Gender & Sexuality LGBT Faith News

Vatican-backed family rally to have speech on welcoming gays

St. Peter's Square
People watch Pope Francis as he recites the Angelus noon prayer from the window of his studio overlooking St. Peter's Square, at the Vatican, on June 10, 2018. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)

VATICAN CITY (AP) — An international family rally the Catholic Church is hosting in Ireland will feature workshops on hot-button issues facing Catholic families, including protecting children from clergy sexual abuse, weathering divorce and ministering to lesbian and gay faithful.

Pope Francis will join the Aug. 21-26 World Meeting of Families for the last two days and preside over the final Mass in Dublin.

The Rev. James Martin, a Jesuit priest and author of “My Life with the Saints.” Photo courtesy of Nutopia

Organizers on Monday unveiled the pastoral program leading up to Francis’ arrival, and it includes some surprising entries. Perhaps none is more surprising than the inclusion of the Rev. James Martin, an American Jesuit scheduled to deliver a presentation on welcoming LGBT Catholics and their families into parishes.

Martin, author of “Building a Bridge,” about Catholic outreach to the LGBT community, has had several talks canceled in the United States in recent months because of pressure from conservative groups who oppose his call for the church to better accompany gay Catholics.

Martin told The Associated Press it was “immensely significant” that a Vatican-backed meeting would include his presentation, saying it showed “that LGBT Catholics and their parents are an important part of our church.”

“The message from the Vatican to LGBT Catholics is this: you belong,” he said.

Martin recalled that during the previous World Meeting of Families, held in Philadelphia in 2015, the only official event about gay Catholics featured a gay man and his mother speaking about chastity.


RELATED: Hundreds shut out of sole session on gays at World Meeting of Families


Martin’s talk is not the only meeting event indicating that organizers were keen to follow Francis’ lead and reach out to some of the most marginalized Catholics. Other workshops are on Catholics suffering from addiction and domestic violence, coping with family members in prison and homelessness.

Others are perhaps addressed to a broader audience: how to find time to pray in a digital age, women in leadership, teenagers in the digital world.

One of the major panels is on child protection, and features the pope’s top adviser on sexual abuse prevention, Cardinal Sean O’Malley. Joining him is Marie Collins, an Irish survivor of abuse who resigned from O’Malley’s panel last year in frustration over the Vatican’s resistance to listening to victims.

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Nicole Winfield

45 Comments

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  • When the starting point is zero I suppose you have to start somewhere, and little baby steps like this is a start. But when Fr. Martin says, “The message from the Vatican to LGBT Catholics is this: you belong,” I’ll be more inclined to believe it when the Vatican says, “you belong in the same manner that everyone else here belongs, meaning we will bless your love as we do other people’s love.” Since that will only happen long after I’m dead (if it happens at all) I’ll leave it to other people to celebrate these itty bitty baby steps towards actual justice. But as long as the church withholds its blessing on gay people’s love, we really don’t belong, not in the fullest, truest sense. At this point, we are still effectively shut out from the Roman Church’s sacraments – and that’s a scandal.

  • To quote from Mr. E’s post:

    “Fr. Martin says, ‘The message from the Vatican to LGBT Catholics is this: you belong,’ I’ll be more inclined to believe it when the Vatican says, ‘you belong in the same manner that everyone else here belongs, meaning we will bless your love as we do other people’s love.'”

    Actually, that IS the key issue. What does the Vatican mean by this phrase “You Belong”? Does it mean full and open acceptance & welcoming of Gay Marriages within the Catholic Church? Does it mean the Official Catechism’s public description of LGBT as “objectively disordered”, will now be publicly deleted from the Official book?

    Well, you already know the answer to all those questions. Martin is the absolute spokesman of Pope Francis on this topic. So the real answer is flat-out, “YES, absolutely yes, but please give us time to sneak in gay marriage through the backdoor, so the rank-&-file Catholics won’t have the gumption to fight back.” Not a good situation, folks.

