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Saturday 21 April 2018

Pope's visit will be 'open to all', promise organisers

Pope Francis will attend the World Meeting of Families in Dublin to highlight the message and spirit of his Joy of Love exhortation. Photo: Alessandro Bianchi/Reuters
Pope Francis will attend the World Meeting of Families in Dublin to highlight the message and spirit of his Joy of Love exhortation. Photo: Alessandro Bianchi/Reuters
Cormac McQuinn

Cormac McQuinn

The organisers of the event that will see Pope Francis visit Ireland have insisted it will be "open to all" after concerns were raised by Minister for Children Katherine Zappone.

She used a speech to a conference on LGBTI families in Denmark to say that the World Meeting of Families event should be inclusive.

Ms Zappone said she hopes it won't be "used as a platform for remarks which exclude, isolate or hurt any family". She said that Pope Francis has "given hope to many".

But she added: "The recent attempts to exclude our former President Mary McAleese from an event in the Vatican, together with the airbrushing out of images of LGBTI families from certain church literature related to this event is a matter of serious concern." Ms McAleese was a strong supporter of a 'Yes' vote in the 2015 marriage equality referendum.

Ms Zappone added: "LGBTI families, like all families, should be celebrated and not excluded.

"That's the message that should be coming not just from the World Meeting of Families, but from all who believe in justice, equality and fairness."

Ms Zappone was speaking at the Copenhagen conference on private and family life for LGBTI people, where she also recalled the "jubilation" of the successful marriage equality referendum.

A spokesperson for the World Meeting of Families said the principal aim of the event is to highlight the message and spirit of Pope Francis's Apostolic Exhortation on The Joy of Love.

She said that in this message the Pope "specifically stresses" that "every person, regardless of sexual orientation, ought to be respected in his or her dignity and treated with consideration".

"The event has always been understood as an event open to all. This remains the position of the World Meeting of Families in Dublin."

Irish Independent

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