A priest in Ireland removed a clothing donation bank from his church's property because the charity that runs it did not publically speak out against abortion in the lead up to last week's referendum vote.
Father Patrick O'Connor, the recently appointed parish priest at St. Peter & Paul's in Dunboyne, Co Meath, has angered local residents after demanding that the St. Vincent de Paul Society remove its clothing donation bin from the church's parking lot.
His rationale? The charity did not publically take a "No" stand in Ireland's abortion referendum.
According to the Irish Independent, the clothing banks are a significant source of income for the charity and the removal cost the local branch €200 ($235).
So the Catholic Church in Dunboyne have decided to punish the local St. Vincent de Paul and remove their clothing bank from the church carpark, because the VDP didn't take a strong stance (the church's stance) in the referendum. It's great to watch the church dig their own grave. pic.twitter.com/HPRzJtukSV— Seán Keany (@TheNewSeanKeany) May 30, 2018
Darren Whelan, a local man who first drew attention to the box's removal on Facebook, voiced his grave disappointment to the paper:
"Now more than ever we have a homelessness crisis in Ireland. SVP [St. Vincent de Paul] support some of the most vulnerable in society.
"To ask them, at local level, to remove their clothes bank from parish property, shows the continued ignorance of the world around the Catholic Church at parish level."
Fr. O'Connor acknowledged that he had made the demand but said that he would allow the charity to reinstate the donation box now that the referendum is over.
"During the referendum campaign, I was disappointed at the lack of a pro-life statement from the Society of St Vincent de Paul. Now that the campaign is over I have contacted our local SVP society to reinstate the clothes bank and I am happy to work closely with the society in the parish."
Earlier this week, two Northern Ireland priests said Catholics who voted Yes in the Eighth Amendment abortion referendum, which was won by 66.4%, should not be allowed to marry in a Catholic Church.
And the Bishop of Elphin said that all Catholics who voted Yes in the abortion referendum should go to church and confess their sins.