Catholics split on re­port from synod

Gay-friendly lan­guage trou­bles con­ser­va­tives

The Washington Times Weekly - - Culture, Etc. - BY MERED­ITH SOMERS

Con­ser­va­tive Catholic lead­ers on Tues­day warned against un­re­al­is­tic ex­pec­ta­tions after a re­port is­sued by the Vatican in­cluded lan­guage about “wel­com­ing ho­mo­sex­u­als” and be­ing more un­der­stand­ing of non­tra­di­tional fam­i­lies within the church.

South African Car­di­nal Wil­frid Napier said he was con­cerned that peo­ple have “per­haps read more into the doc­u­ment than was in­tended,” re­fer­ring to the midterm re­port which sum­ma­rized the past week of dis­cus­sion dur­ing the Ex­tra­or­di­nary Synod of Bishops.

“Are the ex­pec­ta­tions per­haps of the Synod a lit­tle un­re­al­is­tic and is the mis­in­ter­pre­ta­tion re­flect­ing what peo­ple would like to hap­pen, rather than what is hap­pen­ing or what is go­ing to hap­pen?” he said, ac­cord­ing to Vatican Ra­dio.

In an in­ter­view with Catholic World View, U.S. Car­di­nal Ray­mond Burke, pre­fect of the Supreme Tri­bunal of the Apos­tolic Sig­natura, said “a great num­ber of the Synod Fa­thers found [the re­port] ob­jec­tion­able.”

In the sum­mary is lan­guage that states that gay peo­ple have “gifts and qual­i­ties to of­fer to the Christian com­mu­nity,” and “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.”

In an in­ter­view with Vatican Ra­dio, Arch­bishop Stanis­law Gadecki, pres­i­dent of the Pol­ish Epis­co­pal Con­fer­ence, called the re­port “un­ac­cept­able.”

John Smeaton, co-founder of Voice of the Fam­ily, an or­ga­ni­za­tion com­prised of pro­life and pro-fam­ily groups started be­cause of the synod, said crit­i­cism like Car­di­nal Burke’s is “wel­come.”

“Catholic teach­ing on hu­man sex­u­al­ity and the fam­ily has been dra­mat­i­cally and dis­as­trously un­der­mined by the Vatican’s mid-way re­port on the synod. Catholic par­ents world­wide will be feel­ing be­wil­dered and be­trayed,” he said.

But not all Catholic lead­ers re­sisted the lan­guage in the re­port.

Ital­ian Car­di­nal Fer­nando Filoni, head of the Con­gre­ga­tion for the Evan­ge­liza­tion of Peo­ples, said the high ex­pec­ta­tions were jus­ti­fied.

John Grabowski, as­so­ciate pro­fes­sor and di­rec­tor of moral the­ol­ogy and ethics at the Catholic Univer­sity of Amer­ica, said the re­ac­tion from con­ser­va­tive lead­ers was an at­tempt to “man­age the mes­sage a lit­tle bet­ter, but even that was a lit­tle mis­guided.”

“We’re talk­ing about a provisional state­ment drafted by a com­mit­tee about an on­go­ing con­ver­sa­tion.” Mr. Grabowski said. “There’s no doc­tri­nal weight here. Even the bishops who are en­thu­si­as­tic, they’re all say­ing ‘You now what? We’re not chang­ing doc­trine, we’re try­ing to change the tone. We’re try­ing to get more wel­com­ing, more hos­pitable, more in­clu­sive.’ ”

Catholic League Pres­i­dent Bill Dono­hue said that re­gard­less what side of the re­port Catholics are tak­ing they’re prob­a­bly con­fused.

“Quite frankly some of the lan­guage strikes me as psy­chob­a­b­ble,” he said. “I think any or­ga­ni­za­tion … needs moral clar­ity. You need to know what the rules are.”

The Catholic Church teaches that gay sex is “in­trin­si­cally dis­or­dered,” that is, in­her­ently con­trary to the pur­pose of sex, which is the life-giv­ing union of a man and woman per­ma­nently at­tached in mar­riage.The re­port will be ad­dressed more in depth dur­ing the sec­ond half of the meet­ing, which is on­go­ing at the Vatican through Oct. 25. The synod in­cludes more than 200 car­di­nals, bishops, priests, and lay peo­ple.

“There’s some real prob­lems here,” Mr. Dono­hue said. “Ul­ti­mately the fi­nal doc­u­ment will be in 2015 and it won’t be any­thing like this, so that’s the good news. The bad news is that the mes­sage has been sent.”

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