19 May 2014, The Tablet

Cafod turns down gay volunteer 'inspired by Francis'

A prominent gay Catholic has been told he cannot be a Cafod volunteer due to his “speaking out against aspects of church teaching”.

Terence Weldon, who runs a blog “Queering the Church” and has consistently questioned teaching on homosexuality, had responded to an appeal for Cafod volunteers and underwent training to talk about the aid agency’s work in schools. But he was later told by Cafod’s Arundel and Brighton branch that he could not be used as a volunteer because of his stance against church teaching on homosexuality.

For his part, Mr Weldon said he put himself forward as a volunteer because he felt it was time for him to focus on issues that were of “more importance to the Church” than matters to do with sexuality and had been inspired after reading Pope Francis’ apostolic exhortation Evangelii Gaudium. Mr Weldon stressed that he did not blame Cafod for the decision to bar him from volunteering, but the problem is “with the institutional Church which will not tolerate any disagreement”.

A spokesperson for Cafod said: “Given Terence’s highly visible role speaking out against aspects of church teaching, it could risk confusion were he to adopt a similarly visible role speaking out on Cafod’s behalf in schools, regardless of how separate Terence kept the two activities,” adding that Mr Weldon had been offered the opportunity to support Cafod’s work in his local parish.

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