Neither the Pope's comments nor the angry reaction should surprise anyone but they certainly come right on time for the Vatican-sponsored 6th World Annual Meeting of Families taking place in Mexico City from January 13th to January 18 of 2009. It's not clear if the Pope will attend but the event, the 6th organized by the Catholic Church since 1994 and the first to take place in North America, is expected to draw an estimated 30 Cardinals and 200 priests from around the world in addition to laymen interested in taking part.
Of course, by "families" the confab doesn't really mean all families. Just the heterosexual ones. And by "families" they also mean specially NOT the gay ones. Which is why a few Mexican LGBT-rights advocates are planning some actions.
Diego Cevallos, writing for Inter Press Service in a Spanish-language article published online today, says that some "social activists" as well as same-sex couples are planning to let their voices heard at the event ("Gays raise arms against hostile meeting of families").
From the article:
"They say we are not family, but we are and, additionally, Catholics and proud of it," said to IPS Esteban Castillo, a professional in electronics that lives in a common law partnership with another man.For his part, Víctor Espíndola, Director of the widely read online Mexican LGBT news portal Anodis.com, said that several important protests were planned but would not divulge details. He told IPS that the diversity of those who were planning demonstrations meant that there was also the possibility that certain actions might arise from one day to the other without much planning and that he expected some of them to be just as big.
Carrillo and a group of friends plan to be present at the site of the encounter in Mexico, which will be at the convention center that belongs to Banamex, and loudly, with posters and a "surprise", will claim "our right to be who we are, to be respected and recognized as Catholic believers", he said.
Mexico City, as IPS notes, has in the last few years adopted resolution granting partnership rights to same-sex couples, allowed transgender individuals to change their identity and name in public documents, allowed terminal patients to decide if they should end their lives and allowed women to have access to an abortion within the first twelve weeks of pregnancy - all of which clashes with the Catholic hierarchy of a deeply Catholic country.
By the way, somewhat related, in terms of the Pope's latest statements is the following blog post by Arthur Leonard which I recommend:
- Pope desperate to preserve the Catholic Church (Dec. 23, 2008)
- What Benedict actually said (Dec. 24,2008)