“The World Meeting of Families is a unique opportunity to confront inequality, discrimination and hate. It can provide global leadership on inclusion.”
Speaking in Copenhagen on Friday, Minister Katherine Zappone said that that Pope Francis’ visit to Ireland for the World Meeting of Families should promote inclusion of LGBT people.
“The eyes of the world will be on Dublin,” she said. “Indeed some of the biggest audiences will be in countries where LGBTI people are discriminated against, threatened and abused.
“The World Meeting of Families is a unique opportunity to confront such inequality, discrimination and hate. It can provide global leadership on inclusion.”
Zappone’s comments come after a bishop’s comments expressing conciliatory views on same-sex couples raising children were edited out of a video promoted by the World Meeting of Families.
The comments were made by Bishop David O’Connell, originally from Cork but now based in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.
The video is one of a number of clips produced for the ‘Amoris: Let’s talk Family! Let’s be Family!’ programme ahead of the World Meeting of Families.
In the section of the Amoris video which deals with the reality of family life, Dr O’Connell recognises the different configurations of families today, including single parents or a gay couple raising children.
In the original video clip, he stated: “Pope Francis, he gets it. He gets it that our society has changed so much in the last couple of generations.
“We have all sorts of configurations of families now, whether it’s just the traditional family of mum and dad together, or it’s now mum on her own or dad on his own, or a gay couple raising children, or people in second marriages. No matter what the configuration of the family is, the call is still to adults to think about how to provide the best, most loving, faithful environment for children possible.”
The editing of the bishop’s comments follows a campaign by the conservative Catholic group Lumen Fidei to have the image of a same-sex couple removed from a booklet produced to accompany the ‘Amoris: Let’s talk Family! Let’s be Family!’ parish programme.
Former President Mary McAleese warned that the editing out of Bishop O’Connell’s “words of welcome and reassurance to LGBTI Catholics and their families” sends “a strong message that they will not be welcome to attend the Dublin World Meeting of Families”.
In her Copenhagen speech, which was made at the Conference on Private and Family Life for LGBTI People, Minister Zaponne expressed her hopes the event “will not be used as a platform for remarks which exclude, isolate or hurt any family,” and that “the event organised by the Catholic Church will not be used as a platform” for any such remarks.
“LGBTI families, like all families, should be celebrated and not excluded – that’s the message that should be coming not just from the World Meeting of Families, but from all who believe in justice, equality and fairness,” she said.
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