Irish Catholic Church probes porn slideshow

The Roman Catholic Church in Ireland said Monday it's investigating how a priest offering a presentation to parents on their children's upcoming Confessions instead ended up showing them a computer slideshow of gay porn.

The leader of Ireland's 4 million Catholics, Cardinal Sean Brady, said the priest involved insists he didn't know how the explicit images got on the memory stick he intended to use for his Powerpoint presentation to families at St. Mary's Primary School in the Northern Ireland village of Pomeroy.

Brady said the priest, the Rev. Martin McVeigh, "has stated that he had no knowledge of the offending imagery'' and is helping an internal church investigation. McVeigh said other church officials used the memory stick and he wanted an investigation "so that what happened can be legitimately explained.'' "I don't know how it happened but I know what happened,'' McVeigh said.

That's not good enough for St. Mary's parents, who are demanding the priest's suspension from parish duties until the church determines who's responsible. They withdrew their children, mostly aged 9, from a planned Sunday service focused on the children's upcoming first Confessions and Communions, major sacraments of the church.

The parents described how, at a March 26 meeting at the school, McVeigh inserted the memory stick, clicked open a folder, and unleashed a cavalcade of sexually explicit pictures of naked men.

"He was visibly shaken and flustered. He gave no explanation or apology to the group and bolted out of the room,'' the parents said.

Two other school and church officials continued the Communion discussion, they said, "however the parents who viewed the pictures were horrified and distracted.'' They said an 8-year-old child also was present.

After about 20 minutes, they said, McVeigh rejoined the meeting ``and wrapped up by saying that the children get lots of money for their Holy Communion and should consider giving some of it to the church.''

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