Openly gay Christians, a controversial nun who clashed with the Catholic Church and a transgender woman are reportedly among the invited guests greeting Pope Francis at the White House next week, a move that one Catholic activist calls “an ambush” and “political stunt.”
While it is unclear if gay former Episcopal Bishop Gene Robinson, gay Catholic blogger Aaron Ledesma, Sister Simone Campbell or biological man Vivian Taylor will have the opportunity to meet the pontiff face to face, the quartet’s presence, along with many other guests, is seen by some as a visible nod to factions who would wish to nudge the Church left.
“This is definitely out of the ordinary,” said Michael Hichborn, president of the Catholic watchdog Lepanto Institute. “[President Obama is] trying to force the pope into a situation where it seems as if the Church is giving license to homosexuality and socialism.”
Francis has been somewhat of a Rorschach pope, his positive, but often ambiguous, statements being interpreted by those on the right or the left to mean what they want. But, Hichborn said, highlighting guests whose lifestyles are in opposition to the teachings of the Church threatens to turn the religious visit into political theater.
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