In a report last week at Ireland’s The Independent, we learned that Bishop Brendan Leahy of Limerick wants those involved in same-sex “marriages” to attend the World Meeting of Families in Ireland next year. “We’ve had the referendum in favour of same-sex marriage,” Leahy said, “and a lot of people voted in that referendum and all are equally welcome to join in this celebration of family.” Taking the issue further, he insisted that “Everyone must be made feel welcome next year.”
But his comments didn’t stand alone. According to the Irish website Gay Community News (GCN), the parish program produced in preparation for the event the features a “Pro LGBT+ Message”:
“While the Church upholds the ideal of marriage as a permanent commitment between a man and a woman, other unions exist which provide mutual support to the couple,” the program, entitled Amoris: Let’s talk Family! Let’s be Family!, reads.
“Pope Francis encourages us never to exclude but to accompany these couples also, with love, care and support.”
According to GCN, “This message is accompanied by an image of two women (with their heads cropped out) embracing each other on page twenty-four of the program.” The image in the brochure is as follows:
Adding insult to injury, GCN has featured their report, entitled “Irish Bishops Welcome Same-Sex Families at Catholic Conference”, as their front page cover story. The headline appears under a stock photo of two women preparing to kiss at their “wedding” while holding a sign saying “We are family!”. (Directly adjacent to the image is a piece of artwork too vulgar for us to display on 1P5):
Internet sleuths have already discovered the full image that was cropped in the World Meeting of Families Program, and it has been making the rounds on social media along with the accompanying quote:
This is not the first time the World Meeting of Families — an overtly Catholic event — has invited same-sex couples. In 2015, then-Bishop Vincenzo Paglia, then Pontifical Family Council President (now head of the Pontifical Academy for Life and the Pope John Paul II Institute for Marriage and Family) said, when asked if homosexual couples could come to the event, “Everyone can come, nobody is excluded. And if anyone feels excluded, I’ll leave the 99 little sheep and go and get him.” That same year, the Lepanto Institute revealed “that the president of the World Meeting of Families had donated thousands of dollars to political candidates that thoroughly support abortion and same-sex ‘marriage'” — a report which earned them a surprising rebuke from Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput.
It was also in 2015 that Ireland voted “overwhelmingly” to legalize same-sex marriage. The Archbishop of Dublin, Diarmuid Martin, said before the referendum that it was not his policy “to tell others how to vote.” Exactly one year and one day later, the Vatican announced that Ireland would be the location for the 2018 World Meeting of Families. In his presentation of the theme for the meeting, “The Gospel of the family, joy for the world,” Paglia indicated that the post-synodal apostolic exhortation Amoris Laeitita would be the “charter” for the meeting. “Amoris Laetitia,” said Paglia, “requires not a simple update of family pastoral ministry, but much more: a new way of living the Church, a new way of achieving the love that gladdens the life of the people of God, of families and of society itself. In this sense the Dublin meeting assumes a special nature compared to the other World Meetings.” Paglia also reminded Europeans that Francis had only recently “forcefully exhorted” them to “rediscover their humanistic vocation.”
In his own comments about the 2018 meeting, Archbishop Martin of Dublin said that Amoris Laetitia demanded “not a simple updating of family pastoral care, but much more — a new way of living the church, a new way of fulfilling that love that renders the life of the people of God, of families and of society happy.”
He also indicated that there was significance in the meeting being held in Ireland, which was being “marked by a delicate moment of transition”. Martin emphasized that the meeting would focus not only on the “Christian ideal” of marriage and family, but also serve as encouragement for those “who can’t achieve the Christian ideal”.
He emphasized that the meeting would be about “inclusivity”, in accordance with the pastoral approach of Pope Francis and the post-synodal exhortation.
Steve Skojec is the Founding Publisher and Executive Director of OnePeterFive.com. He received his BA in Communications and Theology from Franciscan University of Steubenville in 2001. His commentary has appeared in The New York Times, USA Today, The Washington Post, The Washington Times, Crisis Magazine, EWTN, Huffington Post Live, The Fox News Channel, Foreign Policy, and the BBC. Steve and his wife Jamie have seven children.