Page last updated at 13:54 GMT, Monday, 16 November 2009

Priest resigns over relationship

Father McKenna
Father McKenna made the announcement during mass

A priest in Londonderry has resigned after telling a congregation that he has been involved in a relationship with a woman.

Father Sean McKenna made the announcement during mass at Holy Family Church in Ballymagroarty on Sunday.

Father Michael Canny, the spokesman for the Derry Diocese, said he and Bishop Hegarty were shocked to hear the news.

"We are deeply saddened because Father McKenna was a priest that he, and other colleagues, held in very high esteem."

Fr McKenna told parishioners he was leaving the priesthood because he had entered into a " loving, beautiful and life-giving relationship".

It is believed he is involved with a mother-of-two, who is separated from her husband.

Passionist priest Father Brian D'Arcy said the church needed to re-examine its celibacy rule.

"The mandatory or compulsory celibacy, I think, is not only a contradiction in terms but has outlived its use by about 1,000 years and it should be changed.

"In fact, the whole culture of society is actually saying that to us," Father D'Arcy added.

Print Sponsor

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Sign in

BBC navigation

Copyright © 2018 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific