Gay Catholics slam Church for scrapping plans to ‘welcome homosexuals’
A number of Catholic gay groups have expressed disappointment at the Church’s decision to scrap plans to relax anti-gay policies.
At a synod on ‘family values’ held the past fortnight, a proposal document said the Catholic Church must learn to respect the positive aspects of gay couples.
In a second draft, watered down to appease more conservative bishops, the section originally titled “welcoming homosexuals was retitled “providing for homosexual persons”, and the overall tone of the document became less accepting.
However, even with the changes, the proposal yesterday failed to pass a vote of bishops with a two-thirds majority, and was stripped from the final report – meaning that the Church will maintain its current policy, which teaches that homosexuality is ‘intrinsically disordered’.
Francis DeBernardo, of New Ways Ministry said: “The synod’s final report significantly backtracks on LGBT issues from the draft released earlier this week.
“It’s very disappointing that the Synod’s final report did not retain the gracious welcome to lesbian and gay people that the draft of the report included.
“Instead, the bishops have taken a narrow view of pastoral care by defining it simply as opposition to marriage for same-gender couples.
“One major error the bishops made in the final report was to quote the Vatican’s 2003 document condemning same-gender marriage, which referred to adoption by gay and lesbian couples as a form of ‘violence’ toward the children.
“Such language is pastorally harmful and destructive to any welcome to lesbian and gay people.”
Kieran Rose of Ireland’s Gay and Lesbian Equality Network said: “This Synod of Bishops has missed the opportunity to reflect and embrace the very positive changes in attitude towards lesbian and gay people that have come about over the last 20 years.
“It is disappointing that the majority of the Synod chose not to reflect reality, and that elements within the Catholic Church continue to say to lesbian and gay people, and to their parents and families, that they are not welcome.”
Marianne Duddy-Burke of DignityUSA said: “A return to what we’ve heard for decades will dishearten LGBT people, same-sex couples, and our families.
“What we saw through the Synod process is that there are deep divisions in what the Catholics bishops think about LGBT people, even at the highest levels of leadership.
“Unfortunately, today, doctrine won out over pastoral need. It is disappointing that those who recognized the need for a more inclusive Church were defeated.
“We anticipate that significant dialogue and debate at all levels of the Church will continue for the year leading up to the Synod in October 2015.
“In the meantime, as this just-concluded Synod has shown, the words and actions of Church leaders matter deeply and impact LGBT people and our families every day.
“Whether a bishop stands against a law criminalizing homosexuality, whether a Church employee in a same-sex marriage can keep her job, whether an LGBT high school student is bullied—all of these things flow from what the Church teaches.”
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