Pope Francis has invited leading American evangelical preachers to the Vatican to talk about their views on marriage equality as part of a Vatican colloquium later this month on families, gender, and sexuality.
Rick Warren, senior pastor of Saddleback Church, and Russell Moore, president of the Ethics and Religious Liberties Commission, will join more than 30 multi-denominational speakers according to Christianity Today.
Moore has openly disagreed with the pope on more progressive views, and says the state of marriage is "culturally imperiled," but added that he felt compelled to go to the Vatican for the event.
“I can hardly criticize from across the Tiber and then refuse to talk, when invited, about these matters,” he wrote on his website, according to Christianity Today. “That’s especially the case when the American bishops have been resolute in standing with us, despite our real differences, on questions of religious liberty and the future of the family.”
Pope Francis also demoted conservative Catholic Cardinal who had previously blocked efforts to reform and modernize the church, Buzzfeed reports.
Raymond Burke served as the highest-ranking American figure in the Vatican, but recently gave several interviews criticizing the pope. According to Reuters, Burke has fought against movement to lessen the church's views on people who divorce and remarry in civil services, and criticized an official document that referred to LGBT people in a positive manner. He and another group of conservative bishops led a campaign to water down the statement, Reuters reports. Still, Burke's demotion was expected, and was officially announced Saturday without comment.