The Association of Catholics in Ireland (ACI) has said it "strongly supports Pope Francis's desire" to make the World Meeting of Families (WMoF 2018) in Dublin next August "an inclusive occasion, open to all".
In a statement it said "everyone who supports this approach will be concerned by recent interventions by some conservative elements in the church who appear ready to obstruct the inclusive and compassionate approach advocated by Pope Francis.
“We must act to ensure that those in our church and our society who feel marginalised and unwanted have a forum where they can articulate their particular concerns and describe the realities of life for their families in Ireland today – a forum where they can speak freely, knowing that they will be heard with compassion and respect.”
The ACI has decided to host such a forum and announced a pre-WMoF 2018 public event for Saturday, April 14th at the Hilton Hotel, Charlemont Place in Dublin.
“We have invited speakers who will represent family groups of all backgrounds and circumstances – those separated and divorced, disenfranchised youth and homeless families, victims of abuse and those marginalised or estranged by society and the church, including members of the LGBT community,” it said.
WmoF2018 “coincides with a most serious generational divide in the Irish church, as younger people increasingly walk away from the model of church their parents or grandparents grew up with,” it said. It was “a prime opportunity to examine the realities of family life in Ireland today, particularly for those who feel abandoned by or alienated from the church because of their circumstances,” it said.
The ACI is made up of lay Catholics and is committed to the pursuit of a reform and renewal agenda in the Irish Catholic Church based on the letter and spirit of Vatican II.