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Priest apologizes for unholy language on Facebook

Friday - 5/25/2012, 9:24am  ET

ROBERT BARR
Associated Press

LONDON (AP) - A British priest has apologized for some unholy language on his Facebook page, his bishop says.

Canon Paul Shackerley, Vicar of the Minster Church of St. George in Doncaster in northern England, raised eyebrows by using the f--- word and remarking that "alas, I have religion tomorrow" in some Saturday evening postings.

Peter Burrows, the bishop of Doncaster, met with Shackerley on Friday and later said the priest regretted the inappropriate language and had removed it.

"Whilst meant in a jocular sense, he recognizes that some of the language was unfitting. He has apologized unreservedly," Burrows said in a statement posted on the diocesan website. "I have received Paul's letter of apology and have been assured that this will not happen again."

Stories of priestly waywardness are a favorite subject of British newspapers, and the comments drew attention far and wide. With facial piercings and one piercing in his tongue, Shackerley cuts an unconventional figure.

Church officials were alerted to his Facebook comments by an anonymous letter.

In the first of his Saturday night musings, Shackerley said: "I think I will put my feet up. I've done f--- all today other than jazz lesson and visit a friend. I hear the fizz of tonic in my gin beckoning.

"Alas, I have religion tomorrow. At least I'm not preaching this week."

And oh dear! "Sin is such fun," he said.

It was perhaps less alarming than Shackerley's comment about a photo of himself with a snowman.

"Forgive my sin of frivolity. Sin is such fun! But I haven't been having an inappropriate relationship with Snowy, who can longer be called a `snowman' in the name of political correctness," Shackerley wrote.

The chatty priest also ruminated last month about the dangers of sites such as Facebook.

"I have known employees (to) receive disciplinary and dismissal notices for inappropriate postings," he wrote.


(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)