LGBT people made to feel like ‘lepers’ by Catholic Church, says priest
LGBT+ people have been made to feel like lepers by the Catholic Church, Jesuit priest Fr James Martin yesterday told the audience at the World Meeting of Families in Dublin.
Martin is a well known advocate for LGBT+ people within the Church, and has previously caused controversy for his views.
He addressed the World Meeting of Families, a Catholic event that takes place every three years, in what is thought to be the first ever Vatican organised event to focus on LGBT+ issues.
Contrary to popular Catholic teaching, Martin told delegates at the event yesterday that excluding LGBT+ people from the Church violated the teachings of Jesus.
“Let your LGBT brothers and sisters know that you stand with them,” he said. “Be courageous.”
“By excluding LGBT Catholics, you are breaking up God’s family.”
He also told those gathered that LGBT+ people are “as much a part of the Church as Pope Francis, your local bishop, your pastor, or anybody.”
“It’s not a question of making them Catholic, they already are,” he added.
He also criticised “homophobic” pastors, and said that parishes need to listen to LGBT+ people.
“LGBT people are more than their sexual lives,” he added. “If you talk about chastity with LGBT people, do it as much with straight people.”
Martin told PinkNews earlier this month that the Vatican proposed the talk.
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“By proposing that topic, they’re telling LGBT Catholics something important: this is your church too,” he said.
His addition to the event’s line-up was the source of significant controversy from members of the Church. A petition to have him removed from the event was signed by 10,000 people, however event planners refused to remove him.
Speaking about the petition, Martin told PinkNews that he wasn’t bothered by it, saying that “hatred and homophobia are rooted mainly in fear.”
The World Meeting of Families has been the source of controversy in recent months after it was revealed that they removed images of LGBT+ people from their booklet.
Several Catholic LGBT+ groups have also come forward to say that they were excluded from the event, and told that there was no room for them.
The Global Network of Rainbow Catholics was space for a stand, with an official saying the decision was due to “uncertainties over the amount of space we will have available for exhibitions because of other logistical considerations.”