Monday, January 16, 2017

Priest files complaint over RTÉ comedy sketch

A Co Kerry priest has lodged a complaint with the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland over the “ridiculing of the Eucharist” on the Late Late Show.

Fr Kevin McNamara, parish priest in Moyvane near Listowel in north Kerry, wrote in this weekend’s Moyvane parish newsletter about his “hurt beyond words” at hearing the host described as “haunted bread” by a member of the Rubberbandits hip hop comedy duo, “on the so-called flagship chat show ” of the national broadcaster.

The priest who is a native of Co Clare and was for many years based in Killarney, where he was hugely popular, and outspoken, said the phrase which he found so offensive was endorsed by presenter Ryan Tubridy.

Fr McNamara said he felt it was time to call a halt to the “disrespect for religious belief and for those of us who respect religious beliefs.”

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The religious were “fair game” in this country for all sorts of remarks but the description of the eucharist on the Late Late on January 6 was “an all-time low”.

“We live in an age where there is great emphasis on the need for clean air, clean water and a healthy environment, but how much attention do we give to fostering a clean soul, heart and mind?, the address began in the newsletter to parishioners.

Fr McNamara outlined his complaint in detail: “On the Late Late Show of January 6, the Feast of the Epiphany, there was a discussion in which the holy eucharist [holy communion] was referred to as ‘haunted bread’.

“During a discussion about whether religious practice long in decline, might be on the rise, comedian David Chambers, who performs as ‘Blindboy Boatclub’ in the comedy duo The Rubberbandits, said that young people attending midnight mass at Christmas were “not going there for haunted bread, but because it was a family event.

“Everyone at midnight mass is half-cut anyway”.

The priest told parishioners that “presenter Ryan Tubridy said he thought the phrase ‘haunted bread’ was a “great expression”.

“Mr Chambers said, ‘that’s what it is’, arguing that the Church ‘does not want us to use critical thinking’ and is ‘asking us to eat the ghost of a 2,000-year-old carpenter’”, Fr McNamara said.

On hearing that fellow guest Michael Harding had been a priest, he murmured ‘sorry about the haunted bread stuff’, the priest wrote.

“Isn’t it time we paid attention to creating a clean environment for soul, heart and mind? Fr McNamara has asked parishioners. 

“It hurt me beyond words to see the eucharist ridiculed on RTÉ’s so-called flagship chat show.

““I have made a complaint to the Broadcasting Authority,” the priest informed his parishioners at the Church of the Assumption.

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