Irish Catholic LGBT groups meet with Archbishop of Armagh to discuss Church’s treatment of gays

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Faith groups supportive of lesbian and gay rights have met the Primate of All Ireland to discuss the Church’s relationship with lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people (LGBT).

At their request, Archbishop Eamon Martin of Armagh met last week for the first time with delegations from Faith in Marriage Equality (FiME) and We Are Church Ireland. Lesbian and gay Catholics shared their experiences and views with the archbishop, and Dr Richard O’Leary, of FiME, stressed that the Church’s failure to affirm LGBT people contributed to their increased suicide rate.

Afterwards he said: “Archbishop Martin said he was committed to continuing dialogue and that he was particularly concerned about the pastoral care of gay persons.”

Brendan Butler of We are Church Ireland, who was among those who met Archbishop Martin, called for change in Catholic teaching on homosexuality.

He said that the “Letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church on the pastoral care of homosexual persons” by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in 1986 was morally offensive, as it describes “homosexual orientation as an objective disorder and ordered towards an intrinsic moral evil.”

Bishops from around the world are to discuss the "Pastoral Attention towards Persons with Homosexual Tendencies" at October's Synod on the Family at the Vatican.

Archbishop Martin said that listening to the accounts of lesbian and gay Catholics had been “helpful”, and that he was open to receiving further material from We Are Church Ireland on the subject of the synod.

THE TABLET; 29 July 2015 12:05 by Katherine Backler