Celebrate Fortunate Families, don't banish it

by Thomas C. Fox

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A prediction: Should World Meeting of Families organizers hold to their position to not allow a LGBT parental support group to exhibit at the gathering, then one day it will be remember more for the decision than anything the meeting might have otherwise achieved in conjunction with Pope Francis’ visit.

If the decision stands, it will cast a dark cloud over the meeting and will do nothing less than send a hard punch smack into the eye of Pope Francis himself.

World Meeting of Families organizers, you are making a grave mistake. But there is time to reverse course. Do this for your sake and for the sake of this wider struggling church of ours.  

One wonders if this decision is an isolated error of one or a few otherwise caring Catholics who think, misguidedly, they are somehow upholding their faith by excluding gay families from their meeting.

One wonders if the exclusion of Fortunate Families has a wider basis of support, perhaps by the leaders in the Philadelphia archdiocese. 

One wonders if the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, once informed of this insult to Catholic families everywhere, will step in to correct the error.

One will eventually wonder, should this decision not be reversed, if papal planners will end up finding themselves draw into this ugliness, with the papal trip blemished as a result.

One will have to ask, should Fortunate Families stay banned, if Pope Francis will have somehow gone along with what will be a definitional act.

The decision is out of step with the pastoral journey Francis is asking us to take together.

For years the Catholic hierarchy has been saying that all homosexual acts are “intrinsically disordered.” This has led to incalculable isolation, loneliness, self-loathing, ridicule, and suicide in the lives of our LGBT brothers and sisters.

This teaching comes out of antiquated moral theology and today is unworthy of a church that proclaims and celebrates the inclusive love of Jesus.

Meanwhile, Fortunate Families has, since its inception, been proclaiming Jesus’ inclusive love.  Through Fortunate Families Catholic parents have found the resources and support to offer their children Jesus’ messages of human dignity and inclusive love. 

Fortunate Families is second to none as a faithful Catholic organization as it proclaims the Catholic faith. It has been exemplary in doing so.  Instead of being banned, it should be honored at the World Meeting of Families for being this exemplary upholder of the faith in troubled times.

We all make mistakes.  The decision to exclude Fortunate Families from the September meeting is a notable one, even a defining one, for the meeting and the wider Catholic community.

This decision needs to be reversed – and quickly.


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