The World Meeting of Families, the central religious event of Pope Francis' first visit to the United States, is intended to convey a message of love and joy as it seeks to promote church teaching on marriage. Yet weeks away from its opening in Philadelphia, friction is mounting as LGBT Roman Catholics lobby for a broader role in the event and organizers move to limit them.
The tensions surrounding the gathering will pose a real-world test of the pope's approach that emphasizes compassion and welcome while upholding Catholic doctrine that marriage is only between a man and a woman.
"We don't want to provide a platform at the meeting for people to lobby for positions contrary to the life of our church," said Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput, the meeting's host. Francis DeBernardo of New Ways Ministry, an advocacy group for LGBT Catholics, said Chaput and other U.S. bishops "are putting their heads in the sand."
The pope is scheduled to visit an outdoor Festival of Families and celebrate Mass the next day at the conclusion of the Meeting of Families. Among the more than 15,000 Catholics registered for the meeting are 22 people representing LGBT families on behalf of a coalition called Equally Blessed. Though no official speakers will convey their viewpoints, they hope to engage in conversations with other attendees. Read More via New York Times