By Austin Ruse
(Breitbart) VATICAN CITY, Vatican-- Today, the
Vatican released the controversial compilation document that will guide
the Synod of Bishops next year. The document was put together by a
committee and was intended as a distillation of the speeches given by
Bishops and laymen last week.
At the press conference today no other section of the document
received more questions for three Cardinals and an Archbishop than the
section called “Welcoming Homosexuals.”
The section begins by asserting, “Homosexuals have gifts and
qualities to offer the Christian community; are we capable of welcoming
these people, guaranteeing them a fraternal space in our communities?
Often they wish to encounter a Church that offers them a welcoming home.
Are our communities capable of providing that, accepting and valuing
their sexual orientation, without compromising Catholic doctrine of the
family and matrimony?”
The document goes on, “The question of homosexuality leads to a
serious reflection on how to elaborate realistic paths of affective
growth and human and evangelical maturity integrating the sexual
The opening question of the packed press conference was from noted
Rome-based journalist Sandro Magister who asked what the term “sexual
dimension” meant. He wanted to know if it referred to the orientation of
same-sex desire or sexual relations between those of the same sex.
Cardinal Peter Erdo of Hungary and who is the head communicator for
the Synod said the term came about as a result of consultation during
the previous week and then started talking about education in general.
Magister and many others in the room were left obviously confused since
Erdo didn’t’ come close to answering the question.
One questioner pointed out that this is the first time the concept of
homosexuality has occurred in a Synod document and wondered if
homosexual couples should be given a place at next year’s Synod.
Cardinal Antony Tagle of Manila, described by one seasoned Vatican
observer as friendly to liberation theology, started talking about the
“spirit of Vatican II” and “dialoging with the world.” He also did not
answer the question.
Michael Voris, from the conservative Church Militant TV in Michigan,
asked a pointed question about whether Synod fathers were proposing that
the “gifts and qualities” of homosexuals to the Church flow from their
homosexuality. Archbishop Bruno Forte from the diocese of Chieti and
Vasto in Italy joked, “It is not easy to answer such an ‘ontological
discussions’ but that we must respect the dignity of all human persons
quite separate from their sexual orientation.”
The other controversial topic that received great attention today was
on the Church’s attitude toward divorced and civilly remarried
Catholics. The Church teaches that marriage is forever and that
remarriage after divorce are not allowed unless the Church agrees that
the first marriage was invalid. The new document suggests this Church
teaching could change and allow for such persons to receive communion
after a taking a “penitential path.”
Delia Gallagher of CNN wanted to know what this “penitential path”
might be. Archbishop Forte said it would be similar to the debate in the
early Church about whether widows could remarry and that the Church
allowed after she had trod a “penitential path.” Forte did not answer
This was the feeling of many of the journalists afterwards; that the
document is not only controversial but also confusing and the press
conference did not clear up much of anything.
Respected Vatican journalist John Allen of the Boston Globe said the
document is promoting a kind of “lifestyle ecumenism” similar to the
ecumenism that grew out of the Second Vatican Council where the Church
recognized the partial truth existing in other Christian denominations
and even other religions while understanding the whole truth resides in
the Catholic Church.
In this document and in the subsequent Synod, Allen is suggesting
that the Church will maintain that a married man and women with children
is the Church teaching and the gold standard but that the Church will
recognize at least the partial the truth and goodness in other couplings
including the divorced and civilly remarried and homosexual couples.
The document presented today will inform the rest of this week’s
meetings where the bishops will divide into language groups and make
further recommendations for the whole Synod to take place next year.