A Catholic bishop has compared homosexuality to Down's Syndrome and has also said rape victims should not have abortions as a way of getting back at the rapist.
Speaking in the run-up to the spring meeting of Ireland's Catholic bishops, the Bishop of Elphin Kevin Doran implied that being gay was a disability, when asked whether he believed being born gay could be what God intended.
"That would be to suggest that if some people are born with Down's syndrome or Spina Bifida, that that was what God intended either," he told NewsTalk Breakfast radio.
Currently the same-sex adoption bill is being discussed by the Irish Parliament. The country is holding an equal marriage referendum in May.
Bishop Doran said he did not believe gay marriage was possible. "Everyone above a certain age has the right to marry but I can't marry my mother and I can't marry my sister, and by the same token, I can't marry someone of the same sex."
Straight marriage was directed towards the upbringing and the care of children while gay marriage was not, he added.
"They can't be said to be the same." When it was pointed out to him that there were already gay parents in Ireland, he said: "But they're not parents."
Asked about the morality of abortions where the mother is a victim of rape, the bishop said: "Objectively speaking, to kill another human being is always sinful.
"The child is still a human being, you don't destroy a life in order to get back at the mother's rapist.
"Women themselves vary in their view of this. I had the experience many years ago of talking to a woman who had been raped and had become pregnant.
"She called me one evening and said the baby had died in the womb.
"I kind of said that I thought perhaps, maybe you would have been somewhat relieved and she said 'No, you don't understand. The only good thing I had was that child'."
Later, the Bishop of Elphin was reported as saying he regretted any hurt caused by his words on same-sex marriage.
Archbishop Eamon Martin, Primate of All Ireland, told journalists that Bishop Doran had told him last night that he was sorry for any offence he may have caused.
Dr Martin said he was confident that Bishop Doran did not intend any hurt, but admitted that sometimes, things that are said can seem insensitive.