On Sunday, November 6, the LGBTQ+ community in Listowel gathered in front of St Mary’s Church to protest the homophobic and transphobic remarks made by Kerry priest Fr Sean Sheehy.
During the peaceful protest, LGBTQ+ campaigners placed Pride flags and flowers in front of the same Listowel church where last week Fr Sean Sheehy delivered a controversial sermon in which he claimed that same-sex activity is “mortal sin” and also condemned abortion, contraception and “Transgenderism”.
His rant caused national outrage, especially after he was invited to speak on national radio and doubled down on his anti-LGBTQ+ remarks by saying that politicians who endorse the rights of the queer community would “absolutely” go to hell.
The community in Listowel responded to his hateful messages with a “gathering of love” that took place at the same time as the main Sunday mass. Inside the church, local priest Declan O’Connor gave an apology for Fr Sheeny’s sermon and his following remarks.
“People were stopping as they went into Mass and giving us flowers,” said Dzana Raszewska, one of the campaigners, to the Irish Independent. “That was beautiful. It made me cry to know most people supported us.”
Speaking about Fr Sheehy’s sermon, they said: “His view is that someone like me shouldn’t be allowed to pray anymore because of my sexual orientation”.
“That’s not okay. What about those of us who love God and want to belong to a faith? Where do we go to speak of our faith? Whether you are Catholic or Buddhist, God loves us all.” they continued, “That’s why we responded to Fr Sheehy’s words with love.”
Sabrina Crotty from Kingdom Pride was also present at the gathering and said: “It was lovely to see families turn out today”.
“The important thing was that not everyone who turned out to the demo was queer.” she added, “Everyone there had a queer family member or friend. And they were showing solidarity for those people.”
Despite the uproar that his statements have caused, Fr. Sheehy is still trying to spread his hateful views. On Saturday afternoon, he led a prayer service in Tralee, where he said that he will continue to celebrate mass at his own home in a personal capacity for anyone who would like to listen to what he has to say. The priest is not permitted to celebrate mass in any church in Kerry after a direction from Kerry Bishop Ray Browne.
Today in #listowel pic.twitter.com/r0BidMemoG
— Kingdom Pride in Kerry (@TheKingdomPride) November 6, 2022
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