Vatican Wa­ters Down Wel­come For Gays

The Star (St. Lucia) - - INTERNATIONAL -

After a draft re­port by bishops de­bat­ing fam­ily is­sues came un­der crit­i­cism from many con­ser­va­tive English­s­peak­ing bishops, the Vatican re­leased a new English trans­la­tion on Thurs­day.

A sec­tion ini­tially en­ti­tled “Wel­com­ing ho­mo­sex­u­als” is now “Pro­vid­ing for ho­mo­sex­ual per­sons,” and the tone of the text is sig­nif­i­cantly colder.

The ini­tial English ver­sion — re­leased Mon­day along with the orig­i­nal — ac­cu­rately re­flected the Ital­ian ver­sion in both let­ter and spirit, and con­tained a re­mark­able tone of ac­cep­tance to gays. The other trans­la­tions were sim­i­larly faith­ful to the Ital­ian and didn’t de­vi­ate in tone.

Con­ser­va­tives were out­raged, and the English was changed.

The first English ver­sion asked if the church was ca­pa­ble of “wel­com­ing th­ese peo­ple, guar­an­tee­ing to them a fra­ter­nal space in our com­mu­ni­ties.” The new ver­sion asks if the church is “ca­pa­ble of pro­vid­ing for th­ese peo­ple, guar­an­tee­ing … them … a place of fel­low­ship in our com­mu­ni­ties.”

The first ver­sion said ho­mo­sex­ual unions can of­ten con­sti­tute a “pre­cious support in the life of the part­ners.” The new one says gay unions of­ten con­sti­tute “valu­able support in the life of th­ese per­sons.”

Other changes were made in other sec­tions of the text, but with­out sig­nif­i­cantly al­ter­ing the mean­ing or tone.

The Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Fed­erico Lom­bardi, said English-speak­ing bishops had re­quested the changes on the grounds that the first trans­la­tion was hasty and er­ror-rid­den.

When Lom­bardi was shown how sig­nif­i­cantly the mean­ing had changed, he pledged to in­ves­ti­gate and didn’t rule out a third ver­sion.

Lom­bardi stressed that the orig­i­nal Ital­ian re­mains the of­fi­cial text, and noted that the draft is be­ing re­vised top-to-bot­tom for a fi­nal re­port which will go to a vote among bishops on Satur­day.

If two-thirds ap­prove it, the re­port will form the ba­sis of dis­cus­sions in dio­ce­ses around the world be­fore another meet­ing of bishops next year, and ul­ti­mately a teach­ing doc­u­ment by Pope Fran­cis. Based on the com­plaints to the orig­i­nal text and the num­ber of amend­ments pro­posed Thurs­day, the draft­ing com­mit­tee ap­pointed by the pope has its work cut out for it if it wants to get a two-thirds majority.

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