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Come and meet us, gay US Catholics tell pope

23 September 2015, 06:56

Washington - Gay Catholics have invited Pope Francis to come and meet their community in person as he embarks on his first-ever visit to the United States on Tuesday.

Francis has made it clear he wants the Church to show a more inclusive attitude to believers living "irregular" lifestyles, including gays and divorcees.

The Dignity USA and the Human Rights Campaign, which defends the rights of gay, lesbian, transsexual and bisexual people, is hoping he will take things one step further during his stay.

"We invite you, Holy Father, in the words of Jesus to his first disciples, to 'come and see'," Jeff Vomund, of the movement's Washington chapter, wrote in an open letter in the Washington Post.

Vomund urged Francis and local Catholic clergy to "get to know the strength of love that survives despite ridicule and cultural rejection".

He offered Francis the chance to "experience firsthand couples who have been together for decades praying and seeking to do God's will."

Dignity USA will be waiting with a giant banner reading "Pope Francis: The Spirit is Speaking Through Us," when the pope meets with US bishops at St Matthew's Cathedral on Wednesday.

Strict Catholic doctrine considers homosexuality a disorder, but not sinful unless a relationship is consummated. Under no circumstances does it recognise same-sex marriage.

Also Read: Gay Oktoberfest brings pride party to German heartland

"We might disagree about the definition of a civil or a sacramental marriage," wrote Vomund. "We might not see eye to eye on the purpose of sexual activity in a same-sex relationship...

"We believe that once you got to see and know our love, it would no longer make sense to call it 'disordered' or to fire people who work for and serve the church while sharing that love."

Francis caused consternation amongst traditionalists last year when, asked about his attitude to gay Catholics, he responded: "Who am I to judge?"

While official doctrine has not budged, many gay Catholics believe his more accommodating stance could lead to real change in the institution.

But the pope's stance faces powerful opposition from traditionalists, as shown by a petition urging him to condemn same sex unions that was signed by half a million people last month.



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