Deaprting from its centuries-old opposition to gays or LGBT community, the Vatican City has relented and said it would “welcome persons who have homosexual orientation”.
Monsignor Bruno Forte, Special Secretary of the General Assembly of the Synod of the Bishops at the Vatican City, being held from October 5, said “Homosexuals have gifts and qualities to offer to the Christian community… Are we capable of welcoming these people, guaranteeing to them a fraternal space in our communities?”
About 200 bishops are participating in the extraordinary synod on family convened by Pope Francis to duscuss the agenda on abortion, contraception, homosexuality and divorce. A document prepared after the deliberations clearly relfected a major shift in attitude of the Church towards homosexuality and same-sex marriages.
Human Rights Campaign of the US said the document set a “dramatic new tone” and the London-based Catholic gay rights group Quest called parts of it a “breakthrough”, while Voice Of The Family, a conservative Roman Catholic organisation rejected it document saying it was a “betrayal”. Its co-founder John Smeaton said it was “one of the worst official documents drafted in Church history”.
The synod outcome was attributed to Pope Francis’ focus on concentrating upon positive rather than negative aspects of human sexuality, delineating from his predecessor Pope Benedict’s views that homosexual relationships were “intrinsically disordered” in his advisory written in 1986, when he was chief theological adviser to Pope John Paul II.
Pope Francis expressed his views last year when he told journalists while returning from Rio de Janeiro, saying “If a person seeks God and has goodwill, then who am I to judge?” he was also the first pontiff to have used the term “gay” rather than “homosexuals”.
The Vatican document says: “Without denying the moral problems connected to homosexual unions, it has to be noted that there are cases in which mutual aid to the point of sacrifice constitutes a precious support in the life of the partners.”
The document was also a sequel to the findings last year in a survey launched by Pope Francis revealing that the majority of Catholics rejected Church stand on sex and contraception.