Catholic bishops in Rome have moved to quash speculation of a dramatic new approach to viewing gay relationships.
A Vatican document said on Monday that although no official change in stance will be made with regards to same-sex marriage, the Catholic Church must learn to respect the positive aspects of gay couples.
The document said gay people have “gifts and qualities to offer the Christian community.”
John Thavis, a Vatican expert, called the document “an earthquake” in the Church’s attitude towards same-sex couples.
“The document clearly reflects Pope Francis’ desire to adopt a more merciful pastoral approach on marriage and family issues,” he said.
But on Tuesday several bishops warned against reading too much into a call for a change in tone.
Homosexuality remains a sin in the eyes of the Catholic Church and would not been seen as “positive”.
Italian news agency ANSA reports a joint statement read: “In relation to homosexuals, moreover, the need for a welcome was highlighted, but with the right care, in order not to create the impression of a positive evaluation of this approach on the part of the Church. The same attention had been called for in respect of cohabitation.”