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Mulcair's communications director apologizes for past anti-Catholic tweets

TORONTO — A senior aide to New Democrat Leader Tom Mulcair apologized Tuesday after past tweets surfaced in which he took aim at the Roman Catholic church.

The two-year-old tweets by Shawn Dearn, hired in February as Mulcair's director of communications, were also directed at the Pope.

"Memo to CBC and all media," one of them reads. "Stop calling the misogynist, homophobic, child-molesting Catholic church a 'moral authority.' It's not."

However, in a tweet to his followers late Tuesday, Dearn apologized.

"Some tweets that pre-dated my current role were offensive and do not reflect my views," he said. "They are being deleted and I apologize sincerely."

It was not immediately clear how the past tweets resurfaced.

Within hours of the Twitterverse taking new note of the posts, Dearn made his Twitter account private and therefore inaccessible to most users.

Dearn took aim at Pope Benedict for saying Britain's human-rights policy on gay equality violated natural law. Dearn is married to a man.

The tweet used an offensive expletive in connection with the Pope.

Dearn's tweets sparked strong reaction on social media.

Mulcair himself was not immediately available to comment.

Party spokesman George Soule conceded the posts were offensive.

"Earlier tonight, a campaign staff person was reminded of tweets posted prior to taking his position," Soule said.

"These tweets were inappropriate and offensive to many, and are being deleted. He has apologized."

The furor over the tweets came a day after the Conservatives dropped two candidates when past distasteful surfaced in videos — one for urinating in a home-owner's coffee mug and another for prank calling about Viagra and posing as a mentally disabled person.

Also Tuesday, the Tories' Bay of Quinte Electoral District Association fired a board member for posting offensive views.

Sue MacDonell had posted on Facebook that a Cree woman recently crowned Mrs. Universe was a monster and a "smug entitled Liberal pet."

Colin Perkel, The Canadian Press

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