A priest has been placed on indefinite leave by his diocese after posting videos on social media that featured innuendo and joked about playing songs like 'Highway to Hell' at a funeral Mass.
In a statement to be read to parishioners in Gort, Co Galway, this weekend, Bishop Brendan Kelly refers to “upsetting information” regarding 44-year-old curate Fr Michael King.
He confirms the priest is “on indefinite leave from all duties” and will be absent from the parish “for the foreseeable future”.
“I fully understand that you feel hurt and let down at this time,” adds Bishop Kelly.
The move follows the publication of a number of videos by Fr King on the social media platform TikTok, in which he appears topless and alludes to sex and alcohol.
In one TikTok post, the curate excitedly declares it’s “thirsty Thursday” and “half past pub time” before saying “Glug, glug, glug, glug, glug… beer. Nice.”
Fr King laughs and lip-syncs in another video captioned “Me in charge of a funeral playlist”, which features clips of songs such as Queen’s Another One Bites the Dust, the BeeGee’s Staying Alive, and the dance hit You’ll Never See Me Again.
He also featured on a post by another TikTok user, in which he tells her: “Pineapple does not go on pizza, bitch, and carrots do not go into cakes, okay?”
Fr King, who is from Renmore in Galway, was ordained in 2016 and had been a curate for the parish of Gort in the south of the county before being placed on indefinite leave.
Last August, he was also appointed as administrator of Kilbeacanty/Peterswell parish and priest-in-charge in Beagh.
Prior to becoming a priest, Fr King had worked as a barman in a number of nightclubs in Galway City and was an amateur actor, featuring in a number of theatre productions.
In his message to parishioners this weekend, bishop of Galway, Kilmacduagh and Kilfenora Brendan Kelly will say: “Many of you have become aware over the past few days of upsetting information concerning Fr Michael King.
“I wish to advise you that, from Monday last, Fr King is on indefinite leave from all duties and will be absent from the parish for the foreseeable future.”
The diocese communications office had not responded to a request for additional comment at the time of writing.