Pope says “De facto or same-sex unions, for example, may not be equated with marriage,” despite it being in law in Ireland for nearly a year.
“This is a missed the opportunity to reflect and embrace the very positive changes in attitudes towards lesbian and gay people that have come about over the last 20 years in Ireland and across many parts of the world. The Pope, as the leader of the institutional Catholic Church, could have dismantled a key element of the ‘architecture of homophobia’ which comes from the Church’s teachings on LGBT people’ said Kieran Rose, GLEN Chair.
Rose was responding to Amoris Laetitia (Joy of Love), where Pope Francis outlines the catholic church’s teachings on family issues.
“The new document speaks of compassion but the message about LGBT people that it contains is still a negative one, and will be felt by many, in particular LGBT Catholics and their families, as a hurtful one” said Rose.
“Negative attitudes can feed a culture of hostility and as the recent LGBTIreland research showed such intolerance can cause real harm to the mental health and well-being of LGBT people, particularly young LGBTI people” said Rose.
“While movement on the Catholic Church’s discrimination against LGBT people is progress, the challenge remains for the institutional Catholic Church not to be an agent of homophobia and transphobia. The risk of this new document is that it will entrench views amongst some that LGBT people are somehow lesser and should be treated as such. This doesn’t reflect what the Irish people said last year in the marriage referendum, the majority of whom were Catholics” said Rose.
“Most gay and lesbian people and their loving relationships are fully included within their wider family and community circles in Ireland. It is disappointing that the institutional Catholic Church continue to say to lesbian and gay people, and to their parents and families, that they are not fully welcome” said Rose.
“As an urgent minimum, the Pope and the institutional Catholic Church need to ensure that the spirit of this new document is implemented across the world. In particular to ensure that Catholic Church hierarchies withdraw their hostility to and advocacy against basic progress for LGBT people, such as the recent statement by the Catholic Bishops in Malawi which criticised the Government for withdrawing proposed laws that would imprison gay people” concluded Rose.