December 11, 2023

Bishop intervenes as Kilkenny ‘zombie’ homily controversy goes global

THE Bishop of Ossory has publicly criticised the “inappropriate language and sentiments” expressed in a controversial homily delivered at the Capuchin Friary in Kilkenny last weekend.

Fr Tom Forde (pictured below) sparked outrage when he compared gay people and supporters of abortion rights and euthanasia to “spiritual zombies” that have been “infected”.

After he made the remarks, some of the congregation reportedly walked out of the church in protest.

The language used in Fr Forde’s sermon has sparked huge controversy, both locally and nationally, and made headline news around the world.

As the controversy deepened, Bishop Dermot Farrell (pictured above) today issued a statement in response to Fr Forde’s homily.

Bishop Farrell said he was “saddened” that “a Liturgy was used to convey any sentiment so at variance with our understanding of God”.

His statement added: “I was saddened to learn of the inappropriate language and sentiments used during a homily at the Capuchin Friary last weekend.

“Gospel means good news. At the heart of the Christian Gospel is the welcome Christ had – and has – for all people.

“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.

“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. Furthermore, when harm is done an apology is to be given.

“I welcome, therefore, the statement of 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,” the statement concluded.

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