Priest: There will be more respect for Catholicism in RTÉ after complaint

A Kerry priest who complained about the Eucharist being described on The Late Late Show as “haunted bread” has told parishioners he has “lost the case, but won the war”.

Fr Kevin McNamara in St Mary's Cathedral, Killarney.

While the complaint to the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland has not been upheld, Fr Kevin McNamara said the Catholic faith would be more “respected” by RTÉ in future programmes, he told Mass goers at the Church of the Assumption in the parish of Noyvane, near Listowel.

The comment, made on a January 6, led to 11 complaints to the BAI.

Fr McNamara told Sunday’s congregation he had brought the complaint initially to call a halt to what he felt was disrespect for the Catholic faith and religious values.

“As you are well aware by now, I lost the case with regards to my complaint about The Late Late Show,” he said. “However, I am delighted that the BAI made the following observation about how the presenter handled the item.”

He quoted the BAI’s view that “the presenter misjudged the offence likely to have been caused by the use of the term ‘haunted bread’ ”, which was made by David Chambers, known as Blindboy Boatclub of the Rubberbandits, and that his comments compounded the offence caused to the complainant.

“While the committee did not believe that the comments or the presenter’s contributions crossed a line such that undue offence was caused to the audience as a whole, the degree of offence may have been minimised if the presenter had demonstrated greater sensitivity to the potential for offence and RTÉ is advised to have regard to the committee’s view in this regard,” the priest said.

“I am looking forward to RTÉ and in particular its presenters taking on board what the BAI has suggested.

“I feel, as a result of this deliberation, the Catholic faith and indeed all faiths will be more respected in RTÉ programmes from here on.”

Fr Mc Namara previously spoke of his “deep hurt” at the remarks, and those of another panellist who likened the receipt of Holy Communion to cannibalism.

He also felt such offensive remarks on the flagship chatshow of the national broadcaster would not have been made about the core values of religions other than Catholicism.

In its response to the criticism, RTÉ had told the BAI that while the comment was provocative, “it was designed, as the comedy of the Rubberbandits generally is, to provoke thought and not to be pointlessly offensive”.

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