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Irish bishop faces 'hate speech' complaint for homily

Catholic World News - January 30, 2012

An Irish bishop has been charged with inciting hatred in a homily, in the first clear use of “hate crime” laws to suppress the preaching of the Gospel.

Bishop Philip Boyce of Raphoe faces a complaint submitted to the Director of Public Prosecutions by an avowed humanist. John Colgan, who is also a parliamentary candidate of the Fine Gael party, charged the Bishop Boyce inflamed “hatred of dissidents, outsiders, secularists” during a homily delivered last August.

In that homily, the bishop said that the Catholic Church is under attack from “a secular and godless culture.” Bishop Boyce also said that “the distinguishing mark of Christian believers is the fact they have a future.”

Colgan charges that these remarks “exemplify the chronic antipathy towards secularists, humanists etc, which has manifested itself in the ostracizing of otherwise perfectly good Irish citizens.” He charges that the bishop’s message violated the terms of the Prohibition of Incitement to Hatred Act, enacted in 1989. Police say that they have forwarded the complaint to prosecutors.

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Show 2 Comments? (Hidden)Hide Comments
  • Posted by: rpp - Feb. 04, 2012 9:58 PM ET USA

    Well, I suppose one could observe that by filing this complaint, Mr. Colgan has helped to prove what the good bishop said is true.

  • Posted by: John J Plick - Jan. 30, 2012 6:29 PM ET USA

    Since when are we (Christian Catholics) entitled to "protection" in the World and why do we find it so surprising that they "do not like us...?" We, of course, are not "their" problem..., sin is... And surely many of them will not find out how big a problem that is until after they have died...; but "they" cannot see that. Hence they feel that we are "interfering" with their lives. Saints who are willing, even eager, to suffer and die for Christ can correct that misperception.

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