In an address to the Dáil, the country’s first openly gay leader, An Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, stated the government will make it clear to the organisers of the Pope’s visit that, “Families in all their shapes and forms should be celebrated”.
“All types should be celebrated, including the traditional nuclear family with the man married to the woman with children, one-parent families, families led by grandparents, and families led by same-sex couples.”
The statement was delivered in answer to concerns from Robert Troy from Fianna Fáil that the Catholic Church might only welcome “traditional families” at the World Meeting Of Families in Dublin which Pope Francis will attend.
Troy described recent pamphlets and booklets produced by the church as moving away from depicting non-traditional families, he worried this highlighted a growing move to push those types of families out. He continued with how regrettable this would be for Ireland, “given the fact that it was as a country one of the first to have a referendum to establish marriage equality”.
As well as addressing these concerns, Leo Varadkar also suggested Pope Francis should meet with abuse victims during his trip. “Regarding survivors of Catholic institutions who were used, abused and mistreated in them, there is some indication…that the pontiff may wish to meet with former residents”.
Varadkar also expressed his decision on something else which has been a point of contention – who will pay for the Papal visit. “The majority of taxpayers in the country would want us to meet these costs as it is an historic visit. The vast majority of people will welcome Pope Francis to our country”.
An Taoiseach’s comments follow on the heels of comments made by Minister Katherine Zappone. During a conference in Copenhagen on LGBT family issues, she stated, “The eyes of the world will be on Dublin…The World Meeting of Families is a unique opportunity to confront such inequality, discrimination and hate. It can provide global leadership on inclusion”.
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