The vicar who came under fire for suggesting gays should have warnings tattooed on their bodies has published response in a local newspaper.

Rev Peter Mullen, rector of St Michael’s Cornhill and St Sepulchre without Newgate in the Citywas summoned to a meeting with the Diocese of London officials to explain himself after publishing homophobic comments on his blog.

In one entry, he wrote:

“Let us make it obligatory for homosexuals to have their backsides tattooed with the slogan SODOMY CAN SERIOUSLY DAMAGE YOUR HEALTH and their chins with FELLATIO KILLS.”

In others he called gay people an unnatural perversion and wrote a poem about the blessing of the civil partnership of two gay priests in which he used derogatory language.

Rev Mullen’s blog entries have been deleted and he has made a public apology.

His regular column in the Northern Echo continues, and today he published a response to criticism after the blog incident.

The column says that Rev Mullen regrets “making some off-colour jokes about homosexuals on [his] website.” He also claims that the Evening Standard took his words out of context.

Rev Mullen claims he “was not criticising individual homosexuals,” that “many homosexual men and women” are his close friends, and cites the fact that he voted in favour of the Homosexual Reform Act of 1967 as proof of his good will towards gays and lesbians.

Rev Mullen goes on to claim that his outrage stems from the fact that he believes that “homosexual campaigners have not kept to the… spirit of the generous Act of 1967,” by “promoting homosexuality” instead of keeping it a private matter.

The 66-year-old reverend concludes that he is opposed to all casual sex, heterosexual or homosexual, and that he was amused by Sandi Toksvig’s joke about him on BBC Radio 4’s News Quiz:

“I was glad to hear the comedienne Sandy Toksvig, on Radio Four’s The News Quiz, turn the joke back on me.

“She said: ‘Peter Mullen is Chaplain to the Stock Exchange, so he must know what it feels like to be completely buggered!’

“That’s a funnier joke than the remarks I told and a lot better natured.”