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Kilkenny priest urged to stop hunt blessings
11 June 2014

The Irish Council Against Blood Sports is calling on a County Kilkenny priest to end the practice of hunt blessings. The call comes after the emergence of photographs showing Fr Nicholas Flavin of Dunnamaggin parish performing a blessing of foxhunters on the grounds of a church.

The images, taken next to St Eoghan's Church in Kilmoganny last November, show the parish priest standing next to a pack of hounds and sprinkling holy water on mounted members of the Kilmoganny Hunt.

Visit this Facebook Page to see an image of Fr Flavin blessing the hunt.

In a letter to Fr Flavin, the Irish Council Against Blood Sports pointed out that blessing hunts is contrary to a 2003 announcement by the Irish Bishops Conference that the bishops "would not condone the practice of priests blessing foxhunts".

In foxhunting, foxes are chased to exhaustion and ripped apart by packs of hounds. Hunt terriers are sent after foxes who desperately try to escape underground, leading to horrific injuries for both foxes and dogs.

"Given the cruelty to animals involved in Ireland's appalling foxhunting, hunt blessing are inappropriate in the context of paragraph 2416 of the Catholic Catechism," we told Fr Flavin, quoting the paragraph in question which states: "Animals are God's creatures. He surrounds them with his providential care. By their mere existence, they bless him and give him glory. Thus men owe them kindness. We should recall the gentleness with which saints like St Francis of Assisi or St Philip Neri treated animals." Also quoted to Fr Flavin was paragraph 2418 of the Catechism which outlines that "it is contrary to human dignity to cause animals to suffer and die needlessly."

ICABS also expressed disappointment to Fr Flavin on the inclusion of hunting groups in his Christmas 2013 parish letter. Welcoming newcomers to the parish, he states in the letter: "It is hoped that you will integrate fully into the parish community and take an active part within the parish in whatever activity/activities attract you most."


Ask Fr Flavin to denounce foxhunting, exclude hunting from future parish letters and announce an end to hunt blessings.

Fr Nicholas Flavin
Parochial House
Co Kilkenny
Tel: 056-7728173
Mobile: 087-2257498

Scan to send a text message to Fr Flavin.

Ask the Bishop of Ossory, Seamus Freeman to act to stop hunt blessings.

Seamus Freeman, SAC
Bishop of Ossory
Ossory Diocesan Office,
James's Street,
Tel: 056-7762448

Urge the President of the Irish Catholic Bishops' Conference to act to stop hunt blessings.

Cardinal Sean Brady
Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland
President, Irish Catholic Bishops' Conference
Ara Coeli, Armagh BT61 7QY
Tel: +44 (0)28 3752 2045
Tel: 048-3752 2045 (from the Republic)

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Send a copy of your correspondence to the Papal Nuncio

His Excellency The Most Rev Charles John Brown
Apostolic Nuncio
The Apostolic Nunciature
183 Navan Road
Dublin 7
Tel: +353 (0)1 838 0577
Fax: +353(0)1 838 0276

Read more about the clergy and bloodsports on our Clergy out of blood sports campaign page

Irish Bishops Statement on Blood Sports

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