Archived: Catholic Bishop Compares Homosexuality to Spina Bifida, Down Syndrome

By Michael Nam


On the Irish radio program Newstalk Breakfast, a Catholic bishop expressed some harsh sounding views of gays and gay parents, in particular.

The Bishop of Elphin, Kevin Doran, insisted that the ideal model for parenting involved a mother and a father. When pressed on the fact that gay and lesbian couples already were raising children all over Ireland, the bishop responded, “They may have children, but that’s the point—people who have children are not necessarily parents.”

He later apologized for the comment: “I believe that every person is willed by God and loved by God. I simply don’t believe that God micromanages the universe in such detail. I regret any hurt that may have been caused either by what I actually said or by how it was presented by others,” he said in a statement, according to The Independent.

For much of the interview, he had stumbled over what exactly made nontraditional forms of parenting so negative for children, such as in the case of same-gender parents or single parents. Discussing pending Irish legislation that would extends rights to parents and children in nontraditional family relationships, Doran said, “This legislation that the government is introducing—the Children and Family Relationships Bill—seems primarily focused about making it possible for people in various different relationships to have children. It’s not about ensuring that children have their parents.”

The interviewer then asked if some people are born homosexual—something Bishop Doran seemed to somewhat agree with—would that not signal that this was something God intended “That would be to suggest that if some people who are born with Down syndrome or spina bifida, that that was what God intended either,” replied Doran.

Just to add some extra controversy, the bishop also implied that rape victims who had abortions did so out of a sense of vengeance. “You don’t destroy a life in order to get back at the mother’s rapist,” he said.

Criticism rapidly followed his remarks. Dr. Richard O’Leary of Faith in Marriage Equality told EILE magazine, “Not all people of faith share Bishop Doran’s view that gay parents are not parents. Bishop Doran should not seek to marginalize gay parents but rather he should acknowledge that parenting is about the quality of the love that the parents provide.”

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