Drunk priest punches mourner

2010-04-01 22:11

Toulouse - A French Catholic bishop apologised on Thursday after a priest turned up drunk to preside over a funeral and then punched a mourner in the face.

"Father Bonaventure (Ouedraogo) ... arrived at the funeral in a state that was not compatible with his ministry," said Archbishop Robert Le Gall in a statement. "I again offer my apologies to the family."

Relatives of the deceased described how they told the priest, who is from the west African state Burkina Faso, that they did not want him to preside over the funeral held on Tuesday near the south-western city of Toulouse.

They then prevented him from getting back into his car because he was too drunk to drive, said Gerard Tillier, the brother of the deceased woman.

The priest fell to the ground and when a man tried to help him to his feet, he punched him in the face, said Tillier.

"A priest who hits his parishioners, that's a new one, and who turns up drunk, let's not even talk about it!" he said.