Vatican: Catholic bishops will meet to discuss same-sex unions in October

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a pink background.

Catholic bishops will hold an ‘extraordinary meeting’ to discuss same-sex unions later this year, though a change in policy is extremely unlikely.

According to the LA Times, senior clerics will in October discuss a raft of controversial issues for the church, including same-sex unions, contraception, cohabitation, divorce and remarriage.

The “extraordinary” meeting of bishops will look at the results of a global survey on attitudes to family and relationships, which could signal a softer approach from the church to some issues.

Pope Francis last year raised hopes of a softer approach to LGBT issues, asking “who am I to judge [gay people]?”

However, he has since said that “matrimony is between a man and a woman”, and urged “sexual chastity” to prevent the spread of HIV.

Commentator John Thavis said: “It is telling the pope and the Vatican what they already know. But it’s what the Vatican in the past has not wanted to hear.

“It’s strategic, but it’s also a genuine effort to find out what the voice of the church really is on this.

“It’s very much Pope Francis who wants less of a top-down model — the bishops preaching the rules and doctrine down to the faithful — and more of a dialogue.”

The LA Times noted: “Hardly anyone expects the pope to propose sweeping changes to Catholic doctrine at the synod in October despite widespread criticism that the modern world has left the church behind.

“Indeed, Francis has unequivocally upheld heterosexual marriage and procreation as God’s established, sanctified ideal.”

The Pope is yet to respond to an invitation earlier this month from a New York homeless shelter, who asked him to ‘see for himself’ the damage Catholic policies did on LGBT teens.