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NEWRY, Northern Ireland (ChurchMilitant.com) - The diocese of Dromore in Northern Ireland is failing to discipline a priest for giving a homily that implied acceptance of active homosexuality.
Following the World Meeting of Families in Dublin in the Republic of Ireland, Fr. Desmond Loughran spoke at Sunday Mass about how views on marriage have changed, and that Catholics should be more welcoming to LGBT people. He asked rhetorically during his sermon, "Why does it matter who is gay or who is straight or who is black or who is white?"
In his sermon at the Cathedral of Saint Patrick and Saint Colman in Newry, Fr. Loughran went on to say, "Our sexuality is God's gift to us as the person we are, that we should have the freedom to be the sexual person that we are, and not be judged on our sexuality by having to identify as gay, straight or bi, or whatever."
One man made a formal complaint to the diocese of Dromore, saying in an email, "Fr. Loughran has actively defied Catholic Church teaching by giving a pro same-sex attraction/marriage sermon. This is heresy and simply MUST NOT be tolerated by you or anyone in the diocese."
The man's complaint continued, "Fr. Loughran's actions only serve to cause further confusion and embarrassment to the Catholic Church and to those who try to be faithful Catholics."
His email featured a link to Church Militant's article.
The diocese is currently sede vacante, headed temporarily by apostolic administrator Bp. Philip Boyce.
Bishop Boyce responded to the man's inquiry:
The homily of Fr. Loughran has come to my attention. In fact, Fr. Loughran is a good priest for the past 25 years and this is the first time that anything like this has happened. I did call him in and warned him that he has to [be] very careful of what he says in the pulpit because it can be misinterpreted. He does not condone same-sex marriages, nor does he consider homosexual acts to be morally correct, and yet that impression was given by his words. Any future such sermons have to be submitted to me beforehand.
I thank you for your concern. Do keep all priests in your prayers.
The Catholic layman was disappointed by this answer, responding in a note:
Whilst I welcome that you report to have called "him in and warned him that he has to very careful of what he says in the pulpit," I find it somewhat disingenuous to state that things he said "can be misinterpreted." There can be absolutely no misinterpretation in Fr. Loughran's intentions and the content of what he said, which were clearly pre-meditated and did not for one moment help explain the complex issues of why the church can only ever support a model of "natural" family and married life, being exclusively heterosexual in nature.
He went on to write, "He is actually doing terrible damage with such heresy and you MUST address this serious 'crime' against the Church and the Holy Spirit. Taking him in and having a 'quiet word' is just not good enough."
Father Loughran's controversial homily was shared all over social media, with pro-LGBT people especially taking interest. One such person said on Twitter, "Fr. Desmond Loughran at the weekend, preaching at Newry Cathedral, strikes an inclusive tone that I haven't encountered before in the Catholic Church here."