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The conferences are claiming to assist bishops in implementing Pope Francis' 2016 document Amoris Laetitia, which Chicago archbishop, Cdl. Blase Cupich, has called "a paradigm shift" in how the Catholic Church will deal with divorced and civilly remarried and same-sex couples, saying it is "nothing short of revolutionary."
Cupich, a conference organizer known for his left-leaning views, claimed there are "complex realities that couples and families face today are singularly different from those of the past."
Other organizers include Cdl. Joseph Tobin, archbishop of Newark, New Jersey; Bp. Robert McElroy, bishop of San Diego, California; and Fr. James Keenan, a Jesuit theologian at Boston College. Each of them have openly advocated for a change in Church doctrine regarding homosexuality.
The conferences are being held on February 19, 21 and 23 at three different locations. Cardinal Donald Wuerl of Washington, D.C. and Abp. Wilton Gregory will speak at Boston College, while Cdl. Tobin and Cdl. Cupich will speak at the University of Notre Dame, and Bp. Stephen Biegler and Bp. McElroy will speak at Santa Clara University.
Other speakers will include a host of theologians and canon layers like Dr. Kate Ward, a public supporter of the group Call to Action, which backs the ordination of women, so-called same-sex marriage and artificial birth control.
In 2016 four prominent cardinals requested a clarification, called the dubia, from Pope Francis regarding statements made in chapter 8, paragraphs 300–305 in Amoris Laetitia, claiming it is spreading "a grave disorientation and great confusion" among the faithful over "contrasting interpretations." Pope Francis, however, has not directly responded.
Others have come out in support of the dubia cardinals, who have faced harsh criticism by fellow prelates, with a number of priests and laymen sending their own requests that Pope Francis clear up the confusion over his exhortation on marriage and the family.
Cupich has expressed disagreement over "church language" calling same-sex genital acts "intrinsically disordered," complaininng that such words can "dehumanize gay and lesbian people." The Chicago cardinal is also welcoming Jesuit homosexualist Fr. James Martin to speak at his cathedral this year. Martin is best known for his attempts to normalize homosexuality in the Church, claiming that homosexual are not bound to chastity, and expressing hopes that the Church would change its teaching on so-called same-sex marriage.