An Irish Catholic bishop punished a priest this month for a homily condemning the “rampant” sins of abortion and homosexuality.
According to the Catholic News Agency, Bishop Ray Browne of Kerry apologized for the priest’s sermon in a statement Nov. 1, saying the message caused “deep upset and hurt” and did not reflect “the Gospel of love.”
In the homily, Father Seán Sheehy spoke about sin as well as God’s mercy and the need for people to repent. Sheehy gave the message at St. Mary’s Church in Listowel, Ireland, where he was filling in; he is retired, according to the report.
“You rarely hear about sin, but it’s rampant,” Sheehy told the congregation. “We see it in the promotion of abortion. We see it, for example, in this lunatic approach of transgenderism.”
Sheehy said sins like abortion and homosexuality have become acceptable, and he prays that people will repent before it is too late.
“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 said.
“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,” Sheehy continued.
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The priest acknowledged that many people would not like what he had to say, but he reminded them that his message is God’s truth, not his own personal thoughts.
“God is also telling you and me today, look, you have a responsibility to seek out those who are lost. You have a responsibility to call people to an awareness of the fact that sin is destructive, sin is detrimental, and sin will lead us to hell,” he said.
A video of his sermon went viral on social media, prompting outrage from the left.
In response, Bishop Browne issued a statement saying Sheehy’s “offending homilies … do not represent the Christian position,” CNA reports.
“The homily at a regular weekend parish Mass is not appropriate for such issues to be spoken of in such terms,” the bishop said. “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.”
In an interview afterward, Sheehy accused the bishop of “muzzling the truth in order to appease people.” He told Irish news outlets that the bishop also prohibited him from saying Mass in the future.
The incident is the latest cause for concern about church leaders watering down Christian teachings about the value of every human life and the evil of abortion. Recently, Pope Francis also attracted outrage for appointing several abortion activists to the Pontifical Academy for Life, a church institution dedicated to defending the sanctity of human life.