Misc: Synod on Family Midterm Report

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Synod on the Family

Fr. James Martin SJ has written of the midterm report from the Synod on the Family,”This is a stunning change in the way that the Catholic church speaks about gay people. The Synod of Bishops said today that gay people have “gifts and talents to offer the Christian community.” And, regarding same-sex partners: “Without denying the moral problems connected to homosexual unions it has to be noted that there are cases in which mutual aid to the point of sacrifice constitutes a precious support in the life of the partners.” This is a revolutionary change in how the church addresses the LGBT community. The veteran Vaticanologist John Thavis rightly called it an “earthquake.”

The Synod’s document also turned to several other questions related to families, including birth control, here reminding the church of the “the need to respect the dignity of the person in the moral evaluation of the methods of birth control,” that is, the need to respect the personal conscience of the individual. And the Synod’s document recommended the idea of “gradualness” when it came to “cohabitation.”

The document is just the mid-point summary of the bishops’ meetings over the last week, and is not a final declaration. (Besides, the Synod has another session next year, after which Pope Francis will issue his final apostolic exhortation, which will be his own teaching on the Synod’s deliberations.) But it is still revolutionary, as were some of the comments of the participants during the press conference today. As with the Second Vatican Council, the participants may have gone into the Synod not expecting much openness or change, but the Holy Spirit is afoot.”

Read the midterm report from Vatican News Service here: Synod on Family Midterm Report