A PRIEST serving in Republican West Belfast has told how he would vote DUP ‘without hesitation’ ahead of the SDLP or Sinn Fein.
Father Paddy McCafferty said he was fully aware of the “baggage” that comes with Jeffrey Donaldson’s Unionist Party.
But the Ballymurphy-based priest insisted mainstream nationalists had ‘betrayed’ Catholics on the abortion issue.
He said, “I will stand with those who will defend human life.
The comments come after the 59-year-old was criticized for earlier urging his flock to vote for the pro-life Aontu party.
During his Easter Sunday sermon, he said that as Catholics it was wrong to support pro-abortion politicians.
Now the long-serving priest of Corpus Christi Church has doubled down on saying that all Mass goers should vote ‘pro-life’.
He said: “If it was a choice between Sinn Fein, SDLP and DUP, it would be DUP without a blink of an eye – without hesitation.
“I never thought I would be able to say this, ever, but this issue is so serious.
“I will stand with those who will defend human life.”
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He added: “I am aware of the baggage of the DUP, I can live with that. I know their history.
“But it is a matter of life and death. It is serious and evil and whoever is against the deliberate killing of children in the womb, I am with them.
From his pulpit at Easter, he accused both Sinn Fein and the SDLP of “promoting” abortion.
He said at the time that he had been a lifelong SDLP voter but had now withdrawn his support for the party.
“FEEL A RESPONSIBILITY”
Telling congregants he didn’t like “talking politics from the pulpit”, he said he felt “responsible as a priest” to “vote pro-life and pray for Aontu”.
He said the party opposed the “abortion evil promoted by parties like Sinn Fein and the SDLP and the rest of them…the Alliance…and all those other crews”.
He added: “I say to people: ‘Remember when you vote on the question of abortion, which is a serious evil and irreconcilable with the faith.’
“And those who promote it and those who support it – don’t give them a vote.”
The Catholic Church has distanced itself from Father McCafferty’s remarks saying they were “communicated in a personal capacity”.
A spokesperson said: “The Catholic Church does not support any political party.”