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British cardinal: Church never planned to change teachings on sexual morality

Nick Duffy October 25, 2014
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British Cardinal Vincent Nichols has said that the Catholic Church never planned to change its position on ‘sexual morality’, despite axed proposals to ‘welcome homosexuals’.

The Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster, who heads the Catholic Church in England and Wales, made the claim in a letter to his Diocese, after the Church’s extraordinary synod earlier this month rejected plans to make the Church more welcoming to gay couples and divorced people.

Cardinal Nichols said: “You may have heard or read that this Synod has been about changing the teaching of the Church on marriage, family life or sexual morality. This is not true.

“It was about the pastoral care that we try to offer each other, the ‘motherly love of the Church’, especially when facing difficult moments and experiences in family life.

“There has been much talk about how the synod reflected on the situation of people of a same-sex attraction.

“There was no suggestion that the teaching of the Church might somehow give approval to the notion of ‘same-sex marriage’ or that its teaching on sexual morality is to change.

“However two things were very clear. The first is that we should never identify people by their sexual orientation.

“Every person is endowed with unique dignity, both as an individual and as a Christian. This dignity is always, always to be respected.

“Secondly, it is the teaching of the Church that they are not only to be respected but also always accepted, with compassion and with sensitivity. This teaching has to be translated into loving care, in our daily life in the Church, in our parishes, and indeed in society.”

Cardinal Nichols also rejected claims that the Pope was personally defeated over the reforms, saying: “You may have heard that the Synod represented a ‘defeat for Pope Francis’ or that he was disappointed at its outcome.

“This is not true. At the end of our meeting Pope Francis spoke at length about his joy and satisfaction at its work.”

More: Anti-gay, Cardinal, Catholic, Church, England, Gay, homophobic, Religion, vincent nichols

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