By The Pope’s Fool News Service
Updated October 17, 2014
VATICAN CITY (TPF) — Roman Catholics around the world were gobsmacked when the Extraordinary Synod of Bishops on the Family issued its relatio post disceptationem, or interim report. Variously described as an earthquake, the big one, seismic, groundbreaking, and shocking, on the one hand, and shameful and completely wrong on the other, the relatio suggested that the bishops are considering the possibility of speaking in a more gentle way about cohabiting couples, divorced and remarried parishioners, and gay Catholics and their children. As explained by John Allen on PBS Newshour, it authorizes “people at the grass roots to feel good about the fact that you can be both a faithful Catholic, and you can be friends with gays and lesbians, you can be friends with people who are living together outside of marriage, you can be friends with people who are divorced and remarried,” without approving their lifestyles.
The consensus is that even though no doctrine is changing, the mere fact that the Church’s vocabulary might move from evil, gravely immoral, and intrinsically disordered, to wounded, damaged, and broken, is a stunner. As PBS Newshour’s Judy Woodruff said, “It’s certainly gotten our attention.” The shift is best summed up by Cardinal Dolan, who said, “The bishops are speaking with immense love and tenderness about their people, especially about their broken people.”
Later Cardinal Pizzicato, head of the Pontifical Council for Congregations, clarified that doctrine was indeed not changing, and that while the Church still considers the homosexual lifestyle intrinsically disordered, sex outside marriage gravely immoral, and Catholics who remarry without an annulment basically adulterers, the bishops are trying to figure out a nicer way to communicate those doctrines.
UPDATE: Some words in the English translation of the relatio post disceptationem or interim report of the Extraordinary Synod of Bishops on the Family have been changed.
The AP reports that “A section initially titled ‘Welcoming homosexuals’ is now ‘Providing for homosexual persons,’ and the tone of the text is significantly colder and less welcoming. … The first version asked if the church was capable of ‘welcoming these people, guaranteeing to them a fraternal space in our communities.’ The new version asks if the church is capable of providing for these people, guaranteeing … them … a place of fellowship in our communities.'”
The the original Italian version of the relatio remains the official text, and still contains the original “welcoming” language, leading an Italian cardinal to wonder if Italy would see an influx of gay Catholics yearning to be welcomed into the Church, rather than just being provided for.