Trial of 'Satanic Islam' sermon pastor McConnell a travesty and a waste of money, says priest
A priest has called the prosecution of Pastor James McConnell an "absurd waste of money".
The north Belfast pastor's case is set for its first hearing on August 6. He says he will go to jail, rather than retract his comments.
However, Crossgar Catholic parish priest Patrick McCafferty strongly criticised the decision of the Public Prosecution Service to bring the case to court, and now questions why it is happening.
"I think it is an absolute absurdity to pursue Pastor McConnell, and a complete waste of resources. It is crazy," he said."I would not share the pastor's views. In fact he has said worse things about the Catholic Church previously - nothing was done about that.
"This whole thing is a travesty. I really question this whole matter."
Fr McCafferty asked if all sermons given by clerics across the country will now be monitored.
"Pastor McConnell has very strong views, but are they going to go now every Sunday to every church, every gospel hall and monitor over things?" he asked.
"Why single him out and why this particular issue? It is an absolute absurdity, and to be pursuing a 78-year-old in this way is reprehensible."
The priest asked how the cost of the case could be justified in the face of cuts at Stormont.
"We are told that there is so little money that the grass beside the road can't be cut, that we may not even get grit in the winter, yet this can go ahead. It is totally over the top. They should leave Pastor McConnell in peace."