Friday, June 07, 2024

Cork priest denies telling parish how to vote on immigration in local elections during Sunday Mass

A Cork priest who said "a Christian must bring his Christianity into the ballot box with him" has denied that he told his congregation how they should vote in the upcoming local and European elections after speaking about running candidates during Mass on Sunday.

Father Gabriel Burke, parish priest of the Parish of Blarney, Whitechurch, Waterloo & Rathpeacon, has said he did not encourage people to vote in a certain way, and said he told the congregation about who he was not voting for and why he, 'as a Catholic,' was personally against certain candidates' values including views on immigration and abortion.

He has denied allegations that he told parishioners at St Patrick's to vote for certain candidates but has said did encourage voters against mainstream political parties who 'support abortion,' and criticised the government's immigration policies.

"A Christian must bring his Christianity into the ballot box with him," Fr Gabriel said today, speaking on the Neil Prendeville show on RedFm. He added that Catholics "should not vote for political parties that are in disagreement with the Catholic Church, do you not see that that's a kind of spiritual schizophrenia?"

During his sermon on Sunday, he mentioned two candidates by name and said he "explained why I'm voting the way I am." He claims he told parishioners about two candidates he 'knows personally' but said he wouldn't be voting for them because they are members of mainstream political parties. He said he did not name candidates to vote for but did encourage people to vote for candidates who are "likely to be pro-life."

"The two people I named at Mass, I said I wouldn't be voting for because they were members of political parties, even though I knew them personally," he said today,

He added that he "put in the context" that "we all know people that are going up for election, we have people who are our neighbours and that but I said 'we've got to think beyond that'."

"Once you're in a political party, that's when things change," he said, and said he stands by the comments he made at Mass.

"No Catholic could ever even think of voting Sinn Fein," he said. He also added that giving advice on 'considering values' when voting was his "job as a priest."