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Synod of Roman Catholic Bishops discussing shift in church attitudes towards LGBTQ persons and divorced catholics

Synod of Roman Catholic Bishops discussing shift in church attitudes towards LGBTQ persons and divorced catholics

The Roman Catholic Church’s Synod of Bishops released a mid-term report this morning signaling a potential shift in the Church’s pastoral response to several issues, including remarried divorced persons and homosexuals. Cardinal Péter Erdő, General Rapporteur of the Assembly, in speaking of Jesus; said; “the Truth, became incarnate in human fragility not to condemn it, but to heal it”

From Vatican Radio

“In the mid-term report the Synod Fathers speak of how it’s the task of the Church to recognize those seeds of the Word that have spread beyond its visible and sacramental boundaries. They appeal to the “law of graduality,” as a reflection of the way God reached out to humanity and led His people forward step by step.

The need was noted for further reflection on whether sacramental fullness doesn’t exclude the possibility of recognizing positive elements even in imperfect forms.”

And in a later press conference, Cardinal Erdő stressed that the mid-term report was a “working document” for Synod discussions. Cardinal Tagle of the Phillipines also said important work still needs to be done in the Synod.

“The Synod participants are being asked to see what needs to be deepened. What needs to be clarified? What other things should be raised, which we have not yet raised,” said Cardinal Tagle.

“So the drama continues,” he said.

The Huffington Post calls the report an “earthquake in the church’s attitude towards gays”

The full text of the report can be found here


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Gary Paul Gilbert

Marshall Scott: A lesbian was fired from a Roman Catholic parish in Kansas City after a local newspaper reported on her marriage to a Lutheran minister. She is now suing.

The Roman Church continues to lobby against civil marriage equality as well as fire employees who marry same-sex partners.

The Roman Church is an adversary on LGBT rights and women’s rights.

Claiming to be open to civil unions still allows them to lobby against full civil equality.

Likewise, in ecumenical relations, the Vatican claims to be the only real church but says that other ecclesial bodies have some element sof the truth. How charitable!

Gary Paul Gilbert

Rod Gillis

The back and forth between bishops is reminiscent of the back forth between bishops during V2, before documents reached final official form. In the end, what the Pope wants the Pope gets. This is interesting…

Marshall Scott

Pace Geoffrey and Shawn: You know, I can appreciate that a change in style is welcome. I would still wait to see how it’s lived out at three levels. One is whether this helps LGBTQ folks relate to families; and if so, that is a significantly good thing. A second is whether at the parish level it means fewer incidents happen as happened here in Kansas City where a person was fired for being gay and partnered when that had been openly known for some time. The third will be how it is expressed (if it is expressed) by individual bishops. We know some bishops in the United States have published a paper reacting against openness.

Shawn, I don’t know to what extent we’d want to identify the Roman Catholic Church as the “boogey man.” I know that we have enough of our own sins to turn around from. By the same token, we’re accountable for how we make (or fail to make) people welcome whatever the background.

Shawn Strout

I believe this is an incredibly good first step from the Synod! Is there more to do? Of course. But it is an important first step. And the change in tone is extremely important. I wish we would pay more attention to tone in the Episcopal Church. We get so eager to change everything, we sometimes don’t even give folk a chance to think before we’ve made the change. As I posted elsewhere, to paraphrase St. Paul, “If you have all the justice in the world but have not charity, it is vanity!” I also wonder if the Roman Catholic Church is no longer the “boogey man,” what identity will the Episcopal Church have then?

Geoffrey McLarney

While I agree that the shift is a matter of style, as a gay former RC I would caution against equating “stylistic” with insignificant or insubstantial. For queer RC families, the change in rhetoric is itself an almost unimaginable sea change. That it is, from an episcopal perspective, so long overdue and so regrettably incremental makes this all the more so, and not less.

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