The head of the catholic church in Ireland has stated that LGBT+ couples are “of course” welcome to volunteer at the World Meeting of Families (WMF) event in August.
The church is currently recruiting thousands of volunteers from “all walks of life from across the island of Ireland”.
The volunteer application deadline has been extended for the event which will include a visit from Pope Francis for the final two days of the meeting.
There had been earlier controversy over the exclusion of the LGBT+ community from WMF after images of a same-sex couple were removed from a booklet sent to parishes.
Answering a question from The Journal in Maynooth yesterday morning, Archbishop Martin said that LGBT+ members of the church are welcome to volunteer:
“I’ve absolutely no idea that anyone would be asked about their sexual orientation in becoming a volunteer,
“But I imagine that all of those who attend the World Meeting of the Families as visitors as participants … the difference here is we don’t necessarily reveal our particular sexuality when we’re coming along to any event and I imagine it’s the same for the World Meeting of the Families.”
Asked again whether same-sex couples would be welcome to volunteer, he said:
“Of course. At the world meeting of the families, this is a gathering of people to whom everyone is welcome. I know the families who are going there would be the last to say that they are perfect in any way
“Even in terms of living up to the teaching of the Church, we all struggle in that. As a bishop, I struggle in that. I’m welcome, I hope, at the World Meeting of the Families, but so is everyone where they are at in their particular journey of faith.
“It’s also a Catholic event, the World Meeting of the Families is an event of the Catholic Church. So I don’t think we make any apologies for the fact that the Catholic Church has a very clear teaching on marriage and the family.”
“Only two weeks ago I met with a mother whose daughter has just come out and said she’s a lesbian,” the Archbishop said.
“That particular mother… Her question for me is like she says ‘I love my faith and I love my daughter’. And I suppose as a mother church we too love our faith, we love the teaching of our church and all it stands for but we also love our people.”
Martin, who is the official host of WMF also said that there will be an event that “addresses that particular reality” over the course of the week-long programme.
Supporting LGBT+ Members At WMF
It has been announced that Father James Martin who has become known in recent years for his ministry of LGBT Catholics has accepted an invitation to speak at the World Meeting of Families.
‘The organizers have asked me to speak about how parishes can welcome L.G.B.T. Catholics, as well as their parents and families. So I hope to share ‘best practices’ from parishes that have successfully reached out to the L.G.B.T. Catholic community,” Father Martin told America.
The announcement came in a program published Monday, which says Father Martin will explore “how Parishes can support those families with members who identify as LGBTI+.”
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