By Shelley Marsden
Bishop of Cork and Ross, Dr John Buckley, has said gay people, and others who feel marginalised or disconnected from the Church, deserve only its respect and love.
Dr Buckley added that gay people should never be condemned or rejected, and it was this lack of connection that stopped many people from going to Mass.
“I am talking about every category of people, including LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender) people. From the Lord, they will only hear words of understanding, words of encouragement and words of love”, he said.
Speaking to the Evening Echo, the bishop also said that he believes Pope Francis has made the church a more compassionate entity since his appointment.
He urged communities to try and help stop the decline in calls to the priesthood, saying responsibility lay with parish communities to encourage prospective priests