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Gay Christians to join Catholic World Youth Day in Poland

Earlier in his papacy, Francis famously remarked 'Who am I to judge?' about homosexuality but in April refused to recognise homosexual couples in new Church guidelines on family life. Photograph: (Getty)

AFP Warsaw, Poland Jul 18, 2016, 11.15 AM (IST)
Gay and transgender Christians will set up a ministry during World Youth Day when Pope Francis is expected to meet hundreds of thousands of young Catholics in southern Poland later this month.

Leaders of the Warsaw-based "Faith and Rainbow" LGBT organisation say they want to minister to the thousands of gays, lesbians and transgenders attending the event by setting up an "LGBT Pilgrim's Haven".

"We want to create a space in which they will feel safe and where they will find answers to issues facing them," organiser Misza Czerniak told the Monday edition of Poland's Rzeczpospolita broadsheet daily.

Organisers, however, told AFP their initiative is not officially a part of World Youth Day, running June 26-31 in and around Krakow, southern Poland.

The group will set up the "Pilgrim's Haven" in a cafe in Krakow's Kazimierz Jewish quarter.

American Jesuit priest Jim Mulcahy, described on the group's Facebook page as "an experienced pastor and spiritual father of many LGBT believers" in Eastern Europe, will be among featured speakers.

Pope Francis will spend five days at the event, arriving on July 27, and concluding his visit on July 31.

Earlier in his papacy, Francis famously remarked, "Who am I to judge?", about homosexuality, but in April refused to recognise homosexual couples in new Church guidelines on family life.

Francis noted that bishops who reviewed Catholic teaching on same-sex couples at synods in 2014 and 2015 had observed that "there are absolutely no grounds for considering homosexual unions to be in any way similar or even remotely analogous to God's plan for marriage and family".

While the guidelines also expressed opposition to "every sign of unjust discrimination" based on sexual orientation, they include no positive language about gay relationships.

Held once every three years, this year's World Youth Day will be the 31st edition of the event, initiated in Rome in 1986 by John Paul II.

The last was held in Rio de Janeiro in 2013, shortly after Francis' election as pope.

(AFP)
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