People watch Pope Francis as he recites the Angelus noon prayer from the window of his studio overlooking St. Peter's Square, at the Vatican, Sunday, June 10, 2018. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)

Vatican-backed family rally to have workshop welcoming gays

June 11, 2018 - 1:09 pm

VATICAN CITY (AP) — The Catholic Church's upcoming big family rally in Ireland will feature workshops on hot-button issues facing Catholic families, including priestly sexual abuse, weathering divorce and ministering to lesbian and gay faithful.

Pope Francis will join the rally for the final two days, Aug. 25-26, presiding over the final Mass in Dublin.

Organizers on Monday unveiled the pastoral program leading up to Francis' arrival, and it includes some surprising entries. Perhaps none is more surprising than the inclusion of the Rev. James Martin, who will deliver a presentation on welcoming LGBT Catholics and their families into parishes.

Martin has had several talks canceled in the U.S. in recent months because of pressure from conservative groups opposed to his call for the church to better accompany gay Catholics.

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