Catholic bishops in Rome have moved to quash speculation of a dramatic new approach to viewing gay relationships.
A Vatican document said on Monday that although no official change in stance will be made with regards to same-sex marriage, the Catholic Church must learn to respect the positive aspects of gay couples.
The document said gay people have “gifts and qualities to offer the Christian community.”
John Thavis, a Vatican expert, called the document “an earthquake” in the Church’s attitude towards same-sex couples.
“The document clearly reflects Pope Francis’ desire to adopt a more merciful pastoral approach on marriage and family issues,” he said.
But on Tuesday several bishops warned against reading too much into a call for a change in tone.
Homosexuality remains a sin in the eyes of the Catholic Church and would not been seen as “positive”.
Italian news agency ANSA reports a joint statement read: “In relation to homosexuals, moreover, the need for a welcome was highlighted, but with the right care, in order not to create the impression of a positive evaluation of this approach on the part of the Church. The same attention had been called for in respect of cohabitation.”
Pope Francis urged clergy at the Synod last week to speak “without concerns of human respect and without fear.”
Speaking to reporters in July last year, Pope Francis said that gay people should not be judged or marginalised and should be integrated into society.
In March, Pope Francis declared: “matrimony is between a man and a woman”.
Well, let us wait and see if every Catholic country accepts this. But while they are making a start on righting wrongs, maybe they could stop repressing women in the many ways they do, stop raping children, and also turn the Priests they are harboring from prosecution on criminal charges face their accusers. That is a start, at least. And will believe this when it is accepted worldwide by ALL Catholics. Shall not hold my breath.
A new document summarizing the ongoing ‘family synod’ meeting of Catholic leadership reveals church officials are signaling a dramatic shift in tone regarding not only homosexuality, but divorce and contraception, The Tablet reports:
FrancisA document released at the halfway point of the gathering said that gay Catholics’ orientation should be valued and that they have “gifts and qualities” to offer parishes. The document also praised elements of same-sex partnerships.
“Are we capable of welcoming these people, guaranteeing them fraternal space in our communities? Often they wish to encounter a Church that offers them a welcoming home,” the document, presented this morning by Cardinal Peter Erdo, the relator general of the synod, stated. “Are our communities capable of providing that, accepting and valuing their sexual orientation, without compromising Catholic doctrine on family and matrimony?”
The Associated Press adds:
For a 2,000-year-old institution that believes gay sex is “intrinsically disordered,” even posing the question is significant.
“This is a stunning change in the way the Catholic church speaks of gay people,” said the Rev. James Martin, a Jesuit author. “The Synod is clearly listening to the complex, real-life experiences of Catholics around the world, and seeking to address them with mercy, as Jesus did.”
The bishops repeated that gay marriage was off the table. But it acknowledged that gay partnerships had merit.
“Without denying the moral problems connected to homosexual unions, it has to be noted that there are cases in which mutual aid to the point of sacrifice constitutes a precious support in the life of the partners,” they said.
For heterosexuals, the bishops said they must grasp the “positive reality of civil weddings” and even cohabitation, with the aim of helping the couple commit eventually to a church wedding.
The document also reveals bishops have called for a re-reading and greater study of the church’s guidelines for opposition to artificial birth control, stating the need to “respect the dignity of the person in the moral evaluation of the methods of birth control.