Page last updated at 11:50 GMT, Tuesday, 7 October 2008 12:50 UK

Priest 'sorry' for gay comments

Manchester's Gay Pride 2007 parade (Pic: Phil Boocock)
Gay Pride parades were described in the minister's blog as "obscene"

A Church of England priest has issued a "full and complete apology" for remarks he made on gay people in his blog.

The Reverend Peter Mullen suggested homosexuals should have their backsides tattooed with the slogan: "Sodomy can seriously damage your health".

Mr Mullen, 66, a rector in the City of London, said he had been joking but admitted his words were "injudicious".

He said he did not mean to criticise individual people but "the promoters of gay culture".

On Monday a Diocese of London spokeswoman said the "highly offensive" remarks did not reflect its views.

I did not intend to cause offence when I made some joking remarks about homosexuals
The Reverend Peter Mullen

The comments have since been removed from the clergyman's blog following talks with officials at the diocese.

In a statement Mr Mullen, who is rector of St Michael's, Cornhill, and St Sepulchre-without-Newgate, said: "I did not intend to cause any upset but I realise that the remarks were injudicious and I have caused offence. I want to issue an apology.

"I did not intend to cause offence when I made some joking remarks about homosexuals.

"I was not actually meaning to criticise individual homosexual persons, but the promoters of gay culture.

"However, my remarks have caused offence and for this I am sorry and make a full and complete apology."

In his internet blog Mr Mullen called for gay pride parades to be outlawed, branding them "obscene".

He also criticised the blessing of two gay priests at a "wedding" performed earlier this year in a City of London church.

He also said he had nothing against gay people as many of his friends were of that "persuasion" but added he was against "the militant preaching of homosexuality".

David Allison, spokesman for gay rights group Outrage, had said: "It's the kind of remark you might expect from a drunk on a Saturday night, not someone in a supposedly responsible position."

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