  • Perhaps the Vatican is trying to repair the damage that has been done over the past many years to the Irish Church hierarchy’s public image.

  • No need to “sneak in” changes to official Catholic doctrine on LGBTQ relationships. Most Catholics in the West support our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters including same-sex marriage. Better late than never, perhaps.

  • “A half a loaf is better than none.”

    “Will the last person leaving the Vatican turn off the lights?”

  • That reminds me: is the Vatican still pretending that contraception is forbidden, despite the overwhelming number of faithful Catholics who ignore church doctrine and use it anyway? This is the future of your church, fellas; ignore it at your peril.

  • Hmm. You say there’s “no need” to “sneak in” an utterly radical mess like gay marriage, into the Catholic Church.

    No need, you suggest, for all the backdoor chess moves we’ve been seeing so far from Messrs. Francis and Martin, in the media.

    Which raises the question, “Why are we seeing this ‘sneak’ stuff at all? Why all the baby steps, the chess moves?

    The answer is clear. American Catholics (not the West, just the Americans) do NOT wanna hear any direct words of “Gay Marriage and openly gay clergy are hereby officially 100% approved within the Catholic Church itself.” That would create a civil war. Hence, the backdoor.

  • “the rank-&-file Catholics”
    Two-thirds of rank-and-file Catholics are OK with gay marriage. Of course, they are not REAL CATHOLICS and so they will not be eligible to be part of the much holier, much smaller Catholic Church of which REAL CATHOLICS dream. They will, of course, be allowed to put their money in the collection plate.

  • You’re fairly correct IF you limit the poll topic to legalized gay marriage. The “civil law” stuff.

    But what about within the American Catholic Church itself? Ah, that’s where those Pew numbers can’t help you. There ain’t no “two-thirds” of rank-&-file American Catholics who are open to officially approved gay marriages within their OWN denomination, Catechism, clergy, their own churches. Oh no no.

    So at this time, anything other than “baby steps” and “back doors” will invite a Full Civil War.
    But you’ll be happy to know there IS a way for the gay-marriage supporters to win the game anyway. Hans Fiene points out a simple 8-Step Plan, to guarantee your victory. Enjoy!

    http://thefederalist.com/2016/09/14/8-steps-catholic-church-take-approve-gay-marriage-like-tim-kaine-expects/

  • “a Full Civil War”
    Since the Roman Catholic Church is not the only game in town, it is very unlikely that there will be a civil war within the Church. Much more likely is that the Church in the US and Europe will continue to shrink until all that is left is the very much holier, very very much smaller Church cherished by the REAL CATHOLICS.

  • No, it does not pretend that artificial contraception is forbidden.

    Nor does the State pretend that speeding is prohibited.

    You do as you wish – “nobody but nobody can tell me what to do” – and accept the consequences.

  • As I understand it, you are not shut out of the sacrament of Penance in the Catholic Church.

    If you are sorry and intend to amend your behavior, you can be shriven with no problems.

    Having accomplished that, the sacrament of the Eucharist is then available to you.

    If you’re not sorry and intend to pay zero attention to its teachings, you’ve shut yourself out of that denomination’s sacraments, which is hardly a scandal.

  • Yes, that denomination has been crystal clear.

    Same sex inclinations is not a bar to being Catholic.

    Acting on the inclinations is.

  • “Two-thirds of rank-and-file Catholics are OK with gay marriage.”

    I am rather certain you will be unable to provide a citation for that.

  • As it turns out in the US it is not shrinking.

    Now the Episcopal Church and United Church of Christ, both of whom see things your way, ARE shrinking.

    That does not give one a warm feeling you have the beginning of a clue as to what is going on or where things are headed.

  • I bet you think you’re really clever for coming up with that bit of adolescent humor. But really, all you did was focus attention on your own subliminal fixations, which says way more about you than it does about Fr. Martin.

