Today begins an important week in the U.S. Catholic LGBT history. The World Meeting of Families begins in Philadelphia–with all of its associated controversies concerning LGBT issues which we have been reporting on all summer: exhibits being denied to Catholic LGBT organizations, a paucity of speakers discussing LGBT issues, evictions of LGBT programs from a Catholic parish, and a warning from Archbishop Chaput which assumed LGBT people were out to subvert the program.
It is also the week that Pope Francis will arrive in the U.S.–amid much hope that he will use his speaking opportunities to continue his affirmation and outreach of LGBT people.
A number of groups have used this opportunity to issue petitions to Pope Francis to take a variety of actions concerning LGBT topics. The following is a listing of some of them:
- New Ways Ministry and the European Forum of LGBT Christian Groups have issued a change.org petition entitled “Pope Francis Should Affirm & Listen to LGBT Families in Philadelphia & Rome” which asks the pope to offer encouraging messages, as well as invite LGBT people to speak, at both the World Meeting of Families and the upcoming Synod on Marriage and Family Life.
- Nicholas Coppola, who was dismissed from his many parish volunteer ministries because he married his husband, has joined with GLAAD to write a change.org petition which asks Pope Francis to “Meet with LGBT Catholics during your upcoming U.S. visit.”
- GLAAD has also set up a Tumblr page for people to offer written, photographed, or videotaped messages about what they would like to “Tell the Pope” during his visit. Go to http://tellthepope.tumblr.com/ and use the Twitter hashtag #TellThePope.
- The community of Philadelphia-area Catholics who have banded together to support fired teacher Margie Winters has organized a change.org petition in which signers can “Urge Pope Francis to Stop Firing LGBT Church Workers, Meet Margie Winters, LGBT Catholics.”
- Because some of the speakers who will be addressing the World Meeting of Families have been associated with reparative therapy organizations, Faithful America has organized a petition entitled “Tell Philadelphia Archbishop: Disinvite Ex-Gay Therapy Advocates from Pope Francis Conference.”
If you know of other actions, please inform our readers in the “Comments ” section of this post.
Some other “real-life” actions will also be taking place this week. In Washington, DC, LGBT Catholics from Dignity/Washington have joined the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) to hold what is being called a “friendly, dignified” greeting of the pope when his motorcade passes the HRC headquarters on its way to St. Matthew’s Cathedral, just a block away. The pope will be leading a prayer service for bishops at St. Matthew’s on Wednesday, September 23rd at 11:30 a.m.
According to the Washington Blade, about 30 Dignity Washington members will hold a banner that states:
“Pope Francis: The Spirit is Speaking Through Us – LGBT Catholics — Dignity Washington.”
HRC also plans to display a giant banner on the side of its building for the pope and his entourage to read with the message:
“We Are Your Children, Your Teachers, Your Faithful. Welcomed by God. Dismissed By Our Bishops. Pope Francis, Will You Welcome Us Home?’ “
During the same week, HRC will release the results of a poll it commissioned about Catholic attitudes toward LGBT people.
Last week, we provided a list of numerous educational and advocacy opportunities taking place in Philadelphia. You can see the complete list here.
–Francis DeBernardo, New Ways Ministry
Washington Blade: “LGBT Catholics, families hold out hope for papal meeting”
Washington Blade: “Pope embraced by progressives, but not on LGBT rights”
Gay City News: “Pope to LGBT Catholics: No ‘In’ at the Room”
Politico: “Hating on Pope Francis”
State Journal Register (Springfield, IL): “Local couple hope to discuss LGBT issues with pope”