Bishop of Durham: Catholic cardinals who reject gays ‘lack awareness’ of real life
The Anglican Bishop of Durham has lambasted the Catholic Church for scrapping plans to take a softer stance on homosexuality.
Despite increasing calls for reform from everyday Catholics, who see the Church as out of touch, an extraordinary synod of cardinals earlier this month rejected plans to make the Church more welcoming to gay couples and divorced people.
The Bishop of Durham The Right Revd Paul Butler – one of the few Anglicans who were invited to the Synod – has attacked the doctrine-led approach.
Writing for the Catholic Herald, he said: “I could not help but notice the passion and compassion of local bishops calling for more thoughtful and open pastoral care for all in need, whatever their marital and sexual orientation.
“They were not asking to change the Church’s teaching on the indissolubility of marriage, but they were seeking fresh ways of accompanying people in their need.
“The Rome-based Cardinals seemed more concerned to ensure the doctrine is maintained.
“There seemed a lack of awareness of what it is really like in the parishes in remote villages and mega-cities.”
“It is of course not as simple as that, but it is an overall impression – one shared by all the fraternal delegates and, I have to say, accepted by all the members of the small group when I shared it with them.”
The head of the Catholic Church in England and Wales, Vincent Nichols, yesterday claimed the Church never planned to change its actual teachings, saying: “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.”