Saturday 19 October 2019

Gay people and adulterers are like 'infected zombies' - religious brother tells Mass

  

Brother Tom Forde
Brother Tom Forde

Sarah Mac Donald

A bishop has been urged to address comments made by a religious brother who compared gay people to infected zombies.

Brother Tom Forde sparked outrage when he made the comparison in a homily in which he began speaking about what he viewed as self-destructive and irrational behaviour.

He said this 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 said at the Capuchin friary in Kilkenny on Saturday.

Referencing the horror genre, he admitted being a fan of TV programmes like 'The Walking Dead'.

And speaking about zombies, he said: "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 former chaplain at University College Cork (UCC) said that the cure for "moral and spiritual infection" was Christ.

Some of the congregation reportedly walked out in protest following the remarks.

The homily had been published as a blog, but it was no longer online last night.

It is understood that Br Forde took down the blog amid the outcry.

Its contents were brought to wider public attention after being featured on RTÉ's 'Liveline' programme.

Vitriolic

The head of Amnesty Ireland yesterday called on the Catholic Bishop of Ossory to address "vitriolic and homophobic" comments.

Colm O'Gorman also told the Irish Independent it was up to gardaí to investigate if the comments constituted hate speech.

"There is no excuse for this. Brother Forde must apologise and withdraw his comments and say they were wrong," he said.

"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," he said.

Mr O'Gorman added: "It is hateful and profoundly bigoted language that must be called out.

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

A Garda spokesperson said they would not discuss an individual case.

But they said any accusation of hate speech would be investigated if a complaint were made, and gardaí would then seek to determine if a criminal act had occurred.

The Capuchin Order apologised for Br Forde's contentious comments, saying that "the Capuchin Order wishes to state that all are welcome in our churches, irrespective of sexual orientation".

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

It also stated: "On reflection Br Tom removed the blog as it was not his intention to cause hurt to anyone."

Irish Independent

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