Vatican must adopt changed LGBT stance

Vatican must adopt changed LGBT stance (credit: Maegha Singh/) Vatican must adopt changed LGBT stance (credit: Maegha Singh/)
Editorials featured in the Forum section are solely the opinions of their individual authors.

On Oct. 18, the Catholic church ended its assembly of bishops in Vatican City with results that proved underwhelming after the optimistic interim report.

This assembly, known as The Synod of Bishops on the Family, was called one year ago by Pope Francis with the intent to broaden the accepted idea of family. This gathering, however, only reaffirmed the archaic attitude toward homosexuality and non-traditional families, which an unfortunate majority of conservative church leaders maintain.

Almost a week prior to the meeting’s adjournment, a statement had been released consisting of a draft of the language contained in the final report. This draft, while qualifying that same-sex unions cannot be valued the same as marriage between a man and a woman, openly discussed the positives in same-sex relationships and the need for parishes to accept them, as well as their children. There was mention of the current inefficiency in the annulment process and encouragement for divorced people to receive Holy Communion.

Also contained in the mid-assembly release was the acceptance of common-law marriage in the face of poverty or in other parts of the world where matrimony is considered lavish. This draft gave the impression that the Catholic church was taking action on many modern issues faced by marginalized groups, and in a positive direction. The final report, however, did not affirm such hopes.

Any mention of same-sex relationships, divorced people, or common-law marriage was removed from the final document. The vote of almost 200 bishops present fell short of the required two-thirds majority, and the entire section would have gone unmentioned had Pope Francis not insisted it be discussed in preparation for the next Synod of Bishops on the Family in October 2015.

It seems, at this point, the only hope of these progressive social ideas being accepted in the church falls on the Pope’s shoulders, especially since bishops from within the assembly have publicly stated that nowhere can same-sex unions be considered equal to heterosexual matrimony. This is a dark note to close the discussion on.

While many liberal Catholics have placed their hopes for a more accepting church in the current Pope, there is still much being said in opposition to the modernizations the church needs, and still refuses, to take a stance on.

It is disheartening that even with mounting pressure from faithful members and leaders, the Catholic church is constantly qualifying and backtracking any definitive statements intended for the entirety of its followers, despite Pope Francis making his opinions plainly clear since his appointment.

There is still hope that progress can be made in next year’s assembly with an even larger congregation in attendance, but few positives can be found in the wavering indecision of the largest and one of the most powerful religions in the world.