Some 200 Roman Catholic priests attending a meeting at the Vatican, otherwise known as a synod, backed away from recent signs that the Church may be evolving its stance towards homosexuality.
Last week the synod, which was aimed at discussing the Church’s stance on “family issues” including divorce and remarriage, had drafted a document saying that “homosexuals have gifts and qualities to offer to the Christian community”.
Conservative cardinals in the synod, however, called for a revision of the section of the document addressing homosexuality, changing its title from “welcoming homosexual persons” to “pastoral attention to people of homosexual orientation”.
Even with the watered down language of the new document, however, it still failed to gather a majority vote from the attending cardinals.
“The language of compromise was eviscerated from Monday’s summary,” Patrick Hornbeck, chair of theology at the Christian Fordham University, was quoted as saying by the Washington Post. “The bishops who were more prophetic and progressive have found themselves drowned out by a chorus of hesitation and concern.”
Father Thomas Reese, a senior analyst from the National Catholic Reporter, was quoted by Reuters as saying, “Some of the bishops are concerned that if they say too many nice things about divorced and remarried Catholics or people who are cohabiting or homosexuals, then people will say, ‘Oh well, it doesn’t matter, all sexual unions are equal.’”
“But no, they want to be clear, no, they are not,” he continued. “But at the same time they want to be welcoming to these people. So they try to find the right language. Now there are also some bishops who just don’t want to go anywhere near this topic and don’t think the church needs to change anything in the way it approaches it.”