Pictures of same-sex couples have been censored from a booklet promoting a Catholic event in Dublin which will be attended by the Pope.
Pope Francis is expected to attend the World Meeting of Families event in August, a meeting of Catholic activists and preachers that is a keystone in the Church’s global agenda.
The booklet contained a stock image of two women embracing on page 24, leading to criticism from the powerful anti-LGBT Catholic lobby.
A message in the booklet accompanying the image said: “While the Church upholds the ideal of marriage as a permanent commitment between a man and a woman, other unions exist which provide support to the couple.
“Pope Francis encourages us never to exclude but to accompany these couples also, with love, care and support.”
In all, six images which could be interpreted as a gay couple have been replaced in a new edition of the booklet by images of families of a father, mother and children.
While organisers claim the event will be “open to all”, the Irish Independent reports that former President of Ireland, Dr Mary McAleese, said “the history of the event does not bode well in that regard”.
“For example, LGBTI Catholics and their families who in good faith attended the 2015 meeting held in Philadelphia have reported that they experienced traumatising hostility,” she said.
“Ireland can and hopefully will do better than that.”
Dr McAleese added that the event should be “a fully inclusive and welcoming event for all God’s children and in particular those whom the Church has in the past contributed to marginalising and excluding”.
In a statement to The Tablet, a spokesperson for the World Meeting of Families did not explain the censorship.
They instead said: “The principal aim of the 2018 Dublin World Meeting of Families is to highlight the message and spirit of Pope Francis’ Exhortation Amoris Laetitia.
“The meeting has always been understood as a meeting open to all. This remains the position of the World Meeting of Families in Dublin.”