Melanie Finn Irish Independent

Dancing with the Stars’ priest Fr Ray Kelly has complained to gardaí after receiving an abusive phone call at his parochial house.

It comes after the singing cleric (66) received a slew of cards and letters at his home in Oldcastle, Co Meath, following his appearance on the RTÉ show.

While many have been surprised by his level of support from the voting public, he has also been sent lots of negative messages calling on him to step down from the show.

“One particular card said: ‘Remember what happened to John the Baptist when a woman danced for him? He was beheaded’,” said Fr Kelly.

“There was one [card] last week that came in: ‘Fr Ray, wouldn’t it be a wonderful witness with Lent coming, if you now for the nation decided to pull out of DWTS and show the nation just the sacrifice you’re making by pulling out?'”

The cleric, who found fame in 2014 thanks to his rendition of Leonard Cohen’s ‘Hallelujah’ at a church wedding, was recently forced to take action after receiving a “very abusive” expletive-filled phone call.

2Targeted: Fr Kelly said the criticism he had received could be down to him ‘stepping out of my field a little bit’.

“Every second word was the F word… priest, parish, parochial house, housekeeper, fat effing belly dancing around the floor.

“The man left his number on the phone and his name.

“His number showed up on the landline. I answered the phone and went into my messages and there it was.

“An hour or two later, I was in the house and I answered the phone again. He said: ‘Can I speak to Fr Ray Kelly please’ and I was suspicious about it.

“I said: ‘He’s not here, can I take a message?’ He said: ‘Can you tell him from me…’ and the whole spate again.”
After consulting with the ‘Dancing with the Stars’ production team, Fr Kelly was advised to make a formal complaint to the gardaí.

He said it was “hard” being on the receiving end of such negativity and he was trying not to let it affect him personally.

“For a while there, I was letting it come in [to my head]. As a priest, I’ve worked hard for 31 years. I’ve never gotten a huge amount of criticism for anything I’ve done. This is going back to singing ‘Hallelujah’ or doing ‘Britain’s Got Talent’.”

Asked why he thought he provoked such a strong reaction, Fr Kelly said it could have been down to him “stepping out of my field a little bit”.


Why in the Name of God would anyone want to harm Ireland’s own Fred Astaire?

I know that there are Cathbots who would love harm to come to me. After all I expose Cathbotology all the time.

I get letters from good Catholics saying that they offered up their Holy Communion that I’d get cancer.

But why Sugar Ray?

He is a PP. He tows the party line on everything.

Maybe people hate priests in Ireland that much now that the very sight of a priest sends people dolally?

I can understand people being embarrassed by the sight of Big Ray trying to dance.

It is cringe worthy.

But maybe Ray has some form of attention deficit disorder and needs all the attention he can get.

A bit like the other guy Darcy O’Donnell.