Pope: The Church should not fear change, God is not afraid of new things
Pope Francis has said the Catholic Church should not be afraid of change – after plans to welcome homosexuals were scrapped.
At a synod on ‘family values’ held over the past fortnight, a proposal document called for the Catholic Church to learn to respect the positive aspects of gay couples.
In a second draft, watered down to appease more conservative bishops, the section originally titled “welcoming homosexuals was retitled “providing for homosexual persons”, and the overall tone of the document became less accepting.
However, even with the changes, the proposal yesterday failed to pass a vote of bishops with a two-thirds majority, and was stripped from the final report – meaning that the Church will maintain its current policy, which teaches that homosexuality is ‘intrinsically disordered’.
Proposals to allowing divorced and remarried Catholics to receive communion were also defeated.
The failures are seen as a personal defeat for Pope Francis – who is seen by many as the figurehead for reform.
In his closing speech today, he continued to speak about the need for reform within the Church, saying: “God is not afraid of new things. That is why he is continuously surprising us, opening our hearts and guiding us in unexpected ways.
“The Church is called to waste no time in seeking to bind up open wounds and to rekindle hope in so many people who have lost hope.
He also hinted that reform on homosexuality will be revived at next year’s synod, saying: “May the Holy Spirit, who during these busy days has enabled us to work generously, in true freedom and humble creativity, continue to guide the journey which, in the Churches throughout the world, is bringing us to the Ordinary Synod of Bishops in October 2015.
“We have sown and we continued to sow, patiently and perseveringly, in the certainty that it is the Lord who gives growth to what we have sown.”