Room for Everybody

Pope Francis greets people as he visits Cassano allo Ionio, in Italy's Calabria region, with Bishop Nunzio Galantino of Cassano allo Ionio. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

The Catholic Church should make “unconventional couples” feel at home instead of making them targets of “de facto discrimination,” the leader of the Italian Bishops’ Conference and an ally of Pope Francis said. “Couples in irregular matrimonial situations are also Christians, but they are sometimes looked upon with prejudice,” said Bishop Nunzio Galantino, apparently referring to divorced and remarried Catholics. “The burden of exclusion from the sacraments is an unjustified price to pay, in addition to de facto discrimination,” he said on Aug. 27 in an address to a national conference on liturgy in Orvieto, Italy. Bishop Galantino was Francis’ choice in March to lead the fractious Italian hierarchy. He has spoken about the need for the church to welcome gays and to consider optional celibacy for the priesthood. In his talk, the bishop stressed that everyone should “feel at home” in the church, and especially at Mass—including migrants, the disabled, the poor and those in unconventional relationships.

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