June 14, 2018 — Organizers of the World Meeting of Families announced that Jesuit Father James Martin, editor-at-large of America magazine, will speak at the meeting on welcoming LGBT Catholics.
Fr. Martin, who has written about the need for the Catholic Church to treat LGBT people with respect, compassion and sensitivity, will speak at the meeting in Dublin, which runs from August 21-26.
Archbishop Diarmuid Martin, president of the World Meeting of Families 2018, said Fr. Martin's book, "Building a Bridge: How the Catholic Church and the LGBT Community Can Enter into a Relationship of Respect, Compassion, and Sensitivity," had the support of three U.S. cardinals, including Cardinal Kevin Farrell, prefect of the Dicastery for Laity, the Family and Life.
“The organizers have asked me to speak about how parishes can welcome LGBT Catholics, as well as their parents and families. So I hope to share ‘best practices’ from parishes that have successfully reached out to the LGBT Catholic community,” Fr. Martin said.
By inviting Fr. Martin to speak, he said, “The message to LGBT Catholics seems straightforward: you're an important part of the church.”
“I’m tremendously grateful for this invitation, not so much for what it says about my own ministry or writing but what it says to LGBT Catholics, a group of people who have for so long felt excluded,” Fr. Martin said. “I hope they see this invitation, which had to be approved by the Vatican, as an unmistakable sign of welcome from the church.”
The meeting will focus on “Amoris Laetitia” (“The Joy of Love”), Pope Francis’ 2016 letter about family life. Speakers will focus on marriage preparation, Christian marriage and passing on faith in the home, as well as other topics, including caring for creation, business and sports.
More than 30,000 people have registered for the event, which organizers say makes it the largest World Meeting of Families since Pope John Paul II launched it in Rome in 1994. Pope Francis is scheduled to join the meeting for the last two days and preside at the final Mass in Dublin. To view the program, click here. [Sources: CNS, America magazine]