Belfast Telegraph

Priest stands over gay marriage remarks following Donegal massgoers' walkout

Father John Britto spoke in favour of a ‘No’ vote during the weekend sermon
Father John Britto spoke in favour of a ‘No’ vote during the weekend sermon

By Greg Harkin

A Catholic priest has insisted he won't apologise over comments he made in a sermon on gay marriage which sparked a walk-out by parishioners.

Fr John Britto, a Carmelite priest from southern India and now based in the Raphoe Diocese, criticised GAA footballer Éamon McGee for supporting the Yes campaign in the marriage rights referendum due to be held in May.

Some members of his congregation at St Mary's Star of the Sea church in Annagry, Co Donegal, walked out of Saturday night's Mass over his sermon.

Earlier today Raidio Na Gaeltachta reported that Fr Britto had refused to apologise for his opposition to gay marriage during a sermon at 10am Mass.

The station however did report that Fr Britto had apologised to Éamon McGee and the Donegal footballer subsequently pulled out of a planned interview on the Rónán Beo show.

This evening however the priest said he hadn't issued any apologies for opposing McGee and his views.

Fr Britto had faced criticism for his weekend sermon which was described as 'vociferous' by some members of the congregation.

Several of them walked out in protest. The parish is a neighbouring parish to Gaoth Dobhair where McGee plays his club football.

On Tuesday the priest said: "“I won’t talk to the media because the media will only twist what I have to say; I speak to the people in church and I only the speak the truth and the Word of God."

McGee had been due to speak this afternoon on the Rónán Beo Live radio show on Raidio Na Gaeltachta.

But presenter Rónán Mac Aodha Bhuí said the Donegal footballer had decided not to take part in the show so he could concentrate on preparing for Donegal's next game.

Last month McGee had backed the Yes campaign in the referendum saying if he was lucky enough to become a father he wouldn't want his child asking him why he hadn't voted in favour of marriage equality.

Mass goers in Donegal walk out after priest criticises GAA star for backing 'Yes' on same sex marriage 

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