Bishop Dermot Farrell
The Catholic bishop of a diocese that includes many Laois residents has said he is saddened by the inappropriate language of a religious brother in Kilkenny who compared gay people to infected zombies.
Bishop Dermot Farrell, Bishop of Ossory, issued the statement following a recent homily by Brother Tom Forde at the Capuchin friary in Kilkenny on Saturday, June 8.
Br Forde spoke about self-destructive and irrational behaviour. He said this was "the abuse of drugs and alcohol, adultery, fornication and homosexuality, as well as in the acceptance of abortion and contraception and in the move to legalise euthanasia".
"We sense that many of those around us are physically alive but spiritually dead, morally rotten or at least infected," he said.
He said he was a fan of TV programmes like 'The Walking Dead'. about zombies, he said: "Once you are bitten you are infected and there is no hope.
"The only way to deal with the monsters is to stab or shoot them in the brain."
Bishop Farrell responded on Wednesday, June 13 with the following statement which was preceded by an apology from the Capuchin order.
"I was saddened to learn of the inappropriate language and sentiments used during a homily at the Capuchin Friary last weekend. Gospel means good news. At the heart of the Christian Gospel is the welcome Christ had - and has - for all people. As followers of Christ, the Gospel we proclaim is about the welcome and inclusion of all; as every person - no matter their faith, or race, or sexual orientation - is made by God and is loved by God.
"I am saddened too that a Liturgy was used to convey any sentiment so at variance with our understanding of God. Words can hurt and care needs to be taken by all, in all situations, so as not to alienate, hurt or cause offence. Furthermore, when harm is done an apology is to be given.
"I welcome, therefore, the statement of the Capuchin Order expressing their deep regret and their strong reaffirmation of their welcome of all people. I know the affection in which they are held by the people of Kilkenny. I express our appreciation for the Capuchins’ service of the most vulnerable [in Kilkenny and beyond], and I thank them for outlining clearly their views on the good news of the inclusion of all," he said.