Bishop condemns hate crimes and homophobia during service at Sligo Cathedral

Bishop Kevin Doran. File photo.

Sarah MacDonald

Two of the country’s church leaders have condemned hate crimes and homophobia, saying people who identify as LGBTQ+ “should not have to live in fear any more than anybody else”.

Speaking in Sligo Cathedral, Catholic bishop Kevin Doran said the community had been left “badly shaken” following the deaths of two men “who were our neighbours and, for some of us, friends and colleagues”. He told the congregation gathered for Easter services in the Church of the Immaculate Conception in Sligo: “Each of them, in different ways, served his community well. Each one was a much loved son and brother and uncle.”

He said that homophobia was “something that we as Christians can never condone. People who identify as LGBTI should not have to live in fear any more than anybody else”.

The Bishop of Elphin also criticised acts of vandalism on properties associated with the Islamic community in the past few days.

It was another form of oppression based on people being easily identifiable as “different” and “a failure to recognise our shared humanity and the fact that Islamic people, no less than the rest of us, are created in the image of God.”

Noting that Jesus challenged the smug, self-righteousness attitudes of people who thought they were better than everyone else, Dr Doran warned that in Irish society there are minority groups who are at risk of being oppressed because they are different.

Separately, the Church of Ireland Archbishop of Dublin also condemned homophobic attacks this Easter and expressed solidarity with those who have fled the war in Ukraine and found refuge in Ireland.

In an address following his Good Friday Walk of Witness with his Catholic counterpart, Archbishop Michael Jackson expressed his sympathy to the families and friends of Aidan Moffitt and Michael Snee in Sligo. “The inhumanity and cruelty of these attacks are rightly to be condemned. I condemn them and have every confidence I speak for the vast majority of people who have seen and heard what has happened in recent days,” Dr Jackson said.