Gay-Friendly Speakers Banned From Vatican Summit On Women’s Issues

Church officials removed former Irish President Mary McAleese and Ugandan LGBT activist Ssenfuka Juanita from the lineup.

A conference on women’s issues is being relocated from the Vatican after a church leader barred at least two speakers because of their pro-LGBT stances

Cardinal Kevin Farrell reportedly nixed former Irish President Mary McAleese and Ugandan activist Ssenfuka Juanita Warry from the Voices of Faith event, slated to take place inside the Vatican’s Casina Pio IV next month in conjunction with International Women’s Day.

McAleese, a staunch supporter of marriage equality and the ordination of women in the priesthood, has spoken publicly about her frustrations with her Catholic faith. Warry, meanwhile, has lobbied for protections for gays and lesbians in her homeland.

The move prompted organizers of this year’s conference, titled “Why Women Matter,” to move to a new location off Vatican grounds.

Chantal Gotz, who produces the conference, told Catholic News Agency she was “stunned” by Farrell’s decision, as similar speakers have not been flagged in the past. The summit, she says, “allows us to…create discussion and dialogue on the current power and leadership structures of our Church today.”.

As a result, Voices of Faith has been moved to the Jesuit Curia in Rome. “The Jesuits, in true form, have welcomed us and our speakers,” Gotz told CNA.

Dan Avery is a writer-editor who focuses on culture, breaking news and LGBT rights. His work has appeared in Newsweek, The New York Times, Time Out New York, The Advocate and elsewhere.