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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, October 30, 2015 - Volume 43 Issue 44
Divorcées yes, Gays no, Vatican synod says
Section One
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Divorcées yes, Gays no, Vatican synod says

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

The Vatican's Synod on the Family closed on October 24 with tepid support for allowing divorced Catholics to return to communion, but no support at all for Gay Catholics.

'Divorcées yes, Gays no,' the conservative Italian newspaper Il Giornale said in its headline.

The result was deeply disappointing to Catholics who hoped the synod would update church teaching on families and relationships. The failure of liberal and conservative bishops to resolve their differences was also disappointing to many participants in the meeting of Catholic bishops.

Even before the synod concluded, Catholic Church officials on both sides began spinning the results.

Rumors - quickly denied by papal spokesmen - were floated that Pope Francis has a brain tumor. Liberal churchmen accused their conservative antagonists of concocting the story to suggest the Pope's judgment is impaired.

Thirteen conservative bishops, including American Cardinals Timothy Dolan of New York and Daniel DiNardo of Houston, sent Francis a secret letter complaining about his prior statements in favor of a more open church. Liberal officials promptly leaked the letter to the press.

Reports began to surface of harsh language being used in the synod's confidential sessions. One bishop reportedly said the gathering had a 'whiff of Satan.' Another said that the 'twin beasts of the Apocalypse' were Islamic terrorism and Western liberal culture.

Cardinal Baselios Cleemis Catholicos, chair of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of India, issued a post-synod statement deploring Western countries' attempts to secure LGBT rights in the Third World.

'According to the teaching of the Church, marriage is between a man and a woman, and the Synod categorically declared that the Church accepts only such relations as marriage,' he said. 'It is unacceptable that certain countries and international organizations set preconditions such as acceptance of gay marriage for allocating aid to the poor nations of the world.'

Conservative church officials also went after Fr. Thomas Roscia, English-language spokesperson for the Vatican Press Office, accusing him of 'promoting a gay narrative.'

When Roscia suggested that the church was moving toward a policy of 'embracing people where they are,' African cardinal Wilfrid Napier shot back on his Twitter feed.

'Meet people where they are sounds nice,' Napier tweeted, 'but is that what Jesus did? Didn't he rather call them away from where they were?'

The final report of the gathering of Catholic bishops did little more than 'achieve consensus through ambiguity,' Fr. Thomas Reese wrote in the liberal National Catholic Reporter.

Marianne Duddy-Burke, executive director of the Catholic LGBT group DignityUSA, said the document was 'deeply disappointing,' and blocked 'civil and moral equality for our community.'

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