Monday, November 3, 2014
The Catholic Synod of Bishops said what!!??
Much has been said in the United States news media about the recent document released by the Synod on the Family especially on the topic of persons in homosexual relationships. Some early reports were clearly mistranslated by many in the media when reports came out on CNN and other cable news networks claiming the Catholic Church was moving toward the acceptance of same-sex unions. This was scaled back somewhat by official reports from the Vatican but the true intention of the Synod was still not being accurately reported. Furthermore, many "traditionalists" or "conservatives" in the Church reacted severely when the initial reports were made public.
The "final document" of the Synod has been released and the tone of the document is much different than the early media stories. There are two paragraphs in this final version (three in the draft report) regarding the topic of same-sex unions. Here they are:
55. Some families have members who have a homosexual tendency. In this regard, the synod fathers asked themselves what pastoral attention might be appropriate for them in accordance with the Church’s teaching: “There are absolutely no grounds for considering homosexual unions to be in any way similar or even remotely analogous to God's plan for marriage and family.”Nevertheless, men and women with a homosexual tendency ought to be received with respect and sensitivity. “Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided” )Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Considerations Regarding Proposals to Give Legal Recognition to Unions Between Homosexual Persons, 4
56. Exerting pressure in this regard on the Pastors of the Church is totally unacceptable: this is equally so for international organizations who link their financial assistance to poorer countries with the introduction of laws which establish “marriage” between persons of the same sex.
As you can see, there is no evidence here that the Catholic Church is changing its doctrines on homosexual issues. However, the Church is indeed changing its approach to persons with same-sex attractions. The emphasis is shifting from a severe outlook that tended to summarily dismiss or reject gays to a stronger push toward understanding and welcoming and finding ways to minister to homosexuals and involve them and their individual gifts in parish life.
And so, the Synod did not go far enough for some who were expecting/hoping the Church to change its teaching on homosexual matters and it went too far for some who are more traditional or conservative in their outlook.
In truth, no one should be looking for the Church to change any doctrine regardless of the topic. The Church has NEVER done that. But what you can expect is a more open armed attitude and approach to all persons in difficult pastoral situations (divorced & remarried, homosexual, single parent, etc.). This openness truly begins at the grassroots level with you and me being Jesus to each and every person we meet each and every day. (You can read the entire document by clicking here.)