Pope Francis calls for “every person, regardless of sexual orientation,… to be respected,” but gay marriage still “unacceptable”
A new document released today details the results of the Pope and Vatican’s recent look into whether or not it should change or update Catholic policies on love and families.
Called the Apostolic Exhoratation on the family, the 246 page document details a number of factors effecting daily Catholic life, and also touches on how the church feels about same-sex marriage. Spoiler alert, it’s still a sin in their eyes:
“No one can think that the weakening of the family as that natural society founded on marriage will prove beneficial to society as a whole,” opens a passage which explains the acceptance of same-sex marriage is a “failure to realize that only the exclusive and indissoluble union between a man and a woman has a plenary role to play in society as a stable commitment that bears fruit in new life.”
We need to acknowledge the great variety of family situations that can offer a certain stability, but de facto or same-sex unions, for example, may not simply be equated with marriage. No union that is temporary or closed to the transmission of life can ensure the future of society.
The document goes on to comment on other forms of relationships that don’t involve producing a child, like “polygamy,” cohabitation, and even couples who live together before they are married.
“In various countries, legislation facilitates a growing variety of alternatives to marriage, with the result that marriage, with its characteristics of exclusivity, indissolubility and openness to life, comes to appear as an old-fashioned and outdated option. Many countries are witnessing a legal deconstruction of the family, tending to adopt models based almost exclusively on the autonomy of the individual will.”
But in keeping with Pope Francis’ surprisingly modern outlook on the issue, he does seem to suggest that even though same-sex and other relationships aren’t acceptable in the eyes of the Catholic church, they are still considered families.
Surely it is legitimate and right to reject older forms of the traditional family marked by authoritarianism and even violence, yet this should not lead to a disparagement of marriage itself, but rather to the rediscovery of its authentic meaning and its renewal. The strength of the family “lies in its capacity to love and to teach how to love. For all a family’s problems, it can always grow, beginning with love”
That might be a forgiving interpretation, but I’m going to give the guy the benefit of the doubt.
Staying in this positive tone, a section of the document dealing with how Catholic families should treat family members with “same-sex attraction” also expresses some hope for a less-aggressive Catholic Church. Pope Francis also seems to comment on LGBTQ discrimination as well. Check it out below:
“We would like before all else to reaffirm that every person, regardless of sexual orientation, ought to be respected in his or her dignity and treated with consideration, while ‘every sign of unjust discrimination’ is to be carefully avoided, particularly any form of aggression and violence
He also actually calls gay folks “homosexuals” a few times, not just people with “same-sex attraction,” which is probbaly a step in the right direction. But the follow up sentence to the quote above isn’t exactly thrilling either.
Such families should be given respectful pastoral guidance, so that those who manifest a homosexual orientation can receive the assistance they need to understand and fully carry out God’s will in their lives.
A lot of these questions were asked at the last Synod which aimed to give guidance to priests on many of these issues, sadly “given respectful pastoral guidance” is not really a full answer in my opinion.
And lets be clear here, Francis took the time to double down on how much same-sex marriage is not okay in his Church, saying there are “absolutely no grounds for considering homosexual unions to be in any way similar or even remotely analogous to God’s plan for marriage and family… It is unacceptable”
He also says it’s not right for richer countries to hold out on financial aid to poorer counties dependent on the introduction of laws to establish ‘marriage’ between persons of the same sex.” He should probably tell that to the folks in Africa being slaughter for being LGBTQ.
You can read the entire document here.
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