Kildare FM reported that a gay couple, Jacinta O’Donnell and Geraldine Flanagan, have stepped down from the church choir at the Catholic parish church, St Michael’s, in Athy, Co. Kildare (top).
The station reported:
Jacinta O’Donnell and Geraldine Flanagan, who married in July, have stepped down from the church choir and other church music activities, due to what they say is the level of pressure placed upon them and the church by a local church activist Anthony Murphy [of newspaper Catholic Voice].
Mr Murphy is strongly opposed to gay people being active in the Catholic church in what he calls leadership roles.
Mr Murphy has also conveyed his views to parish priest Canon Frank McEvoy, whom the couple says has been supportive of them.
Kildare FM also reported that, a few days after Ms O’Donnell and Ms Flanagan got married, Mr Murphy sent Ms O’Donnell the following text:
Jacinta, I hope you will now have the decency to resign from the church choir and as a eucharistic minister, following the events of last Wednesday [their wedding day].
Further to this, in an interview with Shane Beatty, on Kildare FM, Jacinta O’Donnell told Mr Beatty:
“Well, we’ve been mulling over [the decision to leave] it all summer. 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.”
“Geraldine and I, you know, we, the only thing we’ve ever tried to do is provide a music ministry and the whole idea behind that was to enhance the eucharist and we felt that, bringing this trouble to the church door would be really futile and negate anything that we were trying to do.”
“So we thought about it long and hard and it was, and still is, a very difficult decision that we came to. We’re both very upset by it.”
“…we understood that there were going to be protests or some form of demonstrations, you know, to basically encourage us to leave, shall I say. And we felt that the ordinary people, that were just going along to their weekly mass, you know, didn’t need to be subjected to this.”
“And it was going to defeat the entire purpose of our whole reason to be there in the first place and I think we felt we had more respect for the house of God then to have that brought to its door or because of us and we felt that the easier thing to do would be just to walk away.”
Meanwhile, Mr Murphy told Mr Beatty:
“This is not about personalities. Well clearly, you know, the way the choir operates in Athy, Jacinta and Geraldine are positioned on the altar, in the sanctuary, you know, on a stage almost, sharing the stage with the parish priest.”
“You can not have a contradiction where the church teaches one thing and people who are right next to the tabernacle, the blessed sacrament, contradict all of that teaching.”