A parish priest in Co Kerry has lodged a complaint with the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland over the "ridiculing of the Eucharist" on RTÉ television.
Fr Kevin McNamara, parish priest in Moyvane near Listowel, has written in this weekend's Moyvane parish newsletter about his "hurt beyond words" at hearing the host described as "haunted bread" by a member of the Rubberbandits comedy duo "on the so-called flagship chat show" of the national broadcaster – the Late Late Show on the Feast of the Epiphany, January 6th.
The outspoken priest, who is a native of Co Clare and was for many years based in Killarney where he was hugely popular, said the phrase he found so offensive was endorsed by interviewer Ryan Tubridy.
“We live in an age where there is great emphasis on the need for clean air, clean water and a healthy environment, but how much attention do we give to fostering a clean soul, heart and mind?,” began the priest’s address in this morning’s newsletter to parishioners, in the large farmland parish.
Fr McNamara outlined his complaint in detail: "On the Late Late Show of January 6th, the Feast of the Epiphany, there was a discussion in which the Holy Eucharist (Holy Communion) was referred to as 'haunted bread'. During a discussion about whether religious practice, long in decline, might be on the rise, comedian David Chambers, who performs as Blindboy Boatclub in the comedy duo The Rubber Bandits, said young people attending Midnight Mass at Christmas were 'not going there for haunted bread, but because it was a family event. Everyone at Midnight Mass is half-cut anyway.'"
The priest told parishioners that “presenter Ryan Tubridy said he thought the phrase ‘haunted bread’ was a great expression”.
“Mr Chambers said, ‘that’s what it is’, arguing that the Church “does not want us to use critical thinking” and is “asking us to eat the ghost of a 2,000-year-old carpenter”, Fr McNamara continued.
"On hearing that fellow guest Michael Harding had been a Priest, he murmured sorry about the haunted bread stuff."
“Isn’t it time we paid attention to creating a clean environment for soul, heart and mind?” Fr McNamara asked parishioners, adding: “It hurt me beyond words to see the Eucharist ridiculed on RTÉ’s so called flagship chat show.”
“I have made a complaint to the Broadcasting Authority,” the priest informed his parishioners at the Church of the Assumption.