|Ireland||PRIEST DEFIES SUPERIORS TO SEEK OFFICE|
A Catholic priest is defying canon law to stand for election to the European Parliament. While his superiors are against the candidacy, Fr Liam Sharkey maintains that he is not breaking canon law because the European Parliament has so little power.
Surrounded by campaign flyers at his house in Highwood, on the banks of Lough Arrow in Co Sligo, the 57-year-old priests admits to being disobedient, but insists it is in a good cause.
"The people in the West of Ireland are being ignored and forgotten. Farmers are being put out of business, small shops are closing down and I want to do something to stop it," he said.
His bishop, Dr Christopher Jones, said in a statement: "Father Sharkey neither has, nor could in any circumstances be granted, permission to pursue an office contrary to the canon law of the Church."
Parishioners have written to Father Sharkey to condemn him and warn him that he will be excommunicated unless he drops out of the campaign. But Father Sharkey ignores the protests and believes, no matter the outcome of the election held on Friday in the Irish Republic, that he will return to saying Mass in his rural parish.
Times 1:46pm 8/6/99