(NCR Online) While gay families will be welcome at Philadelphia’s global meeting on family life — to be attended by Pope Francis at the end of his visit to the United States in September — they will not be given an opportunity to speak about positions contrary to church teaching, Archbishop Charles Chaput said.
At a Vatican press conference detailing the continuing organization for the Sept. 22-25 World Meeting of Families — the first such event to be held in the U.S. — Chaput said gay families should feel free to join the expected 15,000 participants.
“We hope that everyone feels welcome to come, and certainly people who have experienced same-sex attraction are certainly welcome like anyone else,” he said.
But, the archbishop added, “we don’t want to provide a platform at the meeting for people to lobby for positions contrary to the life of our church, so we’re not providing that kind of lobbying opportunity.”
Chaput was responding to a question at the press conference regarding how the global meeting will welcome gay families or speak to particular issues they face.
The World Meeting of Families is a triennial event that the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for the Family has organized since the first meeting in Rome in 1994. The Philadelphia gathering will be the eighth such meeting.
Francis is expected to come to the United States around Sept. 22-27 after first visiting Cuba. While the pope’s official schedule for his U.S. visit is yet to be released, Philadelphia officials said they are expecting the pope to speak to the family gathering and to celebrate a public Mass there on Benjamin Franklin Parkway.
The pope is coming to Philadelphia after first visiting Washington, D.C., where he will meet with President Barack Obama and give an address to a joint session of Congress, and New York, where he will speak to the United Nations. [More]