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Vatican Caves To Conservative Bishops, Backtracks On 'Welcoming' Gay People - VIDEO

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Following protests from conservative bishops, the Vatican has backtracked on reports earlier this week that it had planned to be “welcoming to homosexual persons,” according to the Huffington Post.

The Relatio post disceptationem report from the Extraordinary Synod on the Family faced a severe backlash from conservatives, some of whom accused the leadership of the conference of misrepresenting the proceedings to advance its agenda. The section on homosexuality was especially divisive because it was the first Vatican document that reflected Pope Francis’ earlier announcement that he would take a  nonjudgmental approach to homosexuality.

Homophobic American Cardinal Raymond Burke [pictured below] who chairs the Vatican’s highest court of canon law - and in 2010 said that discrimination against LGBT people is “perfectly just and good” - has been one of the most outspoken critics of the report. He said “the document lacks a solid foundation in the Sacred Scriptures and the Magisterium” and accused the bishops leading the meeting of advancing “positions which many Synod Fathers do not accept.”

BurkeFollowing the conservative backlash, Vatican leaders stressed that “welcoming homosexual persons” is not an official declaration of the synod. The less inclusive phrase “providing for homosexual persons” has now been substituted.

Notably, the revision is in English translation only - the published Italian, Spanish and French translations have not been changed and still use language meaning "welcoming homosexual persons."

Watch Vatican spokesperson Father Federico Lombardi discuss the new translation, AFTER THE JUMP...

 

Continue reading "Vatican Caves To Conservative Bishops, Backtracks On 'Welcoming' Gay People - VIDEO" »


NYC Cardinal Dolan Says Pro-Gay Document from Vatican 'Needs Some Major Reworking': VIDEO

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NYC Archbishop Cardinal Timothy Dolan, spoke to CBS This Morning about the Vatican document released Monday that appeared to show a marked change in the Catholic Church's attitude toward gay people. The document caused such a stir that yesterday Catholic leaders backtracked, calling it a "working document," a sentiment echoed by Dolan in his interview Wednesday morning.

The document "needs some major reworking," Dolan said.

Added Dolan:

"All of this is almost like antipasto to help the holy father arrive at a fresh new way to teach the timeless teaching on marriage and family...I know there is remarkable unanimity and enthusiasm in backing the holy father’s attempt to present the teachings of the church in fresh, exciting and engaging new ways, but there might be some good, deep discussion on the way that is being expressed.”

Watch Dolan's interview, AFTER THE JUMP...

Dolan, who claims to not be "anti-anybody", has equated same-sex marriage to incest, denied LGBT Catholics entry to mass, and insisted LGBT individuals are entitled to friendship, not marriage. In 2012 he vehemently opposed same-sex marriage legislation in New York state, calling it a "communist threat" and has since complained that he felt burned by lawmakers. In May Dolan issued a memo to LGBT Catholics urging them to "pray, fast, and sacrifice" over the Supreme Court's upcoming decisions on marriage.

Last December Dolan said the Church had been "out-marketed" in its fight against gay marriage and in March he said that Pope Francis is not for civil unions and that the thought made him uncomfortable.

Continue reading "NYC Cardinal Dolan Says Pro-Gay Document from Vatican 'Needs Some Major Reworking': VIDEO" »


Stephen Colbert Doesn't 'Give a Whatevs' About the String of Recent Gay Marriage Victories: VIDEO

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Stephen Colbert is now blasé about the whole gay marriage thing (because it's popular!) but last night he expressed surprise about the most recent state to come down:

"Gay marriage is legal in Alaska! Gay couples will have the right to celebrate the traditional Alaskan way - by having Bristol Palin cold-cock one of their guests."

He also took a look at recent statements by the Catholic church that have been perceived as welcoming to gay people.

