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article imageVatican backs away from 'welcoming homosexuals' stance

By Greta McClain     Oct 16, 2014 in World
Rome - Despite Pope Francis saying homosexuals have "gifts and qualities to offer to the Christian community" and a push by LGBT rights groups for a more accepting Catholic Church, the Vatican has backed away from its "Welcoming Homosexual Persons" stance.
On October 8th Pope Francis convened the Third Extraordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops to address "the pastoral challenges of the family in the context of evangelisation”. On Monday, the Vatican released the mid-term report from what now is being called the Extraordinary Synod on the Family.
The report addresses various topics, including divorce and cohabitation outside of marriage, as well as how the church can welcome gays and lesbians "without compromising Catholic doctrine on the family and matrimony." In the section called Welcoming homosexual persons, the report says:
"Homosexuals have gifts and qualities to offer to the Christian community.....Often they wish to encounter a Church that offers them a welcoming home."
The wording of the report set off a firestorm between liberal and moderate bishops and their conservative counterparts. US Cardinal Raymond Burke, prefect of the Supreme Court of the Apostolic Signature, expressed his disagreement with the report, telling the Catholic World Report:
"While the document in question purports to report only the discussion which took place among the Synod Fathers, it, in fact, advances positions which many Synod Fathers do not accept and, I would say, as faithful shepherds of the flock cannot accept. Clearly, the response to the document in the discussion which immediately followed its presentation manifested that a great number of the Synod Fathers found it objectionable."
The report also helped to galvanize members of the Gay, Lesbian, Transgender and Bisexual (LGBT) community. According to the Catholic News Agency, several well-funded LGBT activist groups have targeted “outspoken” Catholic bishops, hoping to convince them to chance their stance and in turn, change Catholic practice and moral doctrine. Those efforts appear to have failed however, at least somewhat.
Earlier today, the Vatican released a new English version of the report. The new version removed the phrase “Welcoming homosexual persons,” and replaced it with the more restrictive phrase “providing for homosexual persons.” Many believe the revision means the Vatican is backing away from its "nonjudgmental" stance towards gays and lesbians, while the Vatican claims the revision is nothing more than a correction to a previously incorrect translation.
While members of the LGBT community are left wondering if the Catholic Church will continue its less than welcoming attitude towards gays and lesbians, one thing is for certain; the Synog and the controversy surrounding it is far from over.
More about Vatican, Catholic Church, Extraordinary Synod on the Family, Gays, Lesbians
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