Irish LGBT+ Catholics Petition Pope To Change Church's 'Insulting' LGBT+ Language

A lay catholic lobby group has launched a petition to change language used by the church to describe the LGBT+ community ahead of World Meeting of Families in August.

WAC lobbyists stand at the Papal Cross where Pope will visit

Ursula Halligan has led an LGBT+ lobby group in publicising an online petition which calls on Pope Francis to change “insulting” language about LGBT+ community prior to his visit to Ireland.

LGBT+ people are described by catholic literature as “objectively disordered” and homosexual sex as “intrinsically evil”.

Prior to the marriage referendum in 2015, journalist Ursula Halligan came out in an inspiring, yet harrowing account of her life in the closet, penned for The Irish Times.

Halligan called for a yes vote as a Catholic and as a gay woman, hoping that its passing would end institutionalised homophobia.

The journalist in residence at Dublin City University is a member of We Are Church (WAC), a lay catholic group which campaigns for gender equality, women’s ordination and democracy in the church.

The petition was launched on Thursday with David Norris and the poet Pádraig Ó Tuama at the papal cross in the Phoenix Park. The pope is scheduled to celebrate mass on August 26 here as part of the World Meeting of Families (WMF).

“I find the language very upsetting,” Halligan said. “When I walk into a church, I think, is this how people see me — objectively disordered? That’s not good for any human being.

“If a business or company were to use such language, they would be publicly reprimanded and penalised by the state. The hierarchical church needs to wash its mouth out before speaking about LGBTQI [lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or questioning and intersex] people.”

Gay Catholic Pádraig Ó Tuama added “As a gay Catholic, I do not recognise myself in the language used about me in the church’s documents or teachings. The gospels depict the dignity of humanity, especially those who were castigated or marginalised. The Church would be more faithful to its witness to use language that builds bridges rather than diminishes dignity.”

The petition originally set a target of 500 signatories but as of this Monday afternoon, it has almost reached 800 signatures, including Fr Bernard Lynch who worked as an AIDS chaplain in New York.

WAC has submitted an application along with €1,000 deposit for a stand at the WMF event in the RDS but has received no confirmation that they have a spot.

“Why don’t they have a world meeting for LGBT people, and sit down and talk to us?” said Halligan who is due to conduct a public conversation with Mary McAleese at WAC’s annual meeting at Gonzaga College next Saturday.

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