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For The First Time Ever, Pope Francis Has Invited A Gay, Married Activist To Meet Publicly

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Pope Francis will meet with Simón Cazal, a gay, married activist and Executive Director of the LGBT equality group SOMOSGAY.

Simón Cazal (left) with husband, Sergio López

 

Pope Francis is set to meet with Simón Cazal, Executive Director of the LGBT equality organization SOMOSGAY, during a visit to Paraguay next month. According to BuzzFeed, this is the first time the pope will publicly meet with an LGBT political activist. The meeting will be held in the capital, Asunción on July 11.

Cazal posted his invitation on Twitter last week, and mentioned he was surprised to receive it. “Surprised by the invitation to the meeting with @Pontifex_es during their visit in Asuncion,” he wrote. “I hope you can talk.”

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While the invitation explains that Cazal was being invited because of the high impact his organization has in the Paraguayan society, it’s unclear as to what exactly will be discussed in the meeting. The vague wording in the letter seems to allude to finding a way to meet in the middle in regards to the LGBT community versus religion debate. The letter states, “It’s time to learn how to design, in a culture that favors dialogue as a way of meeting the search for consensus and agreements, but without separating the concern for a fair, memorious society without exclusions.”

Even though Cazal has been fighting for recognition of his Argentinean marriage to fellow activist, Sergio López, it is unlikely that Pope Francis will be endorsing marriage equality anytime soon since he continues to speak out against it. It’s possible that the pope may want to discuss violence against the LGBT community in general since SOMOSGAY made international headlines last year after police violently interrupted a peaceful demonstration in response to President Horacio Cartés’ decision to oppose a proposed declaration that would have indicated support of “diverse families.”

While Pope Francis has actively spoken out against marriage equality and LGBT adoptions, he is seen as being one of the most LGBT friendly popes in history. Last March, he had lunch with prisoners in Naples, Italy who identified as gay, transgender, and/or HIV positive. Also, in 2013, he made national headlines when he said, “If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge?”

The English translation of the letter received by Cazal is below.

Dear Sirs:

“It’s time to learn how to design, in a culture that favors dialogue as a way of meeting the search for consensus and agreements, but without separating the concern for a fair, memorious society without exclusions. The lead author, the historical subject of this process is the people and their culture, not a class, a fraction, a group, an elite. We do not need a project of a few to a few, or an enlightened or testimonial minority appropriates a collective sense. It is an agreement to live together, a social and cultural pact “. (1)

Pope Francisco visit Paraguay as “Messenger of Joy and Peace” and want to share this message on “Meet the Paraguayan Society for a Culture of Trust” as the joy and peace are based on mutual trust.

The Paraguayan Episcopal Conference, through the Organising Committee for the Visit of His Holiness Pope Francisco, recognizes the high impact of your organization in Paraguayan society, which invites one (1) representative thereof to participate in this meeting to be held in the stadium “León Condou” (Marcelino Noutz almost Avenida Spain – Assumption), on Saturday, July 11. The guest accesses the stadium between 13:00 and 14:30. We enclose the registration form, which must be returned by this means up to three days after receipt of this notice. The invitation is personal and not transferable and must be removed from the Metropolitan Seminary (Av. Kubitschek and Azara 661) from July 1.

We have the presence of a representative of your organization as a contribution to this meeting will strengthen the development of a culture of trust that allows us all Paraguayans build a better country.

Receive our warm greetings and blessing in the peace of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Pbro. Dr. Narciso Velazquez Ferreira

Rector – Catholic University “Our Lady of the Assumption” …

(1) Pope Francisco, in the Apostolic Exhortation “Evangelii Gaudium”, on announcing the Gospel in today’s world.

 

Image by Mazur/catholicnews.org.uk via Flickr and a CC license 

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