Friday, June 07, 2024

Controversial sermon causes a stir: Diocese apologises

The sermon preached by a priest in the French overseas department of Réunion in the Indian Ocean has caused a stir on the internet.6

According to media reports, the priest made fun of the religions represented on the island in his sermon. 

"I don't believe in this fat, seated man with a beautiful belly who is called Buddha," said the priest from Sainte-Suzanne, Jean-Francois Laco. Buddha figures should therefore not be used as decoration. "That doesn't bring peace, but rather disorder," he emphasised.

The video published on social media was ironically captioned "Living together on Réunion" and sparked controversial debates and comments. 

Within a few hours, the video reached over 180,000 views and hundreds of comments. 

Some users were shocked by "such unacceptable and hateful remarks" from a priest, while others did not understand the controversy. 

The video of the sermon has since been deleted by the priest, who usually broadcasts his sermons live on the internet.

The diocese of Saint-Denis-de-La Réunion has now responded to the priest's controversial comments. 

"The position of the Catholic Church and the diocese is one of respect for others, their culture and their religious beliefs," reads a statement published by the diocese on Wednesday. 

And: "On behalf of the local Catholic Church, Bishop Pascal Chane-Teng sincerely apologises". 

The parish of Sainte-Suzanne belongs to the diocese of Saint-Denis-de-La Réunion in the French overseas department of Réunion in the Indian Ocean. 

The diocese is immediate and therefore directly subordinate to the Holy See.