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Catholic LGBT group 'ignored and discriminated against' by organisers of Pope's visit

We Are Church Ireland wanted to have a stand in the RDS for next month’s pastoral congress.

Pope Francis visits Ireland on 25-26 August.
Pope Francis visits Ireland on 25-26 August.
Image: Evandro Inetti/PA Images

A GROUP WHICH campaigns for the equal inclusion of women and LGBT people in the Catholic church says it has been discriminated against in its application to be part of the World Meeting of Families.

Pope Francis is travelling to Ireland for two days next month to be part of the event but the church here has already been forced to deny that same-sex couples are being excluded.

Speaking last week, Archbishop Diarmuid Martin said that same-sex issues would be discussed during a pastoral congress in Dublin’s RDS held as part of the WMOF.

In a statement today, however, We Are Church Ireland said it applied back in February to have a stand in the RDS, and even paid a deposit, but did not receive a written response.

The group said that it followed this up with numerous calls every fortnight and were repeatedly told that their application was received but was “on hold”.

“As no information was forthcoming, on the 25 May we sent a registered letter to Fr Tim Bartlett, Secretary General of the WMOF and copied it to Dr Diarmuid Martin, Archbishop of Dublin and president of WMOF, asking for the courtesy of a decision on our application. Both these letters were also ignored,” We Are Church spokesperson Brendan Butler said today.

To add insult to injury on the 5 June we received a circular email from the WMOF advertising the fact that stands were still available and inviting applications. Still having received no decision by the middle of July, and with the WMOF’s own deadlines having expired, we finally cancelled our deposit.

The group says WMOF acted in a “discriminatory manner” and without “the most basic courtesy” in how they handled the application.

Speaking on RTÉ’s News at One today, journalist and We Are Church Ireland activist Ursula Halligan said that she feels the archbishop has not kept his word.

“We’re really disappointed because we were looking forward to taking part in the World Meeting of Families and to welcoming Pope Francis to Ireland. And we took Archbishop Diarmuid Martin at his word when he said all are welcome, he was even on Marian Finucane’s show yesterday saying the very same thing, but clearly this isn’t the case,” Halligan said.

TheJournal.ie has asked the organisers of the World Meeting of Families for a response to the allegations made by We Are Church Ireland.

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Rónán Duffy

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