A Catholic conference heard an appeal on Thursday from an American priest calling for the church to include lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people, Reuters reports.
Jesuit priest James Martin urged delegates to accept their "LGBT brothers and sisters" at the triennial Vatican-organized conference, called the World Meeting of Families, according to Reuters. "By excluding LGBT Catholics, you are breaking up God's family," Martin said.
Pope Francis, who has indicated support for the LGBT community, will attend the conference in Dublin this weekend. In the United States, members of almost all Christian denominations believe "homosexuality should be accepted," including 70 percent of Catholics, according to a 2015 Pew Research Center survey.
Still, the Vatican remains hostile on LGBT rights; one influential 1986 mandate delivered by the church condemns "homosexual tendencies" as an "intrinsic moral evil." LGBT-rights groups protesting the conference have called for changing the language of that mandate, Reuters reports.