Bishop apologises for priest's comments comparing gay people to zombies

Bishop Dermot Farrell

Latest: The Bishop of Ossory has apologised following comments made a priest in Co Kilkenny who compared gay people to zombies.

Brother Tom Forde made the comparison at at the Capuchin friary in Kilkenny last weekend, saying that the only way to deal with the monsters is to stab or shoot them in the brain.

Bishop Dermot Farrell says he was saddened to learn of the inappropriate language used.

"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," said Bishop Farrell.

He added that words have the power to alienate, hurt or cause offence and so care must be taken by everyone in every situation to avoid hurting other people.

"Furthermore, when harm is done an apology is to be given," said Bishop Farrell.

"I welcome, therefore, the statement of the Capuchin Order expressing their deep regret and their strong reaffirmation of their welcome of all people."

Calls for Bishop to address priest's comments comparing gay people to zombies

Update 9am: There are calls on the Bishop of Ossory to address comments made by a priest who compared gay people to zombies.

Brother Tom Forde made the comparison at a mass in Kilkenny last weekend, saying that the only way to deal with the monsters is to stab or shoot them in the brain.

Brother Tom Forde.
Brother Tom Forde.

In his homily, the former chaplain at UCC spoke about what he called self-destructive and irrational behaviour., which he said 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."

After admitting he was a fan of the TV programme 'The Walking Dead', he referenced zombies, saying: "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."

The order representing the priest has said it deeply regrets the comments.

However, Head of Amnesty International Ireland, Colm O'Gorman, said the Bishop of Ossory needs to address the homophobic comments.

He said it was up to Gardaí to investigate if the comments constituted hate speech.

Mr O'Gorman said: "There is no excuse for this. The priest must apologise and withdraw his comments and say they were wrong.

"This is pride month and that is the kind of utterance that fuels homophobic attacks like the one we saw in London on the lesbian couple.

"Imagine if there was a member of the LGBTQ community in the congregation or a young person working through their sexuality.

"It is hateful and profoundly bigoted language that must be called out."

"The priest made those comments in an official capacity as a priest speaking from the altar and the diocese and bishop need to clarify whether they stand over those comments and consider them acceptable."

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