Images of a jumper with a pro-choice slogan draped over a holy altar in Dublin emerged this week, in a move described as “provocative” and “polarising”.
The altar belongs to the Mary Immaculate Church in Inchicore and is in an outdoor grotto. The black jumper has the ‘Repeal’ logo of the pro-choice campaign printed on it, and was placed purposefully on the sacred space.
Fr Gerry O’Connor, a member of the Association of Catholic Priests’ leadership team, said he was “irritated” when he saw the image, which was originally posted on Instagram, but was shared many times on Twitter.
“I think it’s a stunt aimed to provoke a bigger gulf between people who are trying to find the common good, or trying to reach a consensus around this complex issue,” he said.
Fr O’Connor said the act seemed more about offending rather than persuading people.
“I think it does very little to encourage a mature reflection, where people authentically listen to each other and try in their own conscience to make their own minds up about this issue.”
However he said he did not want to overstress the fact that it was an intrusion into a sacred space or a desecration, but definitely provocative. He added that acts like these “alienate people further”.