Pic: Jeffrey Bruno
A major international Catholic family conference, which the Pope will attend, has been accused of sidelining an LGBTI Catholic organisation that hoped to exhibit at the event.
The GNRC (Global Network of Rainbow Catholics), representing 32 LGBTI Catholic groups from around the world, applied in April to exhibit at the World Meeting of Families, taking place from 21 to 26 August in Dublin, Ireland.
Last month, the GNRC said it was “deeply dismayed and disappointed” after its request was simply ignored by the organisers, but it has now finally received a response.
Paul McCann, exhibition coordinator for WMF, told the organisation that its application had not been successful because of “uncertainties over the amount of space we will have available for exhibitions because of other logistical considerations.”
GNRC fears, however, that it is being sidelined and responded to McCann that it hopes that the decision “had nothing to do with our work for LGBT equality.”
Another inclusive group, We Are Church Ireland, has also not been allowed to take an exhibition stand at the conference. It accused the organisers of “double standards”. Spokesperson Brendan Butler, said that the conference’s claim that ‘all are welcome’ is a “contradiction and is just a public relations slogan.”
Christopher Vella, Co-Chair of GNRC, commented earlier: “This seems to follow a historical pattern of editing-out LGBTI voices and Catholic LGBTI stories, the faith-filled voices of our loving Catholic families and affirming church communities.”
“We believe that officials at the World Meeting of Families did not want to deal with further controversy related to the inclusion of Catholic LGBTI realities. Rather than face the fallout from a decision, they stalled and ignored our request.”
Vella added: “There are millions of Catholics who are LGBTI, and hundreds of millions who have LGBTI family members. They deserve effective ministry and pastoral care, just like everyone else in our Church.”
The World Meeting of Families is organised by the Catholic church every three years and “brings together families from across the world to celebrate, pray and reflect upon the central importance of marriage and the family as the cornerstone of our lives, of society and of the Church.”
According to official Catholic policy, gay sexuality is defined as “acts of grave depravity”, as “intrinsically disordered” and “contrary to the natural law”.