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Sunday, 7 January, 2001, 18:19 GMT
Priest banned from naked calendar

Father Olan Rynn covered himself with only a bible
A calendar featuring a naked priest has been shelved at the request of the Bishop of Galway, who branded the stunt "inappropriate".

Father Olan Rynn, 27, was pictured wearing only his clerical collar and covering his modesty with a bible for the calendar, to raise money for cancer and cerebral palsy research.

Although Fr Rynn spoke to his bishop before posing, Dr James McLoughlin said he was "surprised and dismayed" when he later discovered the curate would disrobe for the occasion.

Photo withdrawn

The bishop said in a statement: "I did not appreciate the type of calendar which was envisaged and, thinking it to be a straightforward fund-raising project, I gave Fr Rynn permission to participate in this venture.

It is clearly inappropriate for a priest to appear in such a calendar

Bishop of Galway
"On reading a report in a local newspaper, I was surprised and dismayed to discover what the actual content of the calendar was going to be.

"As it is clearly inappropriate for a priest to appear in such a calendar, I immediately approached the promoters of the project to discuss the matter with them.

"They have graciously agreed to withdraw the photograph of Fr Rynn from the calendar."

Apology to churchgoers

On Sunday an apology from the curate, currently away on holiday, was being read at all masses in his Salthill parish.

The calendar also features former Galway hurlers, singers and other celebrities in similarly semi-nude poses.

On reflection, I made an error of judgment, albeit with the best of intentions

Father Olan Rynn
Fr Rynn, said to be one of the most attractive of the models who took part, posed sitting in a leather chair with his legs crossed.

The bishop stressed that Fr Rynn was "a valued priest of the diocese and is in good standing with me".

In the statement, Fr Rynn apologised for any offence caused and conceded he had made a misjudgment in posing for the calendar, called Bare Shakers 2001.

"I wish to apologise to those who were offended," he said.

"On reflection, I made an error of judgment, albeit with the best of intentions - to help raise funds for research in the area of child cancer and cerebral palsy.

"I apologise for any hurt caused. I understand that my photo will not now appear in the calendar."

'A bit of craic'

Sunday afternoon drinkers at O'Leary's bar, opposite the Sacred Heart church where Fr Rynn works, were aware of the bishop's view of the matter. But few appeared to share his annoyance.

A barwoman said: "I can't imagine too many people being that bothered. It is just a bit of craic.

"I do not think anyone should get their backs up over it, especially as it was done for charity. Maybe some of the more devout types might be a bit offended."

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See also:

04 Nov 00 | UK
Stripping for a good cause
04 Apr 00 | Northern Ireland
Pin-up firemen cause offence
18 Sep 00 | Entertainment
Nude game show 'in good taste'
23 Jul 99 | UK
Different faces of nudism
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