The Pope will be visiting Ireland from August 25-26 as part of the World Meeting of Families.
Ireland’s Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar has pledged to raise LGBTQ rights when he meets the Pope later this month. The event that the Pope is due to attend has already attracted controversy after it emerged that all references to same-sex families were removed.
It also attracted further controversy after the LGBTQ-inclusive church, We Are Church Ireland, went public with allegations that they were “shut out” of the event because of their support for LGBTQ rights.
Speaking to the media ahead of the event, Varadkar said: “I’m really glad the Pope is visiting Ireland, the visit is very welcome… you can see the huge interest from the general public.
“I’m not sure exactly what the detail of my interaction with him is going to be.
“[Our meeting at] Dublin Castle may be very short but, first of all, I will want to welcome him to Ireland and, if the opportunity arises, I will certainly want to express to him the real concerns Irish people have.”
Alongside raising issues of sexual abuse within churches and by church ministers, Varadkar then said that he would “[share] our views in society and the government’s view that families come in all sorts of different forms and that includes families led by same-sex parents, and one-parent families as well.”
Earlier this year, Leo Varadkar confirmed that he had raised LGBTQ rights when he met with the vice-president of the United States, Mike Pence.
“I did privately manage to speak to them about equality and my support for equal rights for women and the LGBT community here in America and also in Ireland,” he said.
However, Pence’s response to what Varadkar had said to him remained private.
And although Pence’s record on LGBTQ rights is diabolical, the Pope has a more mixed history. 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. He has also spoken out against the trans community saying it’s “terrible” that kids are taught they can “choose” their gender.
And in June, 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.”