Catholic Church faces biggest walkout since child sex abuse scandal

Church facing walkout

A leading Jesuit priest has said the Catholic Church is facing the biggest walkout since the child-sexual abuse scandal hit.

James Martin, a priest who advocates for LGBT+ inclusion within the Catholic Church, commented following a Vatican statement that clergy must not bless same-sex unions.

The Vatican recently released an explanatory note insisting that clergy must not bless same-sex unions because God “cannot bless sin”.

“Not since the anger over sex abuse in 2002 and 2018 have I seen so many people so demoralised, and ready to leave the church, as I have this week,” Martin wrote.

He added: “And not simply LGBT+ people, but their families and friends, a large part of the church.”

There has been widespread disappointment among LGBT+ Catholics when the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith (CDF) released a statement banning blessings for same-sex couples . The note, signed by Jesuit Luis Ladaria Ferrer and archbishop Giacomo Morandi, argued that same-sex unions are “not ordered to the Creator’s plan”.

The Vatican insisted that regardless of the sins they commit, God loves all of his children. But, they also said God “does not and cannot bless sin”. This reverts to its traditional view that same-gender relationships must not be accepted by the church.

Pope Francis has faced stinging criticism for approving the explanatory note. Mary McAleese, former president of Ireland and an outspoken Catholic campaigner, criticised the Vatican’s statement as “unbearably vicious”.

McAleese, who has a gay son, wrote to Catholic archbishop Eamon Martin.

In it she said Pope Francis’ “chummy words to the press often quite reasonably realise hopes of church reform which are subsequently almost invariably dashed by firm restatements of unchanged church teaching”.

With the church facing a walkout of followers, Cardinal Kevin Farrell, head of the Vatican’s laity office, said, “The church teaches marriage can only be celebrated between a man and a woman. But, I do want to insist that nobody be excluded from the pastoral care and love of the church.”


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