On the eve of Pope Francis’ visit to the United States, GLAAD has launched a campaign urging LGBT Catholics and their allies to reach out to the pope in hopes that he will meet with gays, lesbians and their families during the visit.
Called “Tell The Pope” and branded with the hashtag #TellThePope, the campaign asks people to submit their stories to a Tumblr page called tellthepope.tumblr.com.
“By posting your experiences with the Catholic Church as a member of this community, you allow the voices of many devout LGBT Catholics and their allies to be heard,” GLAAD, formerly known as the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, said in a statement.
According to the organization, 76 percent of American Catholics favor laws that would protect LGBT people against discrimination. “This is an opportunity for the pope to hear the stories of those who remain steadfast in their faith, yet are often still alienated by a minority group within the church,” GLAAD said. “A meeting with those members of the LGBT Catholic community would be the beginning of a healing process between both communities.”
The Tumblr page features pictures, videos and statements from those who address the pope directly.
— Ross Murray (@inlayterms) September 21, 2015
“Dear Pope Francis,” one entry reads. “The church cannot effectively proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ to the world, or defend the value of human life and promote human rights, while its pastoral leaders abuse LGBT human beings, and while Catholic institutions [carry out] ugly purges of LGBT employees. It is time for the pastoral leaders of the church to listen and learn from the graced experience of LGBT Catholics.”
Many entries simply include photos and a link to a petition that is supported by GLAAD, urging the pope to meet with lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Catholics during his U.S. visit.
Pope Francis has shifted the church’s tone on discussing homosexuality, declaring in 2013: "If a person is gay and seeks God and has good will, who am I to judge?"
He has not, however, changed church doctrine, which considers homosexual behavior a sin.