Saturday 21 July 2018

Welcome to gay parents edited out of church video

LGBTI marginalised: Former President Mary McAleese
LGBTI marginalised: Former President Mary McAleese

Sarah MacDonald

A bishop's comments expressing conciliatory views on same-sex couples raising children were edited out of a video promoted by the World Meeting of Families (WMF).

The comments were made by Bishop David O'Connell, originally from Cork but now based in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.

The video is one of a number of clips produced for the 'Amoris: Let's talk Family! Let's be Family!' programme ahead of the World Meeting of Families.

The meeting takes place in Dublin this August and will include a visit by Pope Francis.

In the section of the Amoris video which deals with the reality of family life, Dr O'Connell recognises the different configurations of families today, including single parents or a gay couple raising children.

In the original video clip, he stated: "Pope Francis, he gets it. He gets it that our society has changed so much in the last couple of generations.

"We have all sorts of configurations of families now, whether it's just the traditional family of mum and dad together, or it's now mum on her own or dad on his own, or a gay couple raising children, or people in second marriages. No matter what the configuration of the family is, the call is still to adults to think about how to provide the best, most loving, faithful environment for children possible."

However, people accessing the video clip now will no longer be able to hear these words because they have been removed.

The editing of the bishop's comments follows a campaign by the conservative Catholic group Lumen Fidei to have the image of a same-sex couple removed from a booklet produced to accompany the 'Amoris: Let's talk Family! Let's be Family!' parish programme.

Former President Mary McAleese warned that the editing out of Bishop O'Connell's "words of welcome and reassurance to LGBTI Catholics and their families" sends "a strong message that they will not be welcome to attend the Dublin World Meeting of Families".

Ms McAleese - whose son Justin, a devout Catholic, was bullied for being gay - appealed to organisers of WMF2018 to "ensure they faithfully honour the Pope's inclusive vision of family and do nothing to further marginalise those already deeply hurt by Church-generated homophobia".

A spokeswoman for the World Meeting of Families said Bishop O'Connell's words were no longer available because "the wrong version of the video... was inadvertently uploaded for a short time".

She added: "The correct version is now in place".

She highlighted the inclusion of "powerful testimonies of individuals and families on the LGBTQ issue" elsewhere in the Amoris video.

Organisers of WMF2018 have stressed that the spirit of the event is in keeping with Pope Francis's view that "every person, regardless of sexual orientation, ought to be respected in his or her dignity and treated with consideration".

Irish Independent

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