We Are Church Ireland (WAC Ireland) allege that calls and letters they sent inquiring about attendance were ignored or deflected.
A church that advocates for LGBTQ equality have said that they were “shut out” of the World Meeting of Families (WMoF) conference, which is set to be hosted in Ireland.
The event has already attracted some controversy after it was revealed that organisers had to remove all references to homosexuality and same-sex parents from booklets they produced, following pressure from anti-LGBTQ lobbyists.
And now the event has attracted more controversy after WAC Ireland went public with allegations that they were “shut out” of the event. WAC Ireland is a progressive church which supports LGBTQ inclusivity, and in a statement they believed that this was the reason for them being frozen out.
In a statement, the church said that they “responded positively to the invitation by the WMoF that all were welcome to participate as one family in welcoming Pope Francis to Ireland.”
However, after making a deposit on 14 February, they revealed that they had not heard nothing back. They added: “Almost fortnightly, we have rung the WMoF inquiring about the status of our application. The constant reply has been: ‘Yes, we received your application but it is on hold.’
“Upon inquiring as to when a decision on our application would be made we were told that it was up to those at the executive level to inform us.”
The church then said that on 25 May they sent letters asking for a decision, but that both of the letters were ignored. “Still having received no decision by the middle of July, and with the WMoF’s own deadlines having expired, we finally cancelled our deposit,” they said.
“The lack of the most basic courtesy in dealing with our application, made in good faith, shows a serious lack of respect to WAC Ireland and is a total contradiction to the advertised ‘all are welcome’ inclusivity of the WMoF, which continues with its stealth tactics used already against gay people by erasing pictures of LGBTQI couples from its official brochure earlier this year.”
The church’s spokeperson, Brendan Butler said: “This refusal by the WMoF to engage with We Are Church Ireland and in effect to reject our application shows a closed and exclusive mentality which contradicts Pope Francis’s constant calls for dialogue in the Catholic Church.”
The organisers have not responded to the allegations.
Although WAC Ireland is inclusive towards the LGBTQ community, the Pope’s own record is incredibly mixed. In the past he told a gay victim of clerical abuse that “God made you like this and loves you like this and I don’t care,” and told reporters: “[Gay people] should not be discriminated against. They should be respected, accompanied pastorally.”
However, he recently told Italian bishops to reject applicants to the priesthood, if they suspect that the applicant is gay. Francis has also spoken out against the trans community in the past – saying it’s “terrible” that kids are taught they can “choose” their gender.
And last month he refused to accept that LGBTQ families were real, saying: “It is painful to say this today: People speak of varied families, of various kinds of families,” he said, “[but] the family [as] man and woman in the image of God is the only one.”