The Catholic Church will take an historic step towards embracing the LGBTIQ community at the World Meeting of Families in Dublin later this month.
Father James Martin (pictured) will speak about welcoming LGBTIQ people and their families into their parishes, a topic he says was proposed by the Vatican.
Pope Francis will attend the final two days of the triennial conference.
Father Martin told Pink News, “It was the Vatican who proposed what I think is a great topic: ‘Showing Welcome and Respect in our Parishes for LGBT People and their Families.’
“By proposing that topic, they’re telling LGBT Catholics something important: this is your church too.”
Thousands of people have called for the removal of the pro-LGBTIQ priest from the conference via a petition created by the Irish branch of ultra-conservative group Tradition Family Property (TFP), which opposes abortion and same-sex marriage.
But Father Martin told Pink News he was not bothered by such protests as they were motivated by hatred and homophobia which were rooted mainly in fear.
“Fear of the LGBT person as the ‘other.’ Fear of what might happen if we listen to the experience of LGBT Catholics. And, often, fear of one’s own complicated sexuality,” he said.
A spokesperson for the World Meeting of Families told Pink News that Father Martin is still set to speak at the event.
“With just over one week to go to the WMOF2018 pastoral congress in the RDS in Dublin, we are not expecting there to be any change to the line-up of speakers that have been invited to be part of the event,” the spokesperson said.
In June, the Vatican referred to queer people with the acronym ‘LGBT’ for the first time. The Catholic institution had previously only referred to LGBT people as “homosexuals” or “persons with homosexual tendencies” in official documents.
And only a month earlier, Pope Francis told Juan Carlos Cruz, a gay survivor of sexual abuse by a prominent Chilean priest: “God made you like this and loves you like this and I don’t care … You have to be happy with who you are.”