Kilkenny cleric, Brother Tom Forde of the Capuchin friars in Co. Kilkenny compared gay people to zombies in a homily on Saturday, leaving mass-goers stunned. Forde, who previously served as a chaplain in University College Cork, has said that gay people, people who have sex before marriage and pro-choice supporters are “spiritual zombies.”
“I begin this homily with an embarrassing admission. It may destroy whatever respect you have for me. You may decide to disregard everything I say now and in the future,” said Forde, leading into his controversial homily.
Before launching into his attack on the LGBT+ community, people who use contraception, pro-choice supporters and those who support euthanasia, the Brother spoke about his love of the horror genre and the popularity of zombies in popular culture referring to including hit show The Walking Dead. Although Brother Forde described zombies as “ridiculous” he used them as a metaphor for some people in society: “physically alive but spiritually dead, morally rotten or at least infected”.
Forde continued, “In the zombie genre once you’re bitten you’re infected and there’s no hope. The only way to deal with the monsters is to stab or shoot them in the brain for otherwise they are merciless, relentless and unstoppable.” He suggested that the only cure for “spiritual zombie-hood” is to experience “God’s loving presence in our lives” and “obedience to Christ”.
Several members of the congregation walked out during the mass and many voiced their anger online when it ended. The homily was posted online following the mass but has since been removed.
A secretary of the Capuchin friary speaking to the Irish Mirror about Forde’s homily said, “He has nothing to explain. There will be no comment.”
The Capuchin’s mission statement says that their fraternities are “places of prayer, hospitality and outreach to all”. A post on their website by Brother Seán Kelly regarding the homily stated: “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.” The post did not mention Forde’s attack on people who use contraception, pro-choice supporters and those who support euthanasia.
The attack by the Kilkenny cleric is not just hurtful to the LGBT+ community but to LGBT+ members of the church and wider Irish society who voted for marriage equality and to repeal the Eighth Amendment.
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