  • When you respond to a comment with the equivalent of ‘I’m rubber and you’re glue!’, you have no business talking about cleverness whatsoever.
    Listen, if you’re that desperate to meet ‘father’ Martin, just send him your email address and directions to the bathroom stall of your choice.
    Schedule permitting, he’ll be there.

  • It’s appropriate, since you and Martin have most likely had actual third-graders in actual bathrooms.

  • No backdoor at all. Francis has been quite open in “stirring the pot” with unofficial comments to generate discussion about controversial matters, e.g., a footnote in his “Amoris Laetitia” about communion for divorced and remarried Catholics, an airplane comment about gays, an impromptu wedding aboard an airliner. He does not seem interested in exercising a command-and-control approach to ecclesial decision-making, preferring, instead, to let national bishops’ conferences tackle matters better left to them than to the curia, e.g., liturgical translation.

  • FACT: A majority of Catholic laypeople support same-sex marriage.

    You have trouble with facts.

  • Not surprisingly, you’re out of the loop. Even the wacko right-wing Catholic website accepts the fact that 2 out of 3 Catholics support gay marriage.

    https://www.lifesitenews.com/blogs/more-catholics-support-gay-marriage-than-ever-before.-heres-why

    Two years after the U.S. Supreme Court approved “same-sex marriage,” two out of three Catholics — a whopping 67 percent — told Pew Poll Surveyors that they now support “gay marriage.”

    The stunning statistic is nearly identical to mainline Protestant support (68 percent), and is way above black Protestant (44 percent) and white Evangelicals (35 percent) support. The only religious group that exceeds Catholic and mainline Protestant support is the catch-all religiously unaffiliated (85 percent).

  • Yeah, we get it. You hate the gay. Are you yet another self-loathing closet case? I’d bet $$$ on it.

  • Save your money on the prostitutes you have to hire for basic human companionship.
    I hate neither gays nor myself; I do gladly admit to despising the sickening hypocrite James Martin and those who blindly slobber at his feet.
    But hey, at least you can say you have something in common with Anna Wintour besides your lingerie.

  • Your cherished President needs prostitutes. I have been with my partner for well over 30 years, legally married 10. Hateful believers like you are sociopaths.

  • Cherished President?
    You mean the syphilitic imbecile currently on his ‘Dictatorship Glorification!’ world tour?
    I was hoping Kim would keep him.

  • It’s always seemed stunningly obvious to me that it is celibacy that is “objectively disordered”.

  • Try the Pew site–I forget the exact name of the site. Pewresearch.org? Somethig like that.

  • Bob? Bob Arnzen? Somebody’s made a remark referencing the abuse scandal. Your usual response is to accuse them of being anti-Catholic and hypocritical. Where are you??

  • He appears to be snarking James Martin, SJ, personally.

    I read it, thought it was tacky, but it did not generalize to either the Society of Jesus or the Catholic Church.

    Do you disagree?

  • Apparently, so do you. That’s what happens when you rely on Fox News’ propaganda.

  • I don’t agree.

    A fair reading of it is that he dislikes James Martin, SJ, and that consistent with all of his other posts he lacks tact and temperance.

  • Perhap Father Paul Shanley, former inmate numer W84979, can be a guess speaker representing the NAMBLA contingent. They are welcome to, right? (St. Michael protect us)

  • “If you’re not sorry and intend to pay zero attention to its teachings…”
    Gee, that shuts out most of the patriarchs who rule with impunity from pulpits across the globe.

  • Let’s see, you hate men, you hate authority, you hate Catholics, and so on.

    Why should I care?

  • I despise men who behave as if their gender gives them carte blanche to subject females to their whims and avarice. The ones that use religious manuscripts to justify it can be particularly heinous as the effort is strongest in providing them support…instead of their victims.
    You incorrectly assume…again, like any other patriarchal authoritarian.

  • I despise women who see everything in terms of power, in self, and in contest rather than in cooperation and a common good as part of the human family.

    You despise men, you hate authority, and you hate Catholics – a critic, not a builder.

    Again, why should I care?

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