In a move that could further disfranchise Catholic LGBT people from the Church, a group of over 9,500 lay people have signed a petition to block James Martin, a pro-LGBT priest, from speaking at the World Meeting of Families. Martin, a priest from the US, is a long advocate of LGBT people in the church.
The Irish branch of Tradition, Family, Property (TFP) have been gathering thousands of signatures and a letter was sent to Dublin Archbishop Diarmuid Martin to stop the cleric from speaking at the event.
According to the Journal.ie, the letter to the Archbishop states that Martin's role in the event is in contradiction to the church's authority:
The hosting by your Archdiocese of the World Meeting of Families should be a joyful occasion for Ireland. The choice of Dublin as venue by Pope Francis should serve as a consolation for Ireland at a difficult time and is of course the effective reason for the Pope’s pastoral visit.
We are disappointed and greatly concerned that Fr James Martin, S.J. will speak at the event, casting a shadow over its proceedings. Fr Martin is well known for his dissent from Church teaching on sexual morality. He has articulated views which condone homosexual behaviour in contradiction of the Magisterium.
In the past Father Martin has openly spoken about baptised Catholics not feeling included in their own church:
Why wouldn’t we want to help baptised Catholics feel included in their own church? And the argument that they’re sinful is beside the point because we’re all sinful.
We need to see LGBT people as full members of the church, by virtue of their baptism. They need to know that God loves them and their church accepts them.
I’m tremendously grateful for this invitation, not so much for what it says about my own ministry or writing but what it says to LGBT Catholics, a group of people who have for so long felt excluded. I hope they see this invitation, which had to be approved by the Vatican, as an unmistakable sign of welcome from the church.
We Are Church Ireland, a group who campaigns for equal inclusion of women and LGBT people in the Church, revealed their application to be a part of The World Meeting of Families did not receive a response. The religious gathering takes place in Dublin from 21 to 26 August. Pope Francis will take part in the final two days of the meeting.