Catholic bishops drop moves to accept gays
By Philip Pullella
VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - Roman Catholic bishops on Saturday reversed a historic acceptance of gays, dropping parts of a controversial document that had talked more positively of homosexuals than ever before in Church history.
The document, issued at the end of a two-week assembly, or synod, of some 200 Roman Catholic bishops from around the world, pointed to deep divisions within the Church on issues such as reaching out to homosexuals and Catholics who have divorced and re-married in civil services.
After an initial draft was released on Monday, conservative bishops vowed to change the language on gays, cohabitation and re-marriage, saying it had created confusion among the faithful and threatened to undermine the traditional family.
Gay rights groups expressed deep disappointment with the final version, while the conservative Catholic blog Rorate Caeli hailed it as "a considerable setback for the revolutionaries".
The two-paragraph section of the final document dealing with homosexuals was titled "Pastoral attention towards persons with homosexual orientations". The previous, three-paragraph version had been called "Welcoming homosexuals."
The earlier version spoke of "accepting and valuing their (homosexuals') sexual orientations" and giving gays "a welcoming home". The final version eliminated those phrases and most of the other language that church progressives and gay rights groups had hailed as a breakthrough.
The new version used more vague, general language, repeating earlier church statements that gays "should be welcomed with respect and sensitivity" and that discrimination against gays "is to be avoided".