Ossory’s Bishop Dermot Farrell has said he was “saddened” to hear of “inappropriate language and sentiments” in a homily preached in Kilkenny’s Capuchin friary over the weekend.
Onetime UCC chaplain Fr Tom Forde had spoken on Saturday about “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”, and said “we sense that many of those around us are physically alive but spiritually dead, morally rotten or at least infected”.
With reference to zombies on TV shows such as The Walking Dead, he said “once you are bitten you are infected and there is no hope”, but said that in the case of “moral and spiritual infection” the cure is Christ.
Commenting on the homily, Bishop Farrell said Christ’s welcome is at the heart of Christianity.
“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,” he stressed,
“Words can hurt and care needs to be taken by all, in all situations, so as not to alienate, hurt or cause offence,” he said, welcoming how the Capuchin order had already apologised for the comments in Fr Forde’s homily.
“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.
In their apology, the Capuchins underlined how all are welcome in their churches, regardless of sexual orientation.
“Unfortunate comments were made about homosexuality last Saturday, which gay people would have found hurtful,” they said, “and we deeply regret this.”