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Byline: By John Ferguson

A BISHOP has sparked outrage by claiming gays only attend Holocaust memorials to get sympathy.

The Right Rev Joseph Devine also said parents of homosexual children faced a "nightmare".

Devine, who is Catholic bishop of Motherwell, 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."

Gay campaigners reacted with fury.

Scot Gay magazine publisher John Hein said: "This is just what you would expect from the Catholic Church.

"To suggest that gay people would go to a Holocaust memorial just to try to gain some kind of public support is ridiculous.

"People attend these events because they want to give their support and out of compassion for people who suffered under the Nazis.

"The bishop seems to have forgotten that the Nazis persecuted gay people as well."

Devine let loose with the tirade as he gave a lecture in Glasgow about faith in public life.

He said: "We neglect the gay movement at our peril. Issues around sexuality are powerful factors in shaping public policy.

"I want to ask you if you are able to see the giant conspiracy that's taking place before our eyes, even if we didn't see it at the time.

"I take it you're beginning to see that there is a huge and well orchestrated conspiracy taking place which the Catholic community completely missed."

When asked how parents should come to terms with a child who announced he or she was gay, he added: "This must be a nightmare moment for any parent.

"I would try to handle it with a degree of compassion.

"But I would not tolerate that kind of behaviour. I would not condemn but I would not tolerate it."

Devine also took a swipe at gay actor Sir Ian McKellen.

He said: "In this New Year's Honours List, I saw actor Ian McKellen being honoured for his work on behalf of homosexuals.

"A century ago, Oscar Wilde was locked up and put in jail."

Tuesday night's lecture was titled Sectarianism and Secularism: Bugbears for the Catholic Church in Scotland.

Devine, who is Catholic education commissioner, ended his speech by vowing to fight on against the "forces of secularism".

He said: "Like Mel Gibson, who said, 'I'm going to pick a fight', so am I."

Last year, the bishop stopped backing the Labour Party over their support for gay marriage and adoption.


TIRADE: Devine says parents of gays face a "nightmare" BILL FLEMING
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Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Mar 13, 2008
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