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Bishop welcomes apology over Capuchin priest who compared gay people to 'infected zombies'

Brother Tom Forde made the statements in a homily delivered during Mass in Kilkenny on Saturday.

Image: Shutterstock/seanbear

THE BISHOP OF Ossory has said that he welcomes the apology of the Capuchin order in relation to comments made by one of their members which likened gay people to “infected zombies”.

Commenting after the apology, the Bishop of Ossory Dermot Farrell said that was “saddened to learn of the inappropriate language and sentiments used during a homily at the Capuchin Friary last weekend”.

Brother Tom Forde made the statements in a homily delivered during Mass in Kilkenny on Saturday.

Multiple reports state how Forde began to talk about 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,” he is reported as saying at the Capuchin friary in Kilkenny on Saturday.

He then likened this then to zombies and how “once you’re bitten you’re infected and there’s no hope”.

“The only way to deal with monsters is to stab or shoot them in the brain,” Forde said.

He then is reported as saying that being obedient to Christ was the only cure for those “infected”.

Apology 

A number of people reportedly walked out of the Mass when the comments were made. The homily was also published as a blog post but was taken down earlier this week.

The Irish Capuchin Friars issued an apology yesterday after outcry over the comments. 

“In response to the homily by Fr Tom Forde, OFM,Cap on Pentecost Sunday Vigil Mass in Kilkenny, we wish to state the following:

“This homily, which had been published as a blog is no longer posted online. On reflection Fr Tom removed the blog as it was not his intention to cause hurt to anyone.

“The Capuchin Order wishes to state that all are welcome in our churches, irrespective of sexual orientation.

“Unfortunate comments were made about homosexuality last Saturday, which gay people would have found hurtful, and we deeply regret this.

“When asked about gay people, Pope Francis has said, ‘Who am I to judge? And speaking to a gay man at an audience in the Vatican he said, ‘God made you like this and he loves you’.

“We support Pope Francis in his comments on gay people and we will continue to be guided by him and by our own Mission Statement, which states that, ‘we affirm that our fraternities will be places of prayer, hospitality and outreach to ALL’

Bishop’s response

“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,” Bishop Farrell said following the apology. 

“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.

Farrell welcomed the apology from 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.

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Cormac Fitzgerald

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