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Bishop apologises for priest who suggested the marriage referendum was the devil's work

Fr Joseph Okere made his comments in a recent homily reflecting on marriage.

mels St Mel's Cathedral, Longford Source: Google Maps

A CATHOLIC BISHOP has apologised for a Longford priest’s mass homily in which he described the recent same sex marriage referendum as the work of the devil.

Fr Joseph Okere allegedly made the comments in his homily during 10 am mass at St Mel’s Cathedral in Longford Town on Sunday morning.

The comments made by Fr Okere are not known specifically, but are alleged to have suggested that the referendum result is ‘evidence that the devil is at work in Ireland’.

Longford LGBT have condemned the sentiments expressed by Fr Okere.

“We are greatly saddened and disappointed to hear the passing of the Marriage Referendum being described as the influence of the Devil on society and that this in conjunction with marriage breakdown and divorce is leading to the destruction of humanity,” the group said in a post on Facebook.

lgbt Source: Longford LGBT/Facebook

Bishop of Ardagh Francis Duffy has apologised for Okere’s comments and said that he “did not intend to hurt anyone”.

“Comments were made about the recent marriage referendum while reflecting on the Scripture Readings of the day which had at their core the theme of marriage.  The language used caused offence to some people,” the Bishop said in a statement.

francis Bishop of Ardagh Francis Duffy Source: ardaghdiocese.org

Father Joseph did not intend to hurt anyone and is sorry for doing so.  I too apologise for any insensitivity.
In my own public statements in support of the sacrament of marriage, I emphasised the dignity that is inherent in all people, whatever their sexuality; and the necessity for the Church to reaffirm its determination to welcome, and show respect and compassion, to everyone in our community.

The incident is similar to one which occurred in June in Mayo following the referendum.

Fr Tom Doherty spoke to his congregation at mass in Ballina about the ‘immorality’ of the referendum result, and used the analogy of ‘barbarians at the gate’ to describe the result of the vote.

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