Pope to be greeted on US visit with banner urging him to stop Catholic homophobia

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An LGBT charity will help welcome the Pope to the United States – with a banner urging him to stop anti-gay discrimination within the Catholic Church.

The head of the global Catholic Church will visit a number of cities on his tour of the US from next week, which will include personal meetings with President Barack Obama and many prominent figures.

LGBT rights reforms within the church are expected to be entirely off the table during the trip, with zero meetings with LGBT groups present on his extensive itinerary.

Despite visiting a church literally across the street from LGBT group the Human Rights Campaign, the Pope will not stop to speak to the group.

However, as the pontiff embarks on a series of sermons, HRC are still trying to get their message heard by the leader.

As the Pope arrives in Washington’s Cathedral of St Matthew, a few doors down from the HRC headquarters, a banner will be hung from their building calling on him to speak out.

The banner will say: “We Are Your Children, Your Teachers, Your Faithful. Welcomed by God. Dismissed By Our Bishops. Pope Francis, Will You Welcome Us Home?”

LGBT Catholics will also gather outside the group’s headquarters, “to raise their voices in welcome while urging the pontiff to embrace them as God has”.

Despite an early ‘who am I to judge’ PR blitz attempting to bolster his image, the Pope is yet to lift any of the actively homophobic and transphobic policies of his predecessors.

Proposals to ‘reach out’ to gay people were scrapped by the Church last year – and despite suggestions that the plans would return at a 2015 Synod, it soon became clear the Church has no plans to discuss the matter again.

The Pope has also increasingly rallied against same-sex marriage, inviting representatives from listed hate groups to a ‘traditional marriage’ conference, urging Slovakians to vote against equal marriage, which he claims “disfigures God’s creation”.

HRC President Chad Griffin said: “As leader of the Church, his words set a powerful example, and reveal our shared values of justice, equality, respect, and compassion.

“But, sadly, many in our community are still being fired from their jobs at Catholic schools, and shunned by their church communities simply because of who they are.

“So while we join in welcoming the Pope to the United States, we will also be urging him to continue to move toward greater acceptance and embrace of members of our community who are longing to hear that their Church welcomes them– and their families–fully. We are all God’s children.”