Church families gathering in Dublin must be inclusive – Zappone

Minister hopes event ‘will not be used... for remarks which exclude, isolate or hurt any family’

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Katherine Zappone: “LGBTI families, like all families, should be celebrated and not excluded – that’s the message that should be coming not just from the World Meeting of Families, but from all who believe in justice, equality and fairness.” File photograph: Getty Images

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Katherine Zappone: “LGBTI families, like all families, should be celebrated and not excluded – that’s the message that should be coming not just from the World Meeting of Families, but from all who believe in justice, equality and fairness.” File photograph: Getty Images

 

A Government Minister has said the Catholic Church’s World Meeting of Families, to take place in Dublin next August, must not be used to “exclude, isolate or hurt any family”.

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Katherine Zappone hopes the event, to be hosted by the Catholic Archdiocese of Dublin, “will not be used as a platform for remarks which exclude, isolate or hurt any family”.

She said she hopes “the event organised by the Catholic Church will not be used as a platform” for any such remarks.

There should be a welcome for all. And never again should public statements or remarks which seek to isolate certain families be tolerated

Noting that “the leadership of Pope Francis has given hope to many”, she says in a speech to be delivered on Friday that recent attempts “to exclude our former president Mary McAleese from an event in the Vatican, together with the airbrushing out of images of LGBTI families from certain church literature related to this event, is a source of serious concern”.

Addressing the Copenhagen Conference on Private and Family Life for LGBTI People, she notes “the international gathering is coming to a country where people want marriage equality, where adoption by LGBTI people is government policy, and where all families are fully respected. Organisers should reflect on that.

‘Discriminated against, threatened, abused’

“The eyes of the world will be on Dublin. Indeed some of the biggest audiences will be in countries where LGBTI people are discriminated against, threatened and abused,” she says.

“The World Meeting of Families is a unique opportunity to confront such inequality, discrimination and hate. It can provide global leadership on inclusion.

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Katherine Zappone said she hopes the Catholic Church’s World Meeting of Families, to be hosted by the Catholic Archdiocese of Dublin, “will not be used as a platform for remarks which exclude, isolate or hurt any family”. File photograph: Getty Images
Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Katherine Zappone said she hopes the Catholic Church’s World Meeting of Families, to be hosted by the Catholic Archdiocese of Dublin, “will not be used as a platform for remarks which exclude, isolate or hurt any family”. File photograph: Getty Images

“LGBTI families, like all families, should be celebrated and not excluded – that’s the message that should be coming not just from the World Meeting of Families, but from all who believe in justice, equality and fairness,” she says.

She notes how “equality is hard-fought, difficult to achieve, but more importantly it is also very fragile. As campaigners, as activists and as governments, we must ensure that no gathering, group or individual is ever allowed to undermine these rights”.

“All aspects of our public life must be inclusive. There should be a welcome for all. And never again should public statements or remarks which seek to isolate certain families be tolerated,” she says.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has said the Government was preparing for the visit of Pope Francis to Ireland later this year as if it were a State visit.

“So Pope Francis will be given the full supports of the State in terms of protocol, security and any other matters,” he told the Dáil.