The Bishop of Galway has reacted to a priest being placed on indefinite leave by his diocese after posting videos on social media that featured innuendo and joke.
ne joke referenced 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 that 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 crude videos by Fr King on the social media platform TikTok, in which he appears topless and alludes to sex and alcohol.
One post features a clip of a woman using a blow dryer between her legs alongside a video of the priest, who asks her what she’s doing. “I’m heating up your dinner,” she replies, before Fr King says “I am hungry.”
He appears to be lying on a bed and not wearing a top in the video.
In another TikTok post, the curate excitedly declares that 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 a third 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.”
“In terms of providing cover for his ministry, priests from our local deanery area will arrange cover as best as they can, but subject to their limited resources, and I am very grateful to them for this.
“I fully understand that you feel hurt and let down at this time. I wish to assure you that Father King is receiving all the help and support that he requires. I ask that you join with me in praying for him,” Bishop Kelly said.