THE Catholic Church is demanding a meeting with BBC Scotland after a programme about homophobia criticised its teachings and said Holy Communion "tastes like cardboard and smells like hate".

The Church said the film, broadcast on the digital platform, The Social, shows disrespect to the teachings and liturgy of the Church at a time when it is claimed there is a growing climate of hostility and the most recent figures showed 57 per cent of religiously aggravated crime is committed against Catholics.

Bishop John Keenan, Bishop of Paisley, has made public a letter to Donalda MacKinnon, director of BBC Scotland, outlining his concerns of the treatment of Catholics in the short film titled Homophobia in 2018, Time for Love.

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The Church said there were “several deeply insulting and offensive representations” in the film while the BBC said the film was a "personal polemic about being gay in 2018" but added it "regrets that some Church members found it to be offensive”.


Above: Screen shot of Time for Love video 

Bishop Keenan said: “In the current climate of growing hostility to Catholics I would appeal that the BBC guard against adding fuel to the fire.

“In that regard I would ask that the corporation now reach out to Catholics to understand their concerns, that they are being portrayed in a prejudicial way.”

“When it comes to important public debates about the wellbeing of the human person and the truth and meaning of human sexuality Catholics feel their views are becoming increasingly marginalised, almost criminalised”.

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Bishop Keenan cited Scottish Government hate crime figures which show that the majority of recorded religious hate crime in Scotland comprises anti-Catholicism, although Catholics make up only 16 per cent of the population.

The most recent government report on Religiously Aggravated Offending showed there had been a 14 per cent increase in offences.

He called for a meeting with the BBC Scotland director to express concerns, adding: “Catholics ask nothing more from the media than equity of treatment alongside their peers.”

Peter Kearney, director of the Scottish Catholic Media Office, has also sent a complaint to Ian Small, head of public policy and corporate affairs at BBC Scotland.

He said: “The gratuitously disrespectful representation of the Mass constitute exactly the type of disrespect which the guidelines seek to avoid.”

The video creator, Sean Lìonadh, artist and poet, received dozens of comments on Facebook when he posted the work.

One, posted by Nata Vitchenko, read: “Gorgeous, powerful and beautiful poetry.”

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A BBC spokeswoman said: “BBC The Social exists uniquely to give young content creators from across the country a platform on which they can give expression to subjects which directly impact on them and about which they feel passionate.

“The Time for Love piece is a personal polemic about being gay in 2018 and the experiences outlined in the film are intended to reflect those of the filmmaker.

“As a young gay man, raised in the Catholic faith, it is seen though his eyes and told in his voice, and is intended to reflect the challenges and opinions he personally faced while growing up in Scotland.

“The BBC appreciates that some of our audiences will find it challenging in its approach to tackling some very difficult themes but we do believe it important that we should provide platforms such as The Social to allow appropriate space for artistic freedom of speech.

“We do however regret that some Church members found it to be offensive.”