A debate about the Catholic Church's treatment of homosexuals has flared up in the Italian diocese of Cremona. A round of talks planned for mid-November is meeting with protests from traditionalist circles, according to media reports.
Accordingly, the diocese defends the for the 18. November planned dialogue event on "What place do young LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) people have in the Church" to be held for the second time.
Some 300 signatories of a protest petition had urged Cremona's Bishop Antonio Napolioni and the shrine's director to cancel the event, the Corriere della Sera newspaper reported (Friday). They accuse the bishop and other organizers of "a blind and often uncritical attitude toward groups that talk about integration, but in fact cause division and confusion, especially in the Catholic world". The action is organized through the portal of a traditionalist website.
Accompaniment in faith for homosexuals
According to the report, critics are particularly offended by the design of the invitation: stylized men holding hands under a rainbow, and likewise women. They also say the planned location of the talks, the Santa Maria del Fonte di Caravaggio pilgrimage site, irritates traditionalist believers.
In a response, a pastor of the diocese defends the event planned by a nationwide Christian initiative. In doing so, he invoked, among other things, the recently concluded worldwide youth synod at the Vatican. Its final document explicitly recommends "ways of accompaniment in faith for homosexual persons".
"Our diocese takes up the call of the Synod and continues its efforts to listen and accompany (people)," "Corriere" quoted priest Antonio Facchinetti as saying. In addition, the offer of dialogue and accompaniment of homosexual Catholics "in the light of the Word of God and the Magisterium of the Church" had already been begun by the predecessor bishop, Facchinetti said.