– Ahead of the upcoming World Meeting of Families in Ireland this August, a government minister has warned that the event should not express “intolerance” of LGBT groups or same-sex couples.
“There should be a welcome for all. And never again should public statements or remarks which seek to isolate certain families be tolerated,” said Katherine Zappone, the Irish Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, according to the Irish Times.
Zappone continued to say that she hopes the World Meeting of Families will “not be used as a platform for remarks which exclude, isolate or hurt any family.”
She criticized the absence of LGBT families in promotional literature for the Church-sponsored event, calling it a “source of serious concern,” and denounced that Ireland’s former president, Mary McAleese, was prohibited from speaking at a Vatican conference, apparently because of her stance on LGBT issues.
Zappone’s remarks came at the Copenhangen Conference on Private and Family Life for LGBTI People on March 2.
The World Meeting of Families will be held in Dublin from Aug. 22-26, 2018 with the theme “The Gospel of the Family, Joy for the World.” Pope Francis is expected to participate in the event, marking the first time in nearly 40 years that a pope has been present in the country.
According to Ireland’s Prime Minister Leo Varadkar, the papal visit will be treated as a state visit, which will “be given the full support of the State in terms of protocol, security and any other matters.”
Zappone remarked that organizers of the church event should be aware that Ireland is a place “where people want marriage equality, where adoption by LGBTI people is government policy, and where all families are fully respected.”
“The eyes of the world will be on Dublin. Indeed some of the biggest audiences will be in countries where LGBTI people are discriminated against, threatened and abused,” Zappone said.
“The World Meeting of Families is a unique opportunity to confront such inequality, discrimination and hate. It can provide global leadership on inclusion,” she continued.
Zappone also noted that “Pope Francis has given hope to many.”
The pope has criticized the ideology of gender theory as the “great enemy of marriage today.”
Cardinal Kevin Farrell, one of the organizers of the World Meeting of Families, recently noted his hopes for the meeting, saying that the event should revitalize family life and will not exclude anyone.
“This encounter… is to promote the Christian concept of marriage, and the Catholic concept of marriage, and will focus on that. All people are invited, we don’t exclude anybody,” Farrell said.
“I hope that [the World Meeting of Families] will bring family values back to life again,” he continued.
The last World Meeting of Families took place in Philadelphia in 2015, drawing between 800,000-900,000 people to the closing Mass celebrated by Francis.