Roman Catholic bishops abandoned their planned welcome of homosexuals into the church Saturday, expressing disagreement at the close of a two-week meeting Pope Francis, 77, called to establish a better approach to ministering to church members, the Associated Press reported.
The bishops were unable to agree on an effective way to signify acceptance of gays by the church. The issue was addressed in a draft document this week, but the relevant passages were dropped from the final document.
One passage originally said that “people with homosexual tendencies must be welcomed with respect and delicacy.” However, this idea did not win the backing of the two-thirds majority needed for adoption at the synod.
Here is the full text of the passage on homosexuals proposed for the version adopted Saturday, as translated by BuzzFeed News:
“The pastoral care of people with homosexual orientation
“55. Some families live the experience of having members who are of homosexual orientation. In this regard, questions have been raised on pastoral care which is appropriate to deal with this situation by referring to what the Church teaches: ‘There is no basis whatsoever to assimilate or to draw even remote analogies between same-sex unions and the plan of God for marriage and the family.’ Nevertheless, men and women with homosexual tendencies must be accepted with respect and sensitivity. ‘In their regard should be avoided every sign of unjust discrimination” (Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Considerations Regarding Proposals to Give Legal Recognition to Unions Between Homosexual Persons, 4).
“56. It is totally unacceptable that the Pastors of the Church pressures in this matter and that international bodies condition financial aid to poor countries, on the institution of laws that establish the ‘marriage’ between persons of the same sex.”
Even this language was rejected by a 118-62 vote, which AP speculated may have been somewhat of a protest by progressive bishops refusing to support the new wording of the paragraphs because they didn’t include the total acceptance of gays.
Conservative Catholics had strongly criticized the draft version, saying that while individual gay people are to be respected, marriage should only be between a male and a female.
The bishops also nixed the notion that divorced and civilly remarried Catholics should be allowed to receive Communion.
When the meeting came to a close, Pope Francis met with journalists outside the synod hall to thank them for their press coverage. “Thanks to you and your colleagues for the work you have done,” he said. “Grazie tante.”