Father Rosario M Ebanks made the comments during a four-minute recorded rant at St Mary’s and St Columba’s Catholic Church in Gosport, in which he claimed schools were ‘opening the door to the Devil’ by teaching pupils about LGBTQ+ issues.
His claims have ignited fury from LGBTQ+ campaigners and charity leaders, who branded his ‘distressing’ and ‘Stone Age’ sermon as ‘appalling’.
Last night former culture minister Caroline Dinenage, Gosport’s MP, said the priest’s view ‘saddened her’ while a teacher labelled the religious figure’s comments as ‘absolutely disgusting’.
The Catholic Diocese of Portsmouth has since apologised for the remarks and has launched an investigation.
In the video, shared onto the church’s website and seen by The News, Father Rosario said: ‘I would like to speak about a very particular way in which the Devil is tempting the faithful, tempting the little ones, those who are innocent and pure.
‘It’s very sad, dear brothers and sisters, that we have opened up a door to the devil in our Catholic schools, embracing all of this “gender ideology” and this rainbow flag revolution.
'Dear brothers and sisters, those teachers are a bunch of devils. What a scandal. What an abomination to think that in some so-called catholic schools, these abominations are being presented and promoted – promoting sin, promoting a sin against chastity; promoting a sin against nature.
‘And you wonder why there’s an increase of parents who are taking their children out of these so-called catholic schools and they’re home-schooling them?'
The priest also criticised transgender children during his speech, in a move that has left campaigners in Portsmouth indignant with rage.
Katie Yeomans, a 69-year-old transgender activist from Southsea – who herself has transitioned, said: ‘What the priest is saying is outrageous.
‘When you’re getting what can only be described as hate speech, it really is quite distressing.
‘A person in such a qualified position [as a priest] shouldn't be quoting their views in such a hateful way… The Roman Catholics seem to be back in the Stone Age.’
The video – which appears to have been removed from the church’s website – was being shared within the city’s education community over the weekend.
One teacher from the Portsmouth area, who asked not to be named, said: 'This is hate speech. It goes against our fundamental British values…I think this is absolutely disgusting.'
The video comes just days after the end of LGBTQ History Month in February.
Its appearance has been condemned by Stonewall, an LGBTQ+ lobby group and charity.
Sasha Misra, associate director of communications and external affairs at Stonewall, said: ‘It’s appalling to hear people make such offensive judgements about LGBTQ+ inclusive education and the wonderful teachers that welcome all students into their classrooms.
‘When young people are taught about different families and relationships, we know that it not only helps prevent anti-LGBTQ+ bullying but also ensures all students feel welcome and included.
‘LGBTQ+ people are an important part of faith communities and it’s vital that all faith schools teach about LGBTQ+ issues.’
Tory MP Caroline Dinenage was also disappointed by the comments made by the priest and last night said: ‘It saddens me that prejudices continue to exist. Given the turmoil in the world at the moment, I would hope we are all focusing on kindness and tolerance.’
The Catholic Diocese of Portsmouth has condemned the comments made by the priest.
A spokesman said: ‘The Catholic Diocese of Portsmouth is very sorry to learn about the details of a homily preached recently and the inflammatory language has caused great offence to many.
‘The Catholic Church promotes a wonderful vision of what it means to be a human person and we are immensely proud of our schools for all they achieve and our school leaders who uphold and teach these values.
‘We disagree with the statements that have been made and would emphasise that the Catholic Church respects and welcomes all people.
‘We are investigating the matter and will consider what appropriate action is required.’