Conservatives want changes to Vatican document on family, gays

Tue Oct 14, 2014 12:47pm EDT
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By Philip Pullella

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - Conservative Roman Catholic prelates on Tuesday vowed to change a controversial Vatican document that held out the possibility of a major shift in the Church's attitude towards homosexuals.

The document, issued on Monday, said homosexuals had "gifts and qualities to offer" and asked if Catholicism could accept gays and recognize positive aspects of same-sex couples.

In a dramatic change in tone from past condemnatory language, it said the Church should challenge itself to find "a fraternal space" for homosexuals without compromising Catholic doctrine on family and matrimony.

The Vatican stressed on Tuesday that the paper was still a "work in progress" and a definitive version would be issued after the meeting of some 200 bishops, known as a synod, ends on Sunday.

Cardinal Raymond Burke, an arch-conservative from the United States, accused liberals in the committee that prepared the text of having railroaded the assembly. He said it did not reflect a consensus position and demanded changes.

"While the document purports to report only the discussion which took place among the synod fathers, it, in fact, advances positions which many synod fathers do not accept ...," he told The Catholic World report.

"A great number of the synod fathers found it objectionable," he said, asking Pope Francis to issue a clear statement defending marriage and the traditional family.

While Roman Catholic gay rights groups around the world hailed the paper as a breakthrough, conservatives condemned it as a betrayal of Church teaching and said its language had sowed confusion among the faithful.   Continued...

Pope Francis looks on as he leads the synod of bishops in Paul VI's hall at the Vatican October 6, 2014. REUTERS/Claudio Peri/Pool