– Bishop John Keenan of Paisley has criticized a video on homophobia posted by BBC Scotland in which the Eucharist is parodied, being said to “taste like cardboard” and “smell like hate.”
The video, “This is how homophobia feels in 2018,” was posted April 9 on the Facebook page of BBC The Social, a project of BBC Scotland aimed at young people.
The short film was created by Sean Lìonadh, and addresses reactions to a gay couple who are walking in a park. The narrator states that “normality is a crowd-sourced fantasy,” and addresses moral failings of those who view homosexual acts as immoral.
It also depicts a man and a woman, who is pregnant, whose “normality” the narrator says will be shattered when the woman suffers a miscarriage.
Lìonadh’s video goes on to say that “Jesus saved a lot of time when he died for our crimes, that he would’ve wasted teaching small minds that love is no sin.”
A vociferous street preacher is then shown, in between scenes of a Mass, in which a priest elevates a cheese biscuit as a parody of a Host, and then distributes it to a kneeling woman, who makes the sign of the cross. The narrator says during this, “See him, he thinks it’s faith, but under all that din, it tastes like cardboard, and it smells like hate.”
Keenan referred to the narration in a May 13 Facebook post, saying, “So BBC Scotland has described Holy Communion and Catholics in its latest digital stream for young people in Scotland on homophobia.”
He noted that the video was posted “in a week when a Sunday Times poll found 20 percent of Catholics reported personally experiencing abuse or prejudice towards their faith” and that recent government figures show that 57 percent of religiously aggravated crime is directed at Catholics, an increase of 14 percent.
“And we all wonder why,” the bishop exclaimed.
Scotland has experience significant sectarian division since the Scottish Reformation of the 16th century, which led to the formation of the Church of Scotland, an ecclesial community in the Calvinist and Presbyterian tradition which is the country’s largest religious community.
Keenan told the Catholic Herald that the video posted by BBC Scotland “is ridiculing and demeaning the faith of ordinary Catholics, especially at a time when Catholics are experiencing more and more abuse and prejudice in Scotland.”
“The BBC has to be careful,” he noted. “It has to ask itself if it has ceased to be a broadcaster in the public interest, and is just promoting particular interests. You cannot imagine it treating any other religion like this.”
In a subsequent Facebook post, Keenan provided a link to the Facebook page for the diocesan chapter of Courage, an apostolate which supports those who have same-sex attraction in choosing chastity.
In its own response to the video, the Archdiocese of Saint Andrews and Edinburgh provided in a Facebook post a quote from the Catechism of the Catholic Church which teaches that homosexual persons “must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided” and that “homosexual persons are called to chastity. By the virtues of self-mastery that teach them inner freedom, at times by the support of disinterested friendship, by prayer and sacramental grace, they can and should gradually and resolutely approach Christian perfection.”