The priest who quit after falling in love with a nurse today spoke out for the first time to make it clear his partner is not pregnant.
Fr Sean McKenna — who resigned his Holy Orders over his relationship with separated mother-of-two Elaine Curran — broke his silence claiming the mounting speculation had caused “great distress” to them both.
The 51-year-old said the rumours that Ms Curran was pregnant or that she had lost custody of her children were “completely untrue”. And he called for his peace and privacy to be respected.
Fr McKenna announced his decision to leave the priesthood during Mass at the Holy Family Church in Ballymagroarty, Londonderry last Saturday.
He received a standing ovation from his congregation and has subsequently been well-supported by the community.
Speaking about his relationship with Ms Curran to the Derry Journal, Fr McKenna said: “She and I have been friends for many years.
However, our relationship began a long time after the break-up of her marriage. At no time did I counsel her. She is not pregnant. There have also been rumours that she does not have custody of her children. This, too, is untrue.
“I also gather that there is still much further speculation going on about matters which are very personal and which relate to that relationship. It was not my intention to comment on such private, personal matters. However, it seems likely there will be further invasive treatment of these subjects in the press this coming Sunday.”
Mr McKenna said he made his announcement at the church in Ballymagroarty last weekend because he wanted to “honestly inform the people” of what he said was a “wonderful parish”.
He said: “On that occasion I received overwhelming and generous support, understanding and good wishes from the people present and from many others throughout the city and beyond. I greatly appreciate this” he said.
“Since that time there has been extensive media interest and this has taken place with an intensity that I never expected and has continued for much longer than anticipated. The nature of some of the detailed written material about this has caused great distress.”
Stating that he would be making no further statements, Fr McKenna said: “I regret the painful intrusion this has caused in people’s lives and I would hope they would understand and accept that this was the last thing I would have wanted.”