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RTE priest Fr Michael Toomey speaks out on ‘weekly attacks’ on the priesthood

A well-known pastor has spoken out about the challenges of being a clergyman with “division” in the church and said that priests must accept that they will be “shamed, ridiculed, insulted, told to keep quiet” and “attacked”. ” Will be done.

R Michael Toomey, who celebrates the Mass on RTÉ News, said in his Sunday sermon that he was praying “that the many divisions and challenges within the Church may be resolved in a spirit of mutual respect and fraternity.”


In a candid and open personal statement, Father Tommy acknowledged that there are “many challenges” that come with being a priest.

The priest said, “And at times, I feel very uncomfortable and get really upset when I see discord, disrespect and challenges, both internal and external, which I think destroy our faith on many levels.” want to change and attack.”

“There seems to be a weekly assault on the priestly ministry…”

Father Tommy said that “sadly there are many examples of society and its approach to our faith when humor is used to disrespect us…”


The priest also said that there were “utterly inexcusable failures of the Church in dealing with historical abuse.”

He added, “There is still a lot to be done for the Church to make sure it is eradicated.

“Our security teams have done enormous work that many now turn to as examples of good and best practice. But like anything – a lot done – a lot more to be done.”


Fr Tommy said, however, that “there are times when, in our society, we need to make sure that our message is shared in a caring way – acknowledging that there are times when we are ashamed to spread the Gospel.” , will be ridiculed, humiliated, called cool, attacked.

“It is our belief – Christ himself went through the same thing 2000 years ago – that we priests and all Catholics too often go through similar situations.”

The priest of the Diocese of Waterford and Lismore expressed his frustration that a national newspaper journalist had approached him some years earlier and “attacked me as a priest, suggesting that I and all my brothers should be priests”. Priest as a celibate man.” ‘Profession’ which is a broken model.


He added: “She has no idea how much happiness most of us find devoting all our time to others. The old saying comes to mind: Don’t judge me until you’ve walked a mile in my shoes…”

It is clear that there have been cultural challenges within Catholicism for many years and this has recently reached a more extreme point, with many Catholics calling for a more liberal and accepting Church.

Fr Tommy said: “While there are many groups calling for radical change in the Church, there are others who would prefer to remain in its current model.”

In November last year, Father Sean Sheehy, a retired co-Kerry priest, was at the center of a national controversy after labeling sex between gay people as sinful and a societal approach to transgenderism “insane”.

This led to the Bishop of Kerry Ray Brown apologizing for the disparaging comments made by Father Sheehy in Listowel. While Father James Martin, an influential Irish-American Jesuit priest and advisor to the Vatican’s communications department, said LGBTQ+ people are welcome in the church.

Fr Tommy said: “I wish I could find a way to communicate my feelings about the priesthood to you, and especially to our young people. For me, the priesthood is the best possible life…”

He noted that “disagreements and arguments among believers,” “were evident since the church began.”

The priest said that some people may have a “very negative view of the priesthood” and questions why anyone would enter the priesthood, given that they are proud of their role.

“One of my main motivations for becoming a priest was to be able to celebrate Mass. Everything else takes a back seat,” he said.

“I knew there would be challenges… there would be major problems… past failures of some in the church that would affect us all…

“I will get things wrong. I may upset people or be misunderstood, for which I apologize. Most of the time, I hope, I get things right.”

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