We Are Church Ireland denounce Vatican for "spiritual abuse" against LGBTQ+ people of faith

Among the global outcry over the Vatican's recent statement, We Are Church Ireland are calling for clergy to stand with LGBTQ+ people of faith.

A statue of the Pope alongside a Pride flag, We Are Church Ireland recently spoke out against Vatican

We Are Church Ireland strongly condemned the Vatican statement banning the blessing of same-sex unions as an “an act of violence” and “spiritual abuse” against LGBTQ+ people of faith. 

Amid global backlash to the Vatican forbidding clergy from blessing same-sex unions and using anti-LGBTQ+ language, We Are Church Ireland have come forward to denounce the statement as “both theologically flawed and outdated as well as profoundly lacking pastorally.” The advocacy group further called out the ruling for making a “mockery of any talk of synodality and inclusivity.”

Speaking of the Vatican statement, We Are Church Ireland wrote, “Many LGBTQ+ Catholic people experience it as an act of violence, spiritual abuse, an attack on their goodness and love. Many others are revulsed by its language. Its condemnatory stance is unworthy of a Christian church, although sadly not unprecedented coming from the CDF, but it is dispiriting to see Pope Francis signing off on it.”

The group called on Irish priests and bishops to stand with the LGBTQ+ community and bless same-sex unions. On Twitter, Fr Gerry O’Connor of the Association of Catholic Priests wrote, “Let me be absolutely clear . . . our gay brothers and sisters will always be welcome at Assumption Church . . . their presence is a blessing to our community . . . and like the banner outside our church says, ‘God’s house, your home’ . . . all are welcome in this place.”

Around the world, members of the Church are standing against the Vatican statement and demanding a more inclusive environment for LGBTQ+ people of faith. On Wednesday, March 17, former priest and LGBTQ+ activist Andrés Gioeni disavowed his faith to a Buenos Aires suburb bishopric in protest to the ruling.

Appealing for the head of the Catholic Church, Archbishop Eamon Martin, to take action, Dr Mary McAleese commended the priests who have stood up against the Vatican. She further called out the ruling, “Heartache and hurt fired like a missile from the centre of governance of the Church. Foolishly, I dared to hope the language might reflect a growing awareness of the damage Church language has already wrought.”

While the Vatican statement marks a worrying step backwards, groups such as We Are Church Ireland and clergy around the world are fighting back to create a more inclusive environment. Despite the Church’s discriminatory actions, LGBTQ+ people of faith are still supported in living and believing openly.

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