Father P.J. Hughes is the parish priest of Our Lady of Lourdes Church in Mullahoran, a township in rural County Cavan, Ireland. He recently earned the dubious distinction of becoming the first Irish priest for centuries to find himself on the wrong side of the law for saying Mass in public.
All acts of public worship are currently banned in Ireland under a law imposing one of the strictest COVID-19 lockdowns in the world. The Garda—the Irish police force—has fined Fr. Hughes €500, and he refuses to pay it. He now faces possible imprisonment. A Catholic priest has not been jailed for saying Mass in the country since the worst days of the Penal Laws several hundred years ago, when Britain suppressed the Catholic faith in Ireland.