Gay activists praise Synod mid-term report: ‘total reversals of earlier church statements’
ROME - The Vatican Synod’s mid-way working document calling for Catholics to “accept and value” same-sex relationships and unmarried, cohabiting unions, has garnered a deluge of praise from homosexualist, secularist and leftist activists.
Some of the most effusive praise came from Francis DeBernardo, of the American, New Ways Ministry, who is in Rome conducting meetings through the length of the Synod.
DeBernardo said that the document, called the “relatio post disceptationem,” “offers some very hopeful directions in the way that Church leaders should address lesbian and gay people and their families.”
The document suggests “accepting and valuing [homosexuals’] sexual orientation” and proposes allowing Communion for divorced-and-remarried Catholics on a “case-by-case basis”.
DeBernardo said in a statement, “The most significant aspects are that Catholic communities are offered the challenge of ‘accepting and valuing’ lesbian and gay people’s sexual orientation, and the recognition that lesbian and gay people ‘have gifts and qualities to offer to the Christian community.’”
He called these changes “total reversals of earlier church statements,” such as that of the Catechism of the Catholic Church that maintains homosexuality is an “objectively disordered” condition.
Fr. James Martin, the Jesuit priest and Culture Editor of the leftwing US magazine America, called it “a stunning change” and “astonishing.”
“This is something that even a few years ago would have been unthinkable, from even the most open-minded of prelates--that is, a statement of outright praise for the contribution of gays and lesbians, with no caveat and no reflexive mention of sin,” Martin wrote.
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“That any church document would praise same-sex ‘partners’ in any way (and even use the word ‘partners’) is astonishing,” he added, noting that it is “a revolutionary change in how the church addresses the LGBT community.”
Both DeBernardo and Martin also said that the document was remarkable as much because of what it left out as what it said. Martin wrote, “Nowhere in the document are such terms as ‘intrinsically disordered,’ ‘objectively disordered,’ or even the idea of ‘disinterested friendships’ among gays and lesbians, which was used just recently.”
“Clearly Pope Francis’s call for openness at the beginning of the Synod has allowed the bishops to listen carefully, to speak their minds and to be open to new ways of thinking,” Martin wrote.
DeBernardo commented, “there is no vicious condemnation of [same-sex unions] as previous hierarchical statements have. We don’t see the gloom and doom and apocalyptic horror that Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI and their followers have foretold because of the advent of same-gender marriages.”
Human Rights Campaign, the largest homosexualist advocacy and lobbying group the United States, called the relatio “potentially ground-breaking” and also noted that in a first for any Vatican document, it “referred to LGBT couples as ‘partners’ instead of sinners.”
“For the LGBT Catholics in the United States and around the world, this new document is a light in the darkness—a dramatic new tone from a Church hierarchy that has long denied the very existence of committed and loving gay and lesbian partnerships,” Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin said.
Terrence Weldon, an organizer of the notorious Soho “Gay” Masses in London and an activist working to force acceptance of homosexuality in the Catholic Church, also mentioned the absence of the traditional theological language in the document on his blog Queering the Church.
“It now seems possible that the anticipated change could be substantially greater than most observers had anticipated,” Weldon wrote. “Consider not only the specific words in the text above, but also what was NOT said. For example, it is stated that the Church cannot accept gay marriage, but there is no condemnation of civil unions, or of same–sex relationships in general, nor is gay marriage listed in the opening description of threats to the family.”
Another US organization working to push acceptance of homosexuality onto the Catholic Church, Dignity USA, said in a press statement, “The tone in this midterm report is remarkably different from preliminary documents prior to the Extraordinary Synod.”
Dignity USA’s Executive Director, Marianne Duddy-Burke, commented, “Those were marked by a sense of frustration with how Church teachings were not being well-received or followed in today’s world. This report has more of a sense of humility, and an emphasis on meeting people where they are at. It is much more pastoral.”
Michael Sean Winters of the far-left National Catholic Reporter newspaper, said it was in line with work from the US Conference of Catholic Bishops and their 1997 document, “Always Our Children.”
Winters wrote, “Then, it seemed like the conference took two steps – maybe a dozen steps – back from their own document in the past decade or so as the shape of the conference changed. In any event, the times they are a changin’ and it feels great.”