[Church-sponsored] Milan Cathedral [and Lourdes] “Romantic” Tours Include [Invitations for] Homosexual Couples
[In keeping with FrankenPope’s “Welcoming (‘Who am I to judge’) church”]
by Church Militant • February 14, 2016
MILAN (Juliana Freitag) – Love-themed tours are being offered in the Milan Cathedral for Valentine’s Day — and they’ll include homosexual couples.
The organization responsible for the restoration and maintenance of the cathedral, La Veneranda Fabbrica del Duomo (“The Venerable Factory of the Cathedral”), is sponsoring the romantic tours, with the aim of raising funds for the renovation. The program includes a visit to the Church’s spires at sunset.
Unlike other tours, which are open to the general public and may include children, this one is aimed specifically at adult couples. If their donation surpasses 80 euros, a personalized certificate is issued as “a special gift to your beloved.” La Veneranda is also encouraging couples to post photos on social media in order to spread the word about the fundraising campaign.
In the midst of heated debate in the Italian Senate over the gay civil unions bill — a law that would give homosexual couples the same rights as heterosexual couples, including the right to adopt — LGBT group Arcigay is seizing on an opportunity to politicize its cause through the cathedral’s Valentine’s Day tours.
Fabio Pellegata, president of the Milan branch of Arcigay, contacted La Veneranda asking whether gay couples might take part, and La Veneranda confirmed that “there is no preclusion from the participation of homosexual couples.” Pellegata has said this response is “an important sign of openness from a religious body.”
A group of gay Christians, Il Guado (“The Ford”), has also welcomed the initiative and is prompting its members to participate in the tours. Their spokesman Gianni Geraci has said that “this sign, even if small, is positive and should be encouraged.”
Even though La Veneranda judicially operates independently from the Church, its advisory board includes members either directly appointed or at least approved by the archbishop of Milan. Cardinal Angelo Scola, current archbishop, is famous in the Italian media for controversial statements, including his approval of the construction of a mosque in Milan and his public defense of Islam, as well as his calling for “a new world order.”
As of press time, the Milan archdiocese has issued no statement on the matter.
Lourdes also featured a weekend for couples, inviting both heterosexual and homosexual couples. A flyer released by the Lourdes diocese Friday urged: “Come to Lourdes to say I love you.” It was part of an effort called “Operation St. Valentine,” meant to encourage visitors to the pilgrimage site in light of decreasing numbers over the past few years.
Sanctuary treasurer Thierry Castillo clarified that the weekend was “open to all kinds of couples — married, not married, homosexual …”
David Torchala, communications director for the diocese, said of the initiative, “The goal is not to know who they are, the idea is to welcome all couples so that they entrust their love to the Lord. It’s a prayer for couples.”
“This initiative aims to extend God’s love to all,” Torchala said. Lourdes’ bishop Nicolas Brouwet was set to lead the prayers.