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Pro-LGBTQ Priest to Speak at Pope's Event, Despite Opposition

James Martin, pro-LGBT Jesuit priest

Anti-LGBTQ Catholic groups urged the organizers of World Meeting of Families to disinvite Fr. James Martin for his pro-LGBTQ views.

In spite of calls asking for his removal, pro-LGBTQ priest James Martin will speak at this month's World Meeting of Families in Dublin.

The gathering, hosted by the pope every three years, emphasizes the importance of family and marriage in the religion, and Fr. Martin will speak on LGBTQ people, their families, and their need for acceptance.

After images of gay couples were removed from the World Meeting of Families pamphlets and a promoted video, Fr. Martin was included in the speaker line as a gesture to the LGBTQ community, according to The Irish Times. This provoked ire from the Irish branch of the Catholic organization known as Tradition, Family, Property, which circulated a letter to Dublin Archbishop Diarmuid Martin to remove Fr. Martin for "his dissent from Church teaching on sexual morality."

This is neither the first time Fr. Martin supported LGBTQ people, nor the first time he faced controversy. In 2017, he wrote Building a Bridge: How the Catholic Church and the LGBT Community Can Enter into a Relationship of Respect, Compassion and Sensitivity, which, while garnering praise from many authorities in the church, led conservative Catholics to criticize him and call him "effeminate" and "pansified."

Fr. Martin also called out U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions for his use of biblical passages to justify the separation of migrant families at the border, further distancing himself from conservatives. The American branch of Tradition, Family Property had urged a New Jersey parish to disinvite Fr. Martin, and his support of LGBTQ people got him disinvited from the Theological College at the Catholic University of America.

It seems the pastoral congress is not swayed by TFP's efforts. A spokeswoman told The Irish Times: "There will be no changes to the line-up of speakers who have been invited to be part of the event. We are looking forward to welcoming all 292 speakers from around Ireland and from across the world to our gathering of families in Dublin."

Meanwhile, Pope Francis is scheduled to meet with Irish prime minister Leo Varadkar while in the island nation; the gay PM has vowed to bring up LGBTQ rights with the pontiff.

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