LGBT Catholics to make pilgrimage for Pope's visit
At least a dozen LGBT Catholic families will be making their way to Philadelphia in September for the papal visit. The group will attend all of the sessions, liturgies, and gatherings of World Meeting of Families alongside hundreds of thousands of other expected attendees.
The pilgrimage group will be sponsored by Equally Blessed, a group of Catholic organizations that advocates for LGBTQI equality in the Church. Equally Blessed is one of 26 other Catholic LGBTQI organizations that requested a meeting with Pope Francis.
In their letter, the coalition expressed concern that the “...Church’s teaching and pastoral practices surrounding homosexuality are causing an enormous pastoral crisis, as well as upholding systemic, institutionalized discrimination against LGBT people and our families.”
“In the U.S. and around the world, we are experiencing alienation from the Church, higher rates of poverty and violence, and discrimination in employment, housing, educational opportunities, and access to health care,” the letter continued.
Equally Blessed led a similar pilgrimage to Brazil for World Youth Day in 2013. Here is the confirmed list of attendees for the papal visit, who come several U.S. states and at least three continents:
An intersex woman from El Salvador and her mother
An Asian-American transgender man from Detroit
A Latina mother of two lesbian daughters, and grandmother to their children
A Philadelphia area couple whose gay son does not feel welcome in the Church
The mother of a transgender son who died of a drug overdose
A married lesbian couple who are both active volunteers in their Philadelphia parish
A married gay man and his mother from Illinois
A married lesbian couple and their two adopted daughters
A married gender-queer person, their husband, and their mother, who has become an activist in the Cuban community in Miami, Florida for families with LGBTQI members
The mothers of two married lesbians
A Philadelphia mom and grandmother with two gay sons, who has been an activist with PFLAG and the HIV/AIDS community for more than 20 years
Pope Francis has been praised for optimistic comments about gay rights. However, the Catholic Church’s official view of homosexuality as a mortal sin has not changed.