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Vatican Scraps Pro-Gay Language from Synod Document

A dramatic shift in tone from the Vatican regarding gay people that was evident in the draft of a document produced by Catholic leaders at its synod on the family has been scrapped and all evidence of it removed by conservatives in the Church, the Guardian reports:

VaticanIn the final report of an extraordinary synod on the family which has exposed deep divides in church hierarchy, there is no mention – as there had been in a draft version – of the “gifts and qualities” gay people can offer.

Nor is there any recognition of the “precious support” gay partners can give each other.

A paragraph entitled “pastoral attention to people of homosexual orientation” – itself a distinctly cooler tone than “welcoming homosexual persons” – refers to church teaching, saying there can be “not even a remote” comparison between gay unions and heterosexual marriage.

“Nevertheless,” it adds, “men and women of homosexual tendencies must be welcomed with respect and sensitivity.” They should not suffer from discrimination, it adds.

But the shift in tone is clear. And even this watered-down passage failed to pass the two-thirds majority needed for it to be approved.

The other two paragraphs that failed to pass majority dealt with people who had divorced and remarried and whether they should be allowed to take communion.

The pro-gay text's rejection began shortly after the draft was released to the public. NYC Cardinal Timothy Dolan was among those who suggested the document needed "major reworking".


Pope Francis Demotes Anti-gay Conservative Cardinal Raymond Burke

Burke

Raymond Burke, the conservative American cardinal who in the past has said discrimination against LGBT people is "perfectly just and good," has been removed from his position as head of the Vatican's 'Supreme Court' by Pope Francis, Buzzfeed reports:

“I very much have enjoyed and have been happy to give this service, so it is a disappointment to leave it,” Burke said, explaining that he hadn’t yet received a formal notice of transfer. “On the other hand, in the church as priests, we always have to be ready to accept whatever assignment we’re given. And so I trust by accepting this assignment I trust that God will bless me, and that’s what’s in the end most important.”

Burke, who has now been placed in the largely ceremonial role as head of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, also spoke out against the on-going "family synod" of Catholic bishops, saying the meeting seems to have been designed to "weaken the church's teaching and practice."

“The pope, more than anyone else as the pastor of the universal church, is bound to serve the truth,” Burke said. “The pope is not free to change the church’s teachings with regard to the immorality of homosexual acts or the insolubility of marriage or any other doctrine of the faith.”

Earlier today, we reported the Vatican had caved to conservative backlash to reports the church was planning on becoming "welcoming to homosexual persons" - revising the English-translation of the report to now say "providing for homosexual persons."

Head over to Buzzfeed HERE for the full account of the behind-the-scenes scuffle between conservatives and reformers within the Catholic hierarchy. 


Overwhelming Majority of Young US Catholics Are Pro-Gay

Fracis2Though still officially opposed to homosexuality, the Catholic Church’s opinions of LGBT people is slowly evolving to align with the opinions of its followers. In June the Pew Research Center found that an overwhelming majority of Catholics--85%--between the ages of 18 and 29 felt that homosexuality should be socially acceptable. Catholics above the age of 65 were less supportive, but a 57% majority also reported that being gay should be accepted by general society.

A two-week long synod of Catholic bishops convened by Pope Francis has resulted in the drafting of a theological document arguing for wider acceptance of gays by the church. In it gay people are described as having “gifts and qualities to offer to the Christian community.” The document also acknowledges the fundamental love and intimacy that exists within committed gay relationships.

Drafted by a committee selected by Francis, the preliminary draft will be circulated both amongst synod participants and throughout the Catholic community for debate, revision, and review. In the past, similar documented shifts in position have resulted in long lasting change in church ideology. Many attendees of the gathering are likening it to The Second Vatican Council--a synod that redefined the Church’s relationship to other religions.

“A large number of bishops do not accept the ideas of openness, but few know that,” said Raymond Leo Burke, a conservative American cardinal working within the vatican. “[Many] are supporting the possibility of adopting a practice that deviates from the truth of the faith.”

Those opposing the document’s pro-LGBT stance have been quick to point out that it is more of working reference paper rather than a steadfast decree. In addition to a softening position towards gays, the document debates how the church should treat separated, but not divorced couples. It also condemns making financial aid contingent on ideological congruity between nation states, as the US has done to certain countries with oppressive anti-gay laws.

Read the full translated document AFTER THE JUMP...

 

Continue reading "Overwhelming Majority of Young US Catholics Are Pro-Gay" »


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

Dolan

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" »


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.


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