Melbourne Archbishop Peter Comensoli has enlisted the LGBTI community to help the church set a new direction after years of scandal and internal unrest. In an unprecedented move that has divided some within the church, the Archdiocese this month invited gay Catholics to a 2½-hour meeting at which they discussed how the institution should change with the times.
The session formed part of consultations for what will next year be the most significant conference Australian Catholic bishops have held in 80 years: the Plenary Council 2020. But insiders admit the decision to seek the advice of the LGBTI community "stirred unease" among some hardliners who feared the conference could result in radical change, at a time when issues such as the ordination of female priests and the relaxing of mandatory celibacy rules are already hotly contested.
Others viewed it as a positive step, hopeful that it would mark the start of a more inclusive relationship between the Archdiocese and LGBTI Catholics, following longstanding acrimony over same-sex marriage and religious discrimination in schools.
"It's not about opening the door to LGBTI people of faith, because we're already here," said the Andrews government's Commissioner for Gender and Sexuality, Ro Allen, who attended the session. "It's about including us and embracing us as equal." Read more via The Age