Gay rights groups ‘disappointed’ for Synode’s wider acceptance of sexual minorities

Although Pope Francis’ proposals were rebuffed, they still gained more than 50% of the votes

Catholic gay rights groups say they are disappointed after bishops rejected a call for wider acceptance of gay people, which had the Pope’s backing, BBC News reports.

The draft report, which also urged more tolerance for divorcees who remarried, failed to win two-thirds backing at the bishops’ synod in Rome.

The final report says only that anti-gay discrimination is “to be avoided”.

Pope Francis has asked for the full draft document, including the rejected paragraphs, to be published.

The synod will meet again in a year’s time in an expanded form. Some 200 bishops had spent two weeks discussing family life issues at the Vatican. The synod has revealed a fracture line in Church opinion over how to adapt traditional teaching on human sexuality to 21st Century attitudes, says the BBC’s correspondent from Rome.

Pope Francis had made a powerful appeal to traditionalists not to lock themselves within the letter of the law, but conservative cardinals and bishops carried the day at the end of the synod, our correspondent adds.

‘Very disappointing’

The New Ways Ministry, a US Catholic gay rights group, said it was “very disappointing” that the synod’s final report had not retained “the gracious welcome to lesbian and gay people that the draft of the report included”.

But it added that the synod’s “openness to discussion” provided “hope for further development down the road”.

“It is disappointing that those who recognized the need for a more inclusive Church were defeated.”

However, Christopher Lamb, from British Catholic journal The Tablet, told the BBC the discussion at the synod had been a “huge achievement in itself”.

It was important, he said, to remember that many of the bishops at the synod were from countries where homosexuality was illegal.

“We have now got an acceptance that we need a new language in the Church when talking about gay couples and homosexuality in general,” he added.

In an address, he also cautioned against “hostile inflexibility… and not allowing oneself to be surprised by God”.


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