Four talks by controversial US Catholic preacher Jason Evert this week have been cancelled after concerns were raised about his views on homosexuality and contraception.
Mr Evert is founder of the Chastity Project, which promotes chastity among young people. In his book 'Pure Manhood' Mr Evert wrote that "the homosexual act is disordered, much like contraceptive sex between heterosexuals. Both acts are directed against God's natural purpose for sex - babies and bonding."
He added: “Even if a person does not believe in God, he cannot argue with nature. For example, the life expectancy of homosexual men is half that of heterosexual men. Furthermore, imagine what would happen if all people with same-sex attractions were placed in their own country. It would be empty in a century, because bodies of the same gender are not made to receive each other.”
According to the original schedule for his first visit to Ireland, Mr Evert was to speak to students at two Dublin schools - Blackrock College and Sandyford's Rosemont secondary school - on Wednesday, and at the Tower Hotel in Waterford city on Thursday. These have been cancelled.
It was planned that he would speak at an ‘Incite 2020’ student retreat event in University College Dublin between Thursday and Saturday next but a spokeswoman for the university said it had been decided to cancel his talk there.
His talks at the Our Lady Queen of Peace church on Dublin's Merrion Road will go ahead next Wednesday evening, as will his address at the Holy Family Mission in Waterford on Thursday. The latter was set up by the Catholic diocese of Waterford and Lismore in 2016 aimed at young Catholics between 18 and 35.
Our Lady Queen of Peace is the only Catholic parish in Dublin run by priests of the conservative Opus Dei congregation while Bishop of Waterford and Lismore Phonsie Cullinan is understood to be the only Irish bishop who is a member of Opus Dei.
The UCD LGBT Society had called on the university authorities to stop Mr Evert from speaking, saying in a statement that his proposed visit to the university was “putting the safety of UCD’s LGBTQ+ community at risk” and his words could have “lasting and damaging effects on the mental wellbeing of LGHBTQ+ students.”
In a statement posted on Twitter, the society said Mr Evert’s preaching has direct negative repercussions on all that our university stands for. His ideology and printed work continuously spread hate by insisting that “homosexuality is a disorder.”
After the event was cancelled, the group thanked “everyone for their support and solidarity in this matter”.