A Kerry priest has questioned whether Catholics should continue to pay their TV licence fee after a “disturbing, inaccurate and disrespectful” storyline on RTÉ's.
And according to Fr Kevin McNamara, parish priest of the north Kerry parish of Moyvane, it is not the first time the long-running soap has inaccurately reflected Confession.
“It really downgraded the sacrament at a very sensitive time,” Fr McNamara said of the episode.
Fr McNamara said the Confession breached all kinds of protocols. It was made to seem it would take place in front of an altar, there was drink involved, and the priest donned a stole, to name some of the issues.
In the offending scenes, Ger Lynch (played by Tina Kellegher) had asked Fr Liam Plunkett (Phelim Drew) to hear her Confession, but went on to remind him of a night they had shared when in their teens many years previously, and made the shock revelation that he is the father of Ger's daughter, Hayley.
To add to "the hurt", the episode was broadcast on Divine Mercy Sunday, a feast which focuses on the sacrament of Confession, Fr McNamara said.
In a previous storyline some years ago, the same soap gave "a false and disturbing storyline" about a priest breaking the seal of Confession, he also said:
The weekend’s newsletter in Moyvane will carry a piece headlined “Fair City – Not Fair on Confession,” the priest said. In it, he will ask Catholics to reflect on the TV licence fee.
‘Why should Catholics continue to pay their TV Licence to a station who continually and deliberately shows a lack of knowledge and respect for the Catholic faith and for sacred doctrine?’ Fr McNamara asked.
Last night, RTÉ said that it had made contact with Fr Kevin to say it is sorry he was disappointed in the story, and that there was no intention to cause offence. It also pointed out that the Confession stopped short of going ahead.