We Are Church Ireland, an organisation promoting diversity in the Catholic Church, has received a communication from an anonymous source within the World Meeting of Families (WmoF). It includes a copy of a circular from WMoF sent out towards the end of July to selected groups, offering them free exhibition stands at the RDS from August 22 to 25.
While free exhibition stands are being offered to certain groups, We Are Church Ireland, which promotes LGBT rights among others, have had their paid application for a stand ignored.
An organisation representing LGBT Catholics around the world has been also been denied permission for a stand at WmoF, which Pope Francis will be visiting next week. The Global Network of Rainbow Catholics (GNRC), which represents 60 organisations, applied to exhibit last April. After repeated queries as to the status of the application, the GNRC was told last week that it had been rejected.
According to the GNRC, Paul McCann, the exhibition coordinator for WMF, said the application had been unsuccessful because of “uncertainties over the amount of space we will have available for exhibitions because of other logistical considerations”.
‘The double standards being used by the WMoF are now exposed by this latest revelation. Its theme that ‘All are welcome’ is a contradiction and is just a public relations slogan’ said Brendan Butler of We Are Church Ireland.
Fianna Fáil Representative for Dublin Rathdown, Justin McAleese, said that he knew of “large commercial businesses who have been offered stands for free at WMOF as recently as two weeks ago.
“Yet, LGBT groups who applied through the appropriate channels and paid their deposits have been rejected on grounds of so-called ‘space problems’.”
Since January WMoF has removed pictures of gay couples and positive language about gay people from its literature and online videos. One of the key speakers at the event is Rocco Buttiglione, a former Italian politician who has previously described homosexuality as immoral.
“Buttiglione’s nomination as European Commissioner with Responsibility for Human Rights was withdrawn because of these comments as well as his conservative views on women,” said McAleese. “He is getting the red-carpet welcome to the event meanwhile LGBT people aren’t allowed to be seen or heard.”
Citing the 2016 LGBTIreland study carried out at Trinity College, which found that 56 per cent of LGBT+ 12 to 18 year-olds had self-harmed, 70 per cent had suicidal thoughts and one in three had attempted suicide, McAleese said: There are over 95,000 LGBT+ students in Irish schools today – you could fill the Papal event at Knock twice with these students but yet the Roman Catholic Church is happy to ignore them and brand them as second-class citizens.
“As the patron of the majority of these schools in Ireland, what is the RCC and the WMOF doing to protect and vindicate the health and well-being of these students in their care? Will the organisers of WMOF answer that question?”
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