Check it out, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Stephen Colbert Doesn't 'Give a Whatevs' About the String of Recent Gay Marriage Victories: VIDEO" »


Vatican Backtracks On Positive Comments About Gays Following Conservative Backlash

It appears there have been some aftershocks to yesterday's pastoral earthquake. Despite a groundbreaking report issued yesterday from the Vatican which declared unheard-of support for gay persons, saying gay people have unique “gifts and qualities” to offer their parishes, the Catholic Church is today backtracking on the report as a result of the ire expressed by more conservative members of the clergy. CNN reports: 

6a00d8341c730253ef01a511d5bb66970c-250wiIn response to such reactions, the Vatican backtracked a bit Tuesday. In a statement, it said the report on gays and lesbians was a "working document," not the final word from Rome.

The Vatican also said that it wanted to welcome gays and lesbians in the church, but not create "the impression of a positive evaluation" of same-sex relationships, or, for that matter, of unmarried couples who live together.

But gay rights groups say that's precisely the impression the Vatican gave Monday when it said:

"Homosexuals have gifts and qualities to offer to the Christian community. Are we capable of welcoming these people, guaranteeing to them a fraternal space in our communities? Often they wish to encounter a church that offers them a welcoming home. Are our communities capable of providing that, accepting and valuing their sexual orientation, without compromising Catholic doctrine on the family and matrimony?"

Such statements seem to be in line with the more merciful approach the church has taken toward gays and lesbians under Pope Francis. In 2013, Francis famously said, "Who am I to judge" gay people?

On Monday morning, just before the Vatican released its positive report on gays, Francis preached that laws that do not lead people to Jesus are "dead," and that Christ did "strange things" such as hanging out with sinners and tax collectors.

Monday’s report also said of same-sex relationships, “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” and said bishops must grasp the "positive reality of civil weddings" where heterosexual co-habitation (i.e. “living in sin”) is concerned. 

Despite the backtrack, some gay rights advocates still herald Monday’s report and believe today’s retread isn’t a devastating a setback:

6a00d8341c730253ef01a3fd263b67970b-250wi"I actually don't think this is as much of a backtrack as we usually see!" said Marianne Duddy-Burke, head of the gay rights group Dignity USA.

"I think that response to this report was swift and intense, and I'm sure many bishops want to be sure people aren't reading more into it than is there," she continued. "However, it is undeniable that there has never been any Vatican document that made positive, respectful statements about same-sex relationships, so that is an undeniable breakthrough."

Francis DeBernardo, executive director of New Ways Ministry, echoed that sentiment.

"Regardless of the fact that this is a working document, it is still significant in that it reveals a strong current of affirmative attitudes at high levels in the church towards lesbians and gay people," he said.


Catholic Bishops Signal Dramatic Shift in Tone, Acknowledge 'Positive' Aspects of Gay Relationships

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.

Additionally, the document showed disagreement between bishops on the issue of Communion for divorced and remarried Catholics, with calls for greater theological study on the matter. 


Pope Francis Urges Honest Debate On Homosexuality, Marriage, Contraception, Divorce - VIDEO

Pope Francis has urged bishops to speak freely on issues such as contraception, same-sex marriage and divorce at a two-week meeting aimed at making the Catholic church's teaching on family matters relevant to today's Catholics, reports The Associated Press.

FrancisThe synod marks the first time the Vatican is addressing homosexuality on a pastoral level. Earlier this year, Francis suggested that the church may be open to the idea of supporting same-sex civil unions.

In a bid to encourage honest debate, the Vatican is restricting public information about what is said at the meeting and will not be releasing texts of individual bishops as it has done in the past.

In order to inform the debate, Francis last year sent a questionnaire to bishops’ conferences around the world which confirmed that while most Catholics believe in the indissolubility of marriage, the vast majority ignore and reject church teaching on sex and contraception. The responses also suggested that the church needs to develop a pastoral plan to minister to gay people in civil unions and to children being raised in such families.

At the start of the meeting today, Francis told bishops “you have to say what you feel the Lord tells you to say, without concerns of human respect and without fear.”

Church reform groups have said the pope’s insistence on open debate are reason for hope. However, Conservative churchmen are hoping that the synod will simply reaffirm church doctrine and make it more known and understood by Catholics.

Watch a BBC report on the opening of the synod, AFTER THE JUMP...

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