Priest urges Catholics not to attend Holy Thursday Mass

Misogyny very strong in the Church despite the PR words involved, says Fr Kevin Hegarty

A Catholic priest has urged fellow clergy and members of the faithful not to take part in the Holy Thursday Chrism Mass because it is a celebration of the male-only priesthood.

He has urged the action also in solidarity with recent remarks in Rome by former president Mary McAleese.

"It is a suggestion, not a campaign," said Fr Kevin Hegarty, co pastor at Carne, Belmullet Co Mayo.

On Holy Thursday the institution of the Eucharist at the Last Supper is celebrtated in Cathedrals around the world and bishops and priests also celebrate the beginnings of priesthood.


Last week, in a keynote address at a Voices of Faith conference in Rome to mark International Women's Day, Mary McAleese described Vatican opposition to women priests as "misogynist codology dressed up as theology" and criticised "the patronising platitudes that women have heard from a succession of popes and cardinals".

The Catholic Church, she said, "has long since been a primary global carrier of the virus of misogyny," adding that "it has never sought a cure though a cure is freely available. Its name is 'equality."

Fr Hegarty said he will not be attending the Killala diocese Chrism Mass at St Muredach's Cathedral in Ballina, Co Mayo.

What the former president said in Rome about misogyny in the Church “was totally on the button,” Fr Hegarty said.

“Misogyny is very strong in the Church, despite all the PR words involved. Mary McAleese is utterly right,” he said.

He emphasised however that he was not calling for a boycott of Chrism Masses on Holy Thursday. “There’s something intimidatory about that word ‘boycott’,” he said.

On Wednesday, Fr Hegarty said the first anniversary Mass at St Brendan's Church, Tirrane, not far from Blacksod lighthouse in Mayo for the Rescue 116 air crew Capt Dara Fitzpatrick, Capt Mark Duffy, Paul Ormsby and Ciarán Smith.

Patsy McGarry

Patsy McGarry

Patsy McGarry is Religious Affairs Correspondent of The Irish Times