Order sorry for hurt caused by priest's 'zombie' gay remarks
The Capuchin church in Kilkenny where a priest compared gay people to infected zombies has clarified that it welcomes everyone, irrespective of their sexual orientation.
Some church-goers walked out last Saturday when Fr Tom Forde gave a sermon in which he began speaking about what he viewed as self-destructive and irrational behaviour.
His homily, which was also posted online as a blog, spoke of "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.
Fr Forde admitted being a fan of TV programmes like The Walking Dead. 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.
Amid the public outcry locally Fr Forde took his blog down.
He was not available for comment in the friary yesterday, but a receptionist issued a statement written by Br Sean Kelly, Superior of Kilkenny Friary.
"In response to the homily by Fr Tom Forde, OFM, Cap on Pentecost Sunday vigil mass in Kilkenny, we wish to state the following," it said.
"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'."