Monday, January 30, 2023

Respecting gay people 'long been' Catholic teaching - Bishop

 Donegal priest ordained as new Bishop of Ossary – Donegal Daily

Respecting gay people has long been a teaching of the Catholic Church, an Irish bishop has said.

In October 2022, Father Niall Coll was ordained the Bishop of Ossory and used his ordination speech to talk about the strong currents of secularism, materialism and individualism in modern day Ireland.

Pope Francis recently remarked that homosexuality, while a sin in the eyes of the Catholic Church, is not a crime.

He called on people to treat members of the LGBT community with dignity and respect.

The Bishop told The Pat Kenny Show that he welcomes the clarification and that all are welcome in the Church.

"That has long been the teaching of the Church", Bishop Coll said of the Pope's comments.

"Sometimes we polarise, we hear what we want to hear, and we don't hear the nuance", he siad.

"I've spent 25 years in educational contexts and I've worked with young people all my life."

"They sure kept me grounded and I heard their views and, you know, it's really important to respect all people."

"Gay people, they're human beings, they're important to the life of the Church, and I know in a parish context that you rub shoulders with all people."

New parish

As a priest, Bishop Coll served in Donegal Town in the county he is from himself.

He says the move to Kilkenny will be a big change, but he hopes to have a "fresh pair of eyes" on the community.

"An average parish priest meets the rich and the poor, he meets people in sickness and in death, baptisms, weddings ... all sorts of people, and they're very different", he said.

"All of them make together a church that is Catholic, that is universal, that includes all."

Changing times

Bishop Coll says that proclaiming the gospel has never been more important as he believes it's easy for Christians to 'retreat into a holy huddle'.

"So often the news is always negative", he said.

"Media like controversy and they like to stir things up."

"The Church has been very useful for those purposes for, say, the last 30 years."

As a result, he says, a more secular society has emerged which denounces the Church as an institution and by extension a religion.

"We have the opportunity now in a new Ireland, in a more multi-cultural, multi-religious Ireland to proclaim the gospel", he said.