John M. Becker

Catholic Bishops to Gays: Just Kidding, You're Not Welcome

Filed By John M. Becker | October 18, 2014 8:30 PM | comments

Filed in: Living
Tags: bigotry, Catholic attacks on LGBT rights, Catholic Church, marriage discrimination, Pope Francis, religion-based bigotry, Roman Catholic Church

pope-francis-facepalm.jpgA group of bishops invited to the Vatican by Pope Francis to discuss the Roman Catholic Church's teachings on marriage and family has canceled plans to make that church even a little bit more friendly to gays and lesbians.

In a stunning victory for the Catholic Church's conservative wing and a rebuke to both Pope Francis and progressives, the bishops -- tasked with creating a statement that, in the words of the Associated Press, "[charted] a more merciful approach" to divorced, remarried, and gay Catholics -- scrapped language that called on the church to "welcome" gays and lesbians. They also failed to approve a section affirming that same-sex partners are capable of offering "precious support" to one another.

The now-eliminated language, contained in a draft document released on Monday, was hailed by many Vatican watchers and media outlets across the world as a groundbreaking, revolutionary, "seismic shift" in tone. In the end, though, there was no earthquake at all -- in their final statement, the prelates couldn't even bring themselves to acknowledge that "homosexuals have gifts and qualities to offer the Christian community."

BuzzFeed reports:

The final statement -- formally known as the Relatio of the Extraordinary Synod on the Family -- drops the title "Welcoming homosexual persons" from the section on the place of gays and lesbians in the church. Weaker language that spoke of "The pastoral care of people with homosexual orientation" was proposed instead, and a phrase referring to "Homosexuals have gifts and qualities to offer to the Christian community" was also dropped. But even this new language failed to receive a vote needed to be adopted, the Associated Press reported, failing on a vote of 118 to 62.

But according to The Guardian, the bishops did find time to demean and degrade same-gender relationships, writing that there cannot be "even a remote" comparison between same-sex marriages or civil unions and the marriages of opposite-sex couples.

The AP adds that the final document exposed "deep divisions" among the bishops, and speculates that the 118-62 vote "might have been a protest vote by progressive bishops who refused to back the watered-down wording."

A section that would have softened the church's approach to divorced and civilly remarried Catholics, who are currently barred from receiving communion, was also voted down. This finalized document will now be used to frame the debate for the Ordinary Synod on the Family in 2015.

Today, the bishops of the Roman Catholic Church didn't just yank the welcome mat out from underneath the feet of gays and lesbians -- they rolled it up and bashed them over the head with it. So much for "Who am I to judge?".

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