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One of the worlds largest international Catholic family conferences has been accused of intentionally excluding an LGBTI Catholic organisation that hoped to attend and exhibit at the event.

The GNRC (Global Network of Rainbow Catholics), which represents 32 LGBTI Catholic groups from across the globe, applied in April 2018 to exhibit at the World Meeting of Families (WMF), however, claim they have been left “deeply dismayed and disappointed” by the response.

While the LGBTI group had initially been ignored by the event organisers, the GNRC has now confirmed that they have finally been given a response.

Paul McCann, who is the exhibition coordinator for WMF, told the organisation that its application had not been successful due to “uncertainties over the amount of space we will have available for exhibitions because of other logistical considerations.”

However, despite the late reply, the GNRC fears that rather than an issue around space, their exclusion from the event may have had something to do with their work for LGBTI equality.

Speaking about GBRC’s exclusion from the event, We Are Church Ireland who has also not been allowed to take an exhibition stand at the conference, has accused the organisers of “double standards.”

Spokesperson Brendan Butler said that the conference’s claim that ‘all are welcome’ is a “contradiction and is just a public relations slogan.”

Christopher Vella, who is the Co-Chair of GNRC, commented saying that “This seems to follow a historical pattern of editing-out LGBTI voices and Catholic LGBTI stories, the faith-filled voices of our loving Catholic families and affirming church communities.”

“We believe that officials at the World Meeting of Families did not want to deal with further controversy related to the inclusion of Catholic LGBTI realities. Rather than face the fallout from a decision, they stalled and ignored our request.”

Vella added, “There are millions of Catholics who are LGBTI, and hundreds of millions who have LGBTI family members. They deserve effective ministry and pastoral care, just like everyone else in our Church.”

The World Meeting of Families will be taking place from the 21st to the 26th of August 2018 in Dublin, Ireland, and will be attended by the Pope himself.

The event is organised by the Catholic church every three years and aims to bring “together families from across the world to celebrate, pray and reflect upon the central importance of marriage and the family as the cornerstone of our lives, of society and of the Church.”

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