Date
21 October 2017
Cardinals and bishops attend a mass during the beatification of Pope Paul VI. The ceremony came as a synod on church doctrine ended at the Vatican. Photo: Reuters
Cardinals and bishops attend a mass during the beatification of Pope Paul VI. The ceremony came as a synod on church doctrine ended at the Vatican. Photo: Reuters

Catholic synod disappoints gay rights groups

Catholic gay rights groups are disappointed after bishops rejected proposals for wider acceptance which had the Pope’s backing.

The call to “accept and value” homosexuals was in a draft report but failed to win support from two-thirds of the bishops at a synod in Rome, according to BBC 

The final report says only that anti-gay discrimination is “to be avoided”.

Two other paragraphs suggesting divorced and remarried Catholics could receive communion also failed to pass.

The synod will meet again in a year’s time for further discussion.

More than 200 bishops from around the world had spent two weeks at the Vatican discussing some of the most controversial issues around family life.

The gathering has revealed divisions in Church opinion over how to adapt traditional teaching on human sexuality to 21st century attitudes, the report said.

Pope Francis had made a powerful appeal to traditionalists not to lock themselves within the letter of the law but conservative cardinals and bishops carried the day at the end of the synod.

The New Ways Ministry, a US Catholic gay rights group, said it was “very disappointing” that the synod’s final report had not retained “the gracious welcome to lesbian and gay people that the draft of the report included”.

But it added that the synod’s “openness to discussion” provided “hope for further development down the road”.

Another group, DignityUSA, said in a statement: “Unfortunately, today, doctrine won out over pastoral need.

“It is disappointing that those who recognised the need for a more inclusive Church were defeated.”

However, Christopher Lamb, from British Catholic journal The Tablet, told the BBC the discussion at the synod had been a “huge achievement in itself”.

He said it’s important to remember that many of the bishops at the synod were from countries where homosexuality is illegal.

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