Tuesday, 19th June 2018
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Bishop's 'petty' decision criticised by Halligan

Minister for State John Halligan, T.D. has criticised as "petty" the decision of the Bishop of Waterford and Lismore stopping him being a sponsor of his godson at Confirmation Mass recently held in Waterford City.

The parents of the boy were told of the decision on Wednesday last - the day before Minister Halligan hosted a Pro Choice meeting in Waterford attended by over 300 people and addressed by speakers, Dr. Peter Boylan, Tara Flynn and Colm O'Gorman. The Minister also previously clashed with Bishop Cullinan's views on the HPV vaccine.

Speaking to Waterford Today, on Monday evening Minister Halligan said he was contacted by the parents of his Godson last Thursday to tell him that they had been approached by a member of the clergy who said that the Minister could not stand as a Sponsor at the ceremony on Sunday last and that this was the view of the Bishop. They were told this was because Minister Halligan was an atheist and because of his views on abortion.

Minister Halligan accepts that as an Atheist he did not meet the criteria set down by the Catholic Church that a Confirmation sponsor must be a practising Catholic.

"The reason I had said yes to my godson was because of the close bond I have with him and regardless of my own beliefs I would have liked to attend the Mass with him on the day. And I sincerely doubt that I am the only person asked to sponsor a Confirmation child who is not a practising Catholic. I know for a fact that other sponsors were not approached to query their suitability to the role, or their views on the 8th Amendment."

He contrasted his treatment by the Catholic Church in Waterford to a recent Mass he attended in Sao Paul, Brazil where he was asked by the Holy Ghost priest saying the Mass to give a homily from the pulpit and was very pleased to accede to the request.

"I find it appalling that my godson's parents had to sit down with him days before his Confirmation and explain to the child that I was not permitted to be his Sponsor. It makes me wonder how threatened the Catholic Church is feeling about the result of Friday's referendum, if they are prepared to resort to this carry on", concluded the Minister.

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