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Irish bishops rap politician for saying Pope Benedict fuels homophobia

Catholic World News - June 29, 2010

The Irish bishops have issued a strong protest against a leading politician’s charge that Pope Benedict XVI is “giving comfort” to bullies who attack homosexuals.

Eamon Gilmore, the leader of the Labor Party, told the Irish Examiner that the Pope should temper his language. With a vague reference to a papal statement, Gilmore said, “there has been nasty homophobic bullying and assaults on gay people and I think opinions like that give comfort to that.”

In a sharply worded rebuttal, the Irish bishops’ conference noted that Gilmore appeared to referring to a talk given by Pope Benedict in December 2008, which was badly distorted in some media accounts. “The fact is that homosexuality was not referred to anywhere in this text,” the bishops noted.

“For a leader of a political party to misrepresent remarks made by the Holy Father on such a profound subject as human sexuality, is regrettable,” the statement from the Irish hierarchy continued. “Mr Gilmore’s comments are also highly offensive to Catholics and anyone with an interest in the truth.” The bishops’ statement also faulted the Irish Examiner for giving front-page coverage to the Labor leaders remarks, which appeared under a headline: “Gilmore: Pope’s words comfort anti-gay thugs.” That treatment “completely misrepresents the Church’s teaching on human sexuality and the message of the Bible on this matter,” the statement charged.

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