In a major policy shift, the Vatican has signaled in recent documents released on Monday that gays and lesbians had “gifts and qualities to offer” and asked if Catholicism could accept gays and recognize positive aspects of same-sex couples.
The document, known by its Latin name “relatio,” was prepared after a week of discussions on family at an assembly of 200 bishops, and said that the Church should challenge itself to find “a fraternal space” for gays without compromising the Catholic doctrine on the family and on matrimony. While the text doesn’t signal a change in the Church’s condemnation of homosexuality or its opposition to gay marriage, the language used was less judgmental and more compassionate than previous Vatican statements.
According to the Huffington Post:
“Homosexuals have gifts and qualities to offer the Christian community: are we capable of welcoming these people, guaranteeing to them a further space in our communities? Often they wish to encounter a Church that offers them a welcoming home,” said the document, known by its Latin name “relatio”.
“Are our communities capable of proving that, accepting and valuing their sexual orientation, without compromising Catholic doctrine on the family and matrimony?” it asked.
The document noted that “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.” While far from progressive, this attitude seems to reflect what Pope Francis has said on the matter: “If a person is gay and seeks God and has good will, who am I to judge.”
Meanwhile, Conservative Catholic organizations are already losing it. One organization, menacingly named “Voice of the Family,” called the document “betrayal” and said that it had been already rejected by “an international coalition of pro-family groups.” Their co-founder, John Smearton, added:
Those who are controlling the Synod have betrayed Catholic parents worldwide. We believe that the Synod’s mid-way report is one of the worst official documents drafted in Church history.
Thankfully the report is a preliminary report for discussion, rather than a definitive proposal. It is essential that the voices of those lay faithful who sincerely live out Catholic teaching are also taken into account. Catholic families are clinging to Christ’s teaching on marriage and chastity by their finger-tips.
And of course, Maria Madise, Voice of the Family’s coordinator, reminded everyone about those poor, poor children:
What will Catholics parents now have to tell their children about contraception, cohabiting with partners or living homosexual lifestyles? Will those parents now have to tell their children that the Vatican teaches that there are positive and constructive aspects to these mortal sins? This approach destroys grace in souls.
Hang on: you don’t think children are exposed to that and learn about that from their friends? The weather must be nice in whatever reality she lives in.