Bishop Devine's speech was part of the Gonzaga Lectures series. Sadly, an earlier lecture in the same series was used as a bully pulpit to attack the Church, by a well-known dissenting priest, Fr Monaghan.
From Catholic World News, in part: In a campus lecture on March 11 he said that homosexual activists have worked steadily to change public attitudes, while Christians have failed to uphold their principles. "The opposition know exactly what they're doing," the bishop said. "We don't." Pressure for social change, Bishop Devine said, "was bound to result in state-sponsored morality at war with Christian values." Exhorting Christians to join in the cultural battle, he said: "We must resist being corrupted by secularism." (First report in full here.)
The bishop reportedly said: "The homosexual lobby has been extremely effective in aligning itself with minority groups. It is ever-present at the service each year for the Holocaust memorial, as if to create for themselves the image of a group of people under persecution. We neglect the gay movement at our peril." He added that there was a "huge and well-orchestrated conspiracy" taking place, which the Catholic community had missed.
Bishop Devine's comments have been condemned by gay rights groups and Holocaust survivor organisations. However, yesterday Bishop Devine remained firm in the face of the criticism. "These groups are defending their position, I am defending mine," he said.
"The homosexual lobby has identified itself with people who have gone through dreadful persecution - the impression is that they have been equally persecuted.
"It is all about a lifestyle alien to the Christian tradition. There is a giant conspiracy against Christian values, an agenda here. I stand by what I said."Lothians MSP George Foulkes has tabled a motion in the Scottish Parliament over the bishop's "unfortunate, outdated and unchristian remarks". The motion calls on the Parliament to "tackle prejudice in all its forms" and acknowledge the right of the gay community to mark Holocaust Memorial Day. (Follow-up report in full here.)