“The world will be waiting for whatever statement Pope Francis is going to make as he lands in an Ireland that has unbound itself from the dominion of the Catholic Church through voting for gay marriage and access to abortion.”
Ireland was a very different place the last time a Pope visited. In 1979, when Pope John Paul II embarked on his whirlwind tour, he was greeted like a rock star by a country that seemed devoted to the Roman Catholic Church. John Paul behaved like a rock star too, driving around in his ‘Pope Mobile’ to touch the hands of delirious fans, kissing the ground when he touched down in Dublin airport, and declaring his “love” for the young people of Ireland. Not the gay ones, though: seven years later he would write that homosexuals had a “strong tendency ordered toward an intrinsic moral evil”.
Our current Pope is less nasty about the LGBTs, or might we say, a little more on the fence. He’s said a few things about gay people over the years to move the tone a little to the left of the arch-conservatism of previous pontiffs, such as, “who am I to judge them?” and, “We have to find a way to help that father or that mother to stand by their [LGBT] son or daughter.” But in June he reiterated the Catholic line on same-sex marriage, saying: “It is painful to say this today: People speak of varied families, of various kinds of family,” but “the family [as] man and woman in the image of God is the only one.”
At the World Meeting of Families (WMOF) next week American author Fr James Martin, will discuss ways “parishes can support families with members who identify as LGBTI+” at WMF. Fr Martin has suggested that same-sex attraction should be referred to as “differently ordered” rather than “intrinsically disordered,” as the Catechism of the Catholic Church continues to state.
However the Catholic LGBT organisation Global Network of Rainbow Catholics, who applied to have a paid-for exhibition stand at WMOF were ignored until the last minute, and then were told that there’s not enough space for them. At exactly the same time as they got the official rejection, other organisations were being offered stands, free of charge, which suggests there was actually a surfeit of space.
Images of same-sex parented families were removed from official literature, as was the following statement: “While the Church upholds the ideal of marriage as a permanent commitment between a man and a woman, other unions exist which provide mutual support to the couple. Pope Francis encourages us to never exclude but to accompany these couples also, with love, care and support”.
A Changed Ireland
What shall Pope Francis say when he touches down in Ireland next Saturday? The world will be waiting for whatever statement he’s going to make as he lands in an Ireland that has unbound itself from the dominion of the Catholic Church through voting for gay marriage and access to abortion. An Ireland that wants to address a past that’s overshadowed by the cruel injustices meted out and tacitly condoned by the Church in the name of its God.
The Church had a prime place in the injustice of continuing to criminalise homosexuality in this country until 1993, while the homosexual people are objectively disordered and homosexual acts are intrinsically immoral and contrary to the natural law is part of the Catholic-dominated past we need to consistently free ourselves from.
The appearance of Fr James Martin at WMOF is nothing but lip-service, and as we’ve seen WMOF seeks to exclude rather than include our families. However, the event never could have actually included our families while the Catholic Church still teaches that we are disordered. A total reversal of that ideology is the only way gay Catholics can ever be actually included.
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