Church cites rules as ‘atheist’ minister of state barred from sponsoring godson at Confirmation Mass

‘Sponsor must be practicing Catholic.’

Sligo News File.

A minister of state is said to have hit out at “pitiful tactics” of the Church after he was reportedly barred from sponsoring his godson at a Confirmation Mass.

The Irish Examiner reports Independent Alliance TD John Halligan as saying that parents of the godson told him a member of the clergy had informed them he could not stand as sponsor at the ceremony on Sunday, and that this was the decision of the Bishop of Waterford and Lismore.

When the parents contacted the bishop, they were advised that this was because Halligan was an atheist and owing to his views on abortion.

Halligan is reported as saying: “I find it appalling that my godson’s parents had to sit down with him, days before his Confirmation, and explain to the child that I was not permitted to be his sponsor.”

A statement issued by the Church says “a sponsor must be a confirmed and practicing Catholic.”

In 2015, Halligan launched the Dignity with Dying Bill aimed at introducing euthanasia or “assisted suicide” in Ireland.