VATICAN CITY (LifeSiteNews) — Cardinal Joseph Tobin of Newark has expressed his hopes of a development in the Catholic Church’s “welcoming” of LGBT individuals as a result of the Vatican’s Synod on Synodality.
Fielding questions from journalists at the Holy See Press Office on Tuesday, Tobin spoke about his expectations for the ongoing Synod on Synodality.
Begun in 2021 and set to last until October 2024, the synod is currently at a critical midway stage, with over 400 participants assembled in Rome for a month-long meeting that forms the gateway between the local stages of previous years and the implementation of as-yet unknown results that will chiefly emerge from the October 2024 meetings.
Underpinning this October’s meetings is the Instrumentum Laboris, which promotes Amoris Laetitia’s argument that the divorced and “remarried” can be admitted to Holy Communion as a settled point of “magisterial and theological teaching” – an argument that recently received fresh papal support despite contradicting decades of magisterial teaching.
The Instrumentum Laboris also presents discussion topics on women’s diaconal “ordination,” married priests, and a need to “welcome” the “remarried divorcees, people in polygamous marriages, LGBTQ+ [sic] people.”
On this particular aspect of the Instrumentum Laboris, Tobin was asked what has emerged in the discussions on this topic so far.
The Archbishop of Newark did not provide precise details on the contents of the discussions, perhaps wishing not to violate the Vatican’s peculiar dictate of secrecy covering the event. Instead, he recounted an occasion when he welcomed to his cathedral a “pilgrimage of people who felt marginalized because of their sexual orientation, LGBTQ+ people.”
While Tobin said he could not stay for the full event, one of his auxiliary bishops stated to the group that, “We have a very beautiful cathedral. This is a wonderfully beautiful place, but it’s most beautiful when the doors are open.”
Adding his own commentary to the anecdote, Tobin stated that “the real beauty of our Catholic Church is clear when the doors are open and welcoming, and it’s my hope that this synod will help us do that in an even more significant way.”
At presser today, Cdl Tobin said he’s involved in prepping the #SynodonSynodality since 2018, when he joined Synod team.
In April 2018, Tobin said Church is “moving on the question of same-sex couples,” & in May 2021 he said “synodality is in fact, the long-game of #PopeFrancis” pic.twitter.com/okGDZQhick
— Michael Haynes 🇻🇦 (@MLJHaynes) October 10, 2023
Tobin has been a member of the ordinary council of the General Secretariat of the Synod of Bishops since October 2018. He revealed during today’s press conference that he has been involved in organizing the Synod on Synodality since 2018, presumably as a result of joining the General Secretariat.
But earlier in 2018, Tobin had made headlines for his comments on homosexuality. Speaking at a conference hosted by Villanova University, which focused on Pope Francis’ noteworthy actions, Tobin declared that “the Church is moving on the question of same-sex couples.”
“The church in recent decades has been somewhat marginalized by many for what they see as a preoccupation with sexual ethics,” said Tobin. “The church cannot reverse itself on its sexual ethics, but Pope Francis has shown that there are other issues on which the church and world can work together. This, too, is a step in the trajectory that leads back to Vatican II.”
In April 2021, Tobin highlighted the topic of “synodality” as “a long-established buzzword of this papacy.”
“Francis keeps calling for a more decentralized church, one marked by collaborative and consultative decision-making, a functionality we generally associate more with the horizontal structures of churches of the East as opposed to the top-down Roman hierarchy in the West,” he said.
At that point, the Synod on Synodality, while announced, was not yet revealed as being a multi-year event, instead of the more customary single meeting over a number of days or weeks. Tobin welcomed the upcoming event, saying it would be “essential for our shared growth as the body of Christ to be more aware and more intentional in our adoption of what Pope Francis sees clearly, and advocates openly, as a model of the Church that the Lord expects from us in this millennium.”
“Synodality is, in fact, the long-game of Pope Francis,” said Tobin, created cardinal by Francis in 2016.