Saturday, September 10, 2016

Gay couple resign from church choir over text from religious activist

St Michael’s church in Athy, Co KildareA gay couple have resigned from leading a church choir after claims they came under intense pressure from a religious activist.

Married couple Jacinta O'Donnell and Geraldine Flanagan have been involved in the St Michael's church choir in Athy, Co Kildare, for a number of years. 

However, the women claim that local church activist Anthony Murphy called for them to resign from their position in the church because they "contradict" the teachings of the Catholic Church. 

The bizarre story has engulfed social media after it unfolded on Kildare FM yesterday. 

The couple married in July and have been heavily involved in the adult and children's choir at the church.

But they have now left after claims that Mr Murphy sent a text calling for them to resign. 

The Kildare women say that although they have not been asked to resign by the clergy, they feared demonstrations would be held.

"We felt the ordinary people who were just going along to their weekly mass didn't need to be subjected to this," Jacinta told her local radio station yesterday. 

"We thought we were going to slip away quietly in the background, that was our intention, as hurtful as it may have been.

"Geraldine and I have only wanted to provide a music ministry to enhance the Eucharist and bringing this trouble to the church door would be futile.

"We met with the adult choir because we felt they needed to be told the truth of the situation." 

Church activist Mr Murphy said that he didn't ask the couple to resign, but that he sent a text to Jacinta days after the couple's wedding, to "do the right thing". 

"The way the choir operates in Athy, Jacinta and Geraldine are positioned on the altar in the sanctuary, on a stage almost, sharing the stage with the parish priest," said Mr Murphy.

"You cannot have a contradiction where the church teaches one thing, and people ... right next to the Blessed Sacrament, contradict all of that teaching.

"Nobody is trying to exclude Jacinta or Geraldine from the church. I'm certainly not doing that. This is about leadership positions within the church." 

Parish priest Fr Frank McEvoy told KFM that he was supportive of the women, has spoken to them personally, and would not be commenting on the issue. 

The Irish Independent was unable to contact Fr McEvoy last night.


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