Pope urged to meet same-sex parents after ‘alarming’ comments

Lay Catholic group dismayed at Pope’s claim that ‘only heterosexual couples’ can form a family

 Pope Francis meets  the Forum of Family Associations in the Clementine Hall at the Vatican on Saturday. Photograph: EPA

Pope Francis meets the Forum of Family Associations in the Clementine Hall at the Vatican on Saturday. Photograph: EPA

 

A Catholic lay group has sharply criticised Pope Francis after he said only heterosexuals could form a family in the eyes of the church.

“It is painful to say this today: people speak of varied families, of various kinds of family” but “the family [as] man and woman in the image of God is the only one”, Pope Francis said in unscripted comments last weekend to a gathering of Forum of Family Associations, an Italian lay movement representing Catholic families.

We Are Church said it was “appalled and alarmed” at the Pope’s comments, as reported by Italian news agency Ansa.

“This reinforcement of anti-LGBTQI attitudes and the refusal to recognise LGBTQI families as true Catholic families by Pope Francis will be treated with incredulity and dismay by the Catholic faithful,” the Irish group said.

Pope Francis will visit Ireland in August for the church’s World Meeting of Families.

Stop the hurt

At the weekend, former president Mary McAleese said she would like to see the Catholic church “stop hurting” LGBTQI people and women.

Speaking at a meeting of We Are Church, she said she hoped the church would instead become “a champion of complete diversity and inclusion”.

Ms McAleese also told the meeting she had voted in favour of repealing the Eighth Amendment and had no intention of going to confession about it.

“Times have changed. And one of the things that has changed is our understanding of our human rights. Among those human rights: freedom of conscience, freedom of expression, freedom of opinion, freedom of religion, freedom to change religion,” said Ms McAleese.

Two bishops – Bishop of Elphin Kevin Doran and Bishop of Waterford Alphonsus Cullinan – have suggested that Catholics who voted Yes committed a sin.

Such people “should talk to the priest, they should go to confession” before receiving communion, Bishop Cullinan said.