LGBT advocates ponder how to benefit from Francis’ visit

Below is an excerpt from an article by Philadelphia Inquirer on the important opportunity for LGBTQ Catholics to participate in Pope Francis’ World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia. Read about Equally Blessed’s commitment to send 14 LGBTQ Catholics and their family members to World Meeting of Families.

March 24, 2015– Otto and Lassiter said a local Dignity chapter could be an “organizing tool” for the group. Dignity was founded in 1969 and has a membership of about 6,000 spread across 35 chapters.

Yet Dignity has “not been invited to participate” in the World Meeting, executive director Marianne Duddy-Burke said from the organization’s Boston headquarters.

“There is a workshop on LGBT issues, and we have suggested speakers,” Duddy-Burke said. “We are organizing a pilgrimage, and we are looking at the possibility of having parallel workshops at a nearby site.

“But being on the official agenda? Probably not,” she said.

Donna Farrell, executive director of the World Meeting of Families, said in an e-mail that “LGBT issues will certainly be addressed,” but added that the agenda “will also deal with a wide range of family issues,” including poverty and addiction.

She noted that 10,000 volunteers would be needed during the World Meeting, and “once registration opens, we encourage all who want to be part of this once-in-a-generation event to consider joining us.”

The church views homosexual sex as sinful and calls upon LGBT people to live celibate lives.

While Francis has given no indication he plans to change church policy about homosexuality, his pastoral approach and personal charisma suggest a willingness to listen.

“I think church leaders are struggling to find out what the [pope] is really about and where the church is going,” Duddy-Burke said. “It’s an opportunity for lay leaders to step into the void and have our voices heard.”

Read the full article.