The crucial appointment is between the 22 and 26 of this month in the Vatican in the tenth edition of the World Meeting of Families, postponed by the Covid-19 Pandemic. Pope Francis will welcome delegates from episcopal conferences, movements and associations.
The big news seems to be brewing in the preparations and in the new organization of one of the two international mass events of the Church. The other is the youth meeting.
The organization is “multicentric and diffuse”. It extends to diocesan communities around the world to program initiatives based on the theme of the meeting, which is: “Family love, vocation and path to holiness.”
The Pope, in a video message, has invited the faithful to “be lively and creative to organize themselves with families, in tune with what will happen in Rome”.
With this vast international scenario connected to the center of the Meeting in the Vatican, it opens an opening space whose dimensions are uncertain, for homosexual and transsexual families and the blessing of male, female, mixed and LGBT couples.
This was seen in the recent Argentine census in which almost 60 thousand people did not identify themselves in the two traditional sexes and were able to express it thanks to the latest laws in our country on the matter.
Pope Francis, this Wednesday in the Vatican, surrounded by boys. Photo: AFP
For the Catholic Church the practice of homosexuality and its variants is prohibited, it is a serious sin. In four articles in the Catechism, it is stated that homosexuality it is “an objective disorder”.
The only way out is compulsory chastity. This is a total closure impossible to maintain in absolute terms in modern societies, especially in democratic ones.
The Pope formally accepts this formula because he has no other choice. Approving the contrary would unleash a crisis with schismatic characteristics that Jorge Bergoglio cannot face. He must grope forward with subtle differentiations. The German Church has spoken out in favor of removing the ban and a good batch of priests bless homosexual unions in German churches.
era of changes
By calling for a new World Meeting of Families, many issues linked to issues of sexual orientation come up again.
The times change. Let’s look at Robert’s case.
Roberto Stevanato is 75 years old and is a very Catholic man like the rest of his family. In Venice he has been fighting for twenty years against homotransphobia (hatred of homosexuals) in civil society and above all in the Catholic Church. When he turned 55, his son Francesco confessed to him that he was gay. Father and son went separately to his church, seeking understanding and advice.
Francesco, who is now 39 years old, told the priest that he was homosexual. The boy frequented parish groups, he was and is a great believer. As soon as he finished speaking, the priest threw him out of the parish and the following Sunday he refused communion. The priest he maximized punishment and scandal ruthlessly applying the norms of the Catechism.
Roberto says that “as soon as our son in tears told us what was happening with my wife, we realized that something had to be done.” The Stevanato family, like many others with this problem, had been crushed between love for their children and dogma.
The story has been revealed twenty years later to the Italian public opinion by Alice D’Este in the Corriere of the Veneto.
Roberto and the rest of the family decided to fight “because Francesco’s condition did not change anything for us, he is our son and we will continue to love him whatever his love choice.”
The objective that associates the Venetian family with the World Meeting of Families has yet another motto for the Stevanatos: “In the Catholic Church, people must really be accepted as they are.”
With other Catholic parents with homosexual children they have organized themselves into a group and the parish of Santa María Auxiliadora, for the first time in the diocese of Venice, received them in a meeting to exchange experiences of life and prayer.
Times have changed in twenty years and the group is called “All children of God.” They carry out an intense activity in their parishes. “We feel the distance between the institutions but things are improving,” says Roberto.
In the group there are also faithful, such as a 61-year-old man who, between sobs, confided to them that he too was gay and that never had the courage to tell him to his parents before they died. Roberto told the case of a ragazo that everyone knew and that he attended group meetings until one day he committed suicide.
Pope Francis is pressured between liberals and conservatives in the Church. Photo: REUTERS
Venice’s network of “rainbow” families, as they are called, have spread throughout Italy in groups calling themselves “Three Times Parents.” who fight against the lack of communication with the hierarchies “and true life”.
The Patriarch of Venice “knows everything about us” and encourages them because “ours is not a battle against institutions but against pain”.
Now comes the World Meeting of Families and these issues will also be on the table in Rome and in dioceses around the world.
It is not yet known if the “rainbow” families will be officially admitted. But the Pope recently encouraged them by stating that “God’s style is neighborliness, mercy and tenderness.”
Unlike the previous nine editions of the Meeting, this time there will be no lectures with an academic structure, but rather a moment of meeting, listening and debate among the operators of family and marriage ministry, as explained in the Vatican.
Two thousand delegates chosen by the Episcopal Conferences, the Synods of the Eastern Churches and the international ecclesial realities are foreseen in the Vatican.
There will be 170 delegations from 120 countriesmade up mostly of families who will represent three-quarters of the delegates, along with priests and bishops responsible for family ministry in the Episcopal Conferences.