Cardinal Kevin Farrell has reportedly barred several speakers set to address an annual women’s event inside the Vatican over concerns about their LGBT positions, prompting organizers to find another venue.
First held in 2014, the “Voices of Faith” (VoF) event has taken place inside the Vatican’s Casina Pio IV, headquarters of the Pontifical Academy for Sciences, every March for the past four years.
Organizers have relocated the 2018 conference, titled “Why Women Matter,” to another location outside Vatican grounds, after two high-profile speakers didn’t meet the Vatican’s approval: Mary McAleese, former president of Ireland, and Ssenfuka Juanita Warry, who runs a non-profit advocating for LGBT Catholics in Uganda.
Farrell heads the Vatican Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life, the office in charge of organizing the World Meeting of Families this August and the 2019 international World Youth Day in Panama. Given the topic of this year’s Synod of Bishops, which will reflect on “Faith, young people and the discernment of vocation,” Farrell’s office is also a key player in organizing that event.
It is reported that Farrell made the decision because of the proposed speakers’ opposition to Catholic teaching on homosexuality.
McAleese has previously advocated for same-sex marriage, accusing the Catholic Church of “hypocrisy” for its stance on marriage. She has also publicly advocated for the ordination of women to the priesthood, in opposition to the teachings of the Church expressed in Pope St. John Paul II’s Ordinatio Sacerdotalis.
Warry is also an active campaigner on issues related to homosexuality.
Chantal Gotz, founder and managing director of VoF, told CNA she was “stunned” by Farrell’s decision, as, she says, similar issues were not raised as a problem in the past.
She said the conference has previously invited speakers who hold opposing views to the Church’s teaching on major issues such as abortion, contraception and women’s ordination. Some of them have spoken openly about their positions during the event.
Organizers of VoF opted for a change of location rather than adjusting their rostrum of speakers, and the conference will now take place at the Jesuit Curia in Rome.
“The Jesuits, in true form, have welcomed us and our speakers,” Gotz told CNA, explaining that she is unsure if Cardinal Farrell’s decision will affect future VoF events.
Full story at Catholic News Agency.