Pope Francis urges bishops to speak ‘without concerns of human respect’ over gay rights

Aaron Day October 6, 2014
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Pope Francis has asked senior clerics to speak frankly and openly as part of an “extraordinary meeting” about issues like gay rights and marriage.

According to the Associated Press, a two-week meeting, which started on Monday, is to see nearly 200 cardinals, bishops, and priests discussing contentious issues like contraception, gay rights, marriage and divorce.

However, there is little to suggest that the bishops will agree to shift the Church’s stance on homosexuality.

Pope Francis instructed bishops at the start of their meeting that he wanted a debate without fear of taboo.

“You have to say what you feel the Lord tells you to say, without concerns of human respect and without fear,” he said, adding that they shouldn’t even be afraid of showing him disrespect.

At the same time however, he urged the clergymen gathered for the synod to acknowledge “and welcome with an open heart what our brothers say.”

He opened the synod at a mass in St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome, saying: “Synod gatherings are not meant to discuss beautiful and clever ideas, or to see who is more intelligent.

“[It is an opportunity] to work generously with authentic freedom and humble creativity.”

Currently, the Vatican is restricting public information about what is said during the course of the two-week meeting.

Francis paved the way for debates about modern family issues last year, when he urged members of the Catholic church to fill out a 39-point survey on topics including same-sex sexual relationships.

Last week, gay members of the Catholic Church in Portugal planned ask the Vatican for an “urgent” change in attitude which would involve the integration of gay people in the parish communities.

Pope Francis last year raised hopes of a softer approach to LGBT issues, asking “who am I to judge [gay people]?”

However, he has since said that “matrimony is between a man and a woman”, and urged “sexual chastity” to prevent the spread of HIV.

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