Vatican concludes that there are ‘no grounds’ for same-sex marriage

The Catholic Church will make no concessions for LGBT people in the church as the Family Synod concludes in Rome.

As the controversial Catholic synod closed this weekend, Roman Catholic bishops voted on a summary document which decided against overhauling the church’s teaching on gay Catholics.

Summarising the gathering, Pope Francis described the Vatican summit as a way to “open up broader horizons, rising above conspiracy theories and blinkered viewpoints”.

“Surely it was not about finding exhaustive solutions for all the difficulties and uncertainties which challenge and threaten the family,” he said.

“But rather about seeing these difficulties and uncertainties in the light of the Faith, carefully studying them and confronting them fearlessly, without burying our heads in the sand.”

However, although his language may have seemed welcoming, the final document released by the Vatican was by no means a triumph for progressives.

The document – agreed on Saturday night – reflects the continuing deep rift that remains between conservative and progressive factions within the church hierarchy.

The language describing same-sex marriage as “not even remotely analogous” to heterosexual marriage marked a clear victory for the conservative camp – who continue to argue that homosexuality is a sin.

The bishops concluded that church teaching would remain – it was agreed that homosexuals should not be discriminated against but said there were “absolutely no grounds” for gay marriage.

The Pope also alluded to the scandal and rumour that has plagued the divisive Synod, saying “the different opinions which were freely expressed – and at times, unfortunately, not in entirely well-meaning ways.”

This final ruling may not come as a surprise to many – especially given the pontiff’s opening statements to the gathering.

Nevertheless, it will still come as a blow to the countless LGBT Catholics who were hoping for a more inclusive outcome.

In a clear challenge to that doctrine, Monsignor Krzysztof Charamsa announced that he was a gay, practising Catholic priest a day before the gathering took place – before calling for the synod to take up the plight of gays and attacking the “paranoid” homophobia of the church.

Ignoring his pleas, the Vatican subsequently fired him – claiming “the decision to make such a pointed statement” was “very serious and irresponsible”

In addition, despite an early ‘who am I to judge’ PR blitz attempting to bolster his image, the Pope is yet to lift any of the actively homophobic and transphobic policies of his predecessors.

Proposals to ‘reach out’ to gay people were scrapped by the Church last year – and despite suggestions that the plans would return this year, it is clear that the Church has no plans to change its stance on the subject.