Parish priests condemn Minister’s remarks at Kennedy Summer School
MINISTER ZAPPONE CALLED FOR A REPEAL OF THE EIGHTH AMENDMENT
A NEW ROSS priest strongly denounced Children’s Minister Katherine Zappone at masses on Friday and Sunday following her address at the Kennedy Summer School last Thursday.
Minister Zappone gave an impassioned plea for the Government to move on the referendum for repealing the 8th amendment, at the official opening of the Kennedy Summer School at St Michael’s Theatre on Thursday night.
Ms Zappone said: ‘As long as the Constitution treats a foetus as equal to a woman, her autonomy can be nothing more than a myth.’
At his sermon on Friday morning and again on Sunday, New Ross PP Fr Roger O’Neill spoke about the issue.
On Friday he said: ‘And it almost commands that I speak about it because there is an irony that the Minister for Children would be promoting the murder of children in the womb. Also that such an utterance would take place in a building where the holy sacrifice of Mass was offered for one hundred years; a building that is still a church, was a church, but is still owned by the parish. So let us today do our little bit to try to counteract this in what way we can. We will pray the official Bishop Conference Prayer for the child in the womb. the prayer entitled Choose Life.’
During the sermon, one person was heard to exclaim ‘Oh my God’ in shock. Speaking to this newspaper on Monday Fr O’Neill said the 8th Amendment guarantess the equality of the life of the child in the womb.
He said he received a very positive reaction from parishoners after the masses.
‘The teaching of the church is that we don’t support abortion. We regard the dignity of human life from conception to death and we pray the official Bishop Conference Prayer.’
Fr O’Neill said many New Ross parishoners were upset about what Minister Zappone had to say.
He said he was not in attendance at the theatre on Thursday night as he had another engagement. but he did read the transcript.
The building is leased to St Michael’s Theatre, he said, adding that he does not know if having Minister Zappone in attendance would affect the lease ‘going forward’.
‘People were unhappy what what she had to say. It’s not about her; it’s more about what she said. Nobody would have any problem with anyone coming to speak at the theatre. It’s what she said on the 8th Amendment.’
Reacting to a post on Facebook by New Ross Municipal District council Cathaoirleach Cllr Willie Fitzharris praising the success of the summer school, St Leonards PP Fr Michael Doyle said: ‘For the promotion of the death of children. Yes, that is very cultural. The culture of death. It reminds one of a gathering of Nazis self congratulating themselves.’
Cllr Fitzharris said in his post in the early hours of Sunday morning: ‘The Kennedy Summer School 2017 closed last evening and I can’t wait until next year. The event has contributed enormously to the culture and economic benefit of New Ross. Our opening was by Katherine Zappone, the Minister for Children & Youth Affairs and our closing was by Ryan Tubridy but there was a mountain of talent and culture in between. The Kennedy Summer School has become the biggest arts and cultural event in the Wexford arts calendar and I want to congratulate all involved.’
Fr Doyle replied later in the morning on his Facebook page.
Minister for Children Katherine Zappone opening the Kennedy Summer School. Fr Roger O’Neill. Fr Michael Doyle.