The Global Network of Rainbow Catholics (GNRC) is “deeply dismayed and disappointed” by the lack of response from officials overseeing the Catholic event that will see the Pope visit Ireland.
The GNRC represents 32 LGBTI Catholic groups from around the world and applied for an exhibit booth on 17th April 2018. Despite repeated requests for a decision about their application, and information that booth spaces are still available, GNRC has received no response.
Ruby Almeida, Co-Chair of GNRC, said they have felt completely ignored and very frustrated. “It was our hope that we could provide support to our fellow Catholics who have LGBTI family members. Many families have questions about how to best support gay and transgender family members, what the Church really teaches about us, and how and why we choose to remain Catholic.”
Almeida said that the lack of communication from WMF now means that they will not be able to attend as they have not been given enough time to organise the logistics of getting to the event.
The GNRC is not alone in not having received a response. We Are Church Ireland, a group of Catholics who lobby for LGBT+ rights, has also not been notified whether its booth application has been approved.
The silence regarding the groups’ outreach booth comes in the wake of a conflicted history on LGBT+ issues for World Meeting of Families 2018. A promotional booklet for the Vatican-sponsored event deleted images deemed to depict same-gender couples and their families.
Last week it came to light that a petition has been signed to block pro-LGBT+ priest Fr James Martin from attending.
A group calling themselves TFP (Tradition, Family, Property) amassed the signatures of over 10,250 people on their petition addressed to Archbishop Diarmuid Martin asking him to rescind Fr James’ invitation. They have a problem with his long-standing support for the LGBT+ community.
But in a statement, the WMOF organisers said that with just over a week to go to its pastoral congress in the RDS, “there will be no change to the line-up of speakers who have been invited to be part of the event.”
Talking about the backlash he gets for his views, Fr Martin told Independent.ie that he has received “oceans of hate and threats,” had “a few talks cancelled,” but said that it does not bother him.
“What kind of Jesuit would I be if I let hatred stop me from loving?” he said.
“Besides that, homophobia represents a very small percentage of Catholics, and I have the support of my Jesuit superiors, several cardinals, archbishops and bishops, and, also, the majority of the faithful, many of whom have LGBT people in their families.”
Speaking about those who send him angry messages, he said: “These protesters are not only on the wrong side of history, they’re on the wrong side of the Gospel.”
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