faux Pas Feakle

Bishop Willie Walsh of the diocese of Killaloe paid his visit to the parish of Feakle in East Clare the week before last to celebrate Mass and meet with the parishioners there in light of the recent outing of their parish priest.

Fr Michael Hogan, currently still resident in the parish house there, had caused the nations feathers to be ever so slightly ruffled when pictures of him rather scantily clad in just his underwear were published.

He had been trawling www.gaydar.ie website and seeking sexual friendship/relationship/interaction/favours and rather naively posted pictures of himself which were identified by certain persons in the locality.

One person in particular attempted to blackmail Fr Hogan for money just days before the paper printed the story.

Bishop Walsh was in Portugal at the time for a wedding and upon his return home, issued a statement and signalled his intention to visit the parish of Feakle, celebrate Mass and get some grounding on the matter,

The visit also entailed meeting with the Parish Council, the parishioners and Fr Hogan himself after which the Bishop returned to his palatial residence to consider the possibilities.

In just a matter of weeks, the appointments of clergy throughout most Irish dioceses are to be announced, and eyes will be on Killaloe moreso if nothing else, to see what happens in this particular regard to Fr Hogan.

Bishop Walsh will no doubt have to amalgamate more parishes - despite the resistance and intransigence of some more older clerics - and this will mean having to streamline mass times etc and Feakle being covered at present by irony of ironies Killanena-Flagmount priest Fr O'Brien and others may result in an amalgamation of parishes there.

The Diocese and Bishop Walsh were due to issue a further statement in relation to this matter but none has yet been forthcoming so we shall just have to wait until the parish appointments are announced.

It will be difficult to remove Fr Hogan as he is the parish priest but his own wish in this regard and as to whether he remains in the clerical state may very well be what determines his own fate and indeed that of the parish of Feakle.

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