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Austen Ivereigh

June 20, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – An indication of the true state of the Catholic Church under the Francis pontificate was unwittingly revealed by the Pope’s biographer and one of his most ardent defenders in a tweet.

“One time, the fringe at big Catholic events was made up of LGBT groups, women’s ordination & ‘Church of the poor’ advocates, complete with their friendly bishops,” observed Catholic journalist and papal biographer Austen Ivereigh in a June 18, 2018 Tweet. “Now the fringe is occupied by traditionalists (incl bishops) pushing a 1930 encyclical as a way out of ‘confusion’.”  

Ivereigh was responding to a tweet by another Catholic journalist, Ed Pentin, who had called attention to a parallel conference to be held in Ireland at the same time as the Vatican sponsored World Meeting of Families (WMOF).  

The alternate conference which will run concurrently with the WMOF is being held to defend the Church’s teaching on sexuality.  

The 1930 encyclical Casti Connubii, mentioned by Ivereigh in his tweet, will be highlighted at the parallel conference. The document was Pope Pius XI's response to the Anglican church approving contraception — the first time a Christian denomination had done so — at the Lambeth Conference. In it Pope Pius XI defended marriage and family life, emphasizing the sanctity of marriage, prohibiting artificial birth control, and reaffirming the Church’s stance on abortion. He also took a firm stand on eugenics

The WMOF has been embroiled in controversy regarding LGBT issues from the start.  Earlier this year, organizers of the event were pressured to remove images of same-sex couples as well as pro-homosexual texts from a booklet meant to prepare Catholic families for the WMOF.

Last month, in what is viewed as a gesture towards the LGBT movement, WMOF organizers began specifically soliciting volunteers from varied “communities and backgrounds” to participate.  Critics said the move signaled LGBT advocacy. 

More recently, it was announced that Father James Martin, the Jesuit priest who uses his large social media following to advocate for the Catholic Church to embrace homosexuality, had accepted the Vatican’s invitation to speak at WMOF.

Fr. Martin’s presentation, titled “Exploring how Parishes can support those families with members who identify as LGBTI+,” is perhaps the first instance of the Vatican seemingly denying the reality that there are only two genders.

Hosted by Ireland’s Lumen Fidei Institute, the alternate conference will feature noted orthodox Catholics including: 

  • Kazakhstani Bishop Athanasius Schneider;
  • Cardinal Raymond Burke, Archbishop-emeritus of St. Louis and a member of the Apostolic Signatura (via live feed video);
  • Fr. Thomas Weinandy, member, Vatican International Theological Commission;
  • Dr. Robert Royal, Faith & Reason Institute founder and president;
  • Dr. Gerard van den Aardweg, Dutch psychologist and psychoanalyst, expert on homosexuality, pedophilia, and gays within the Catholic priesthood;
  • Professor Stéphane Mercier; dismissed from Belgium’s Catholic University of Louvain for his stance against abortion and gender ideology;
  • John Smeaton, director of Britain's Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC);
  • John-Henry Westen, co-founder and editor-in-chief of LifeSiteNews.