Bishop Dermot Farrell.
By Irish Echo Staff
A homily given in Kilkenny last weekend by a member of the Capuchin Order, which was subsequently reproduced on a blog and featured on RTE Radio’s “Liveline,” has earned a stern rebuke today from the local Catholic bishop.
At Saturday evening Mass at the Capuchin Friary, Br. Tom Forde referred to certain categories of the population as “zombies” because 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 legalize euthanasia.”
Said Forde: “We sense that many of those around us are physically alive but spiritually dead, morally rotten or at least infected.”
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He conceded that he was fan of zombie horror genre and TV shows like “The Walking Dead.”
“Once you are bitten you are infected and there is no hope,” he said. “The only way to deal with the monsters is to stab or shoot them in the brain.”
Although he did add that the only hope was Christ, his theological approach was condemned unequivocally by the Bishop of Ossory, the Rev. Dermot Farrell.
It’s understood that several Mass-goers walked out of the Capuchin Friary in protest, while Amnesty International and LGBT rights groups were highly critical of Forde’s comments when they were publicized later. He later took down his blog and the Capuchin Order apologized.
“I was saddened to learn of the inappropriate language and sentiments used during a homily at the Capuchin Friary last weekend,” the bishop said. “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.
Br. Tom Forde.
“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,” Farrell said. “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.
Bishop Farrell added: “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, and I thank them for outlining clearly their views on the good news of the inclusion of all.”