By Andrew Bushe
DUBLIN — A plan to feature a naked priest in a charity calendar has been scrapped after a request from the bishop of Galway, who described it as "inappropriate."
The calendar, "Bare Shakers 2001," was due to be launched on Jan. 18 to raise money for research into cancer and cerebral palsy in Galway.
Father Olan Rynn, 27, a curate in Salthill, was photographed wearing only a clerical collar with an open book covering his modesty.
The bishop, Dr. James McLoughlin, said he had not appreciated what was involved when he initially gave permission to Rynn.
He said he was "surprised and dismayed" when he later discovered the curate would disrobe for the occasion.
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An apology from Rynn to anyone he might have offended was read out at local masses on Sunday.
The calendar also features local businessmen, doctors, entertainers, sportsmen and other local celebrities in semi-nude poses.
One of the organizers, Aileen Dunleavy, said the calendar was tasteful and was done with the best of intentions.
"You only have to look at the caliber of people that are in the calendar, that speaks a thousand words," she said. "They wouldn’t go into anything that was distasteful. You would see more on beaches."
Dunleavy told RTE she had spoken to the bishop and all prints and negatives of the priest’s picture would be destroyed.
"I wouldn’t like it to go any further," she said. "I am very sorry what happened to Olan."
She denied reports that the book the priest was holding in the picture was a bible or prayer book.
The bishop stressed that Rynn was "a valued priest of the diocese and is in good standing with me."