FaithWorld

Gays and their children should not suffer Church bias, Vatican document says

June 27, 2014
(Members of a gay activist group hold signs in front of St. Peter's square in the Vatican December 16, 2012. A group of demonstrators protesting against the Roman Catholic Church's stance on homosexual marriage tried to enter St Peter's Square in the Vatican on Sunday as Pope Benedict was giving his weekly address to pilgrims. The protesters - who were kept out of the square by police - were upset over a speech by the pontiff on Friday in which he appeared to include efforts to legalise gay marriage among the threats to peace in the world. REUTERS/Alessandro Bianchi )

(Members of a gay activist group hold signs in front of St. Peter’s square in the Vatican December 16, 2012.┬áREUTERS/Alessandro Bianchi )

The Roman Catholic Church must be less judgmental of homosexuals and, while still opposing gay marriage, should welcome children of gay couples into the faith with equal dignity, a Vatican document said on Thursday.

A 75-page document, a working paper for the synod of Catholic bishops planned for the Vatican in October to discuss family issues, also said the 1.2 billion member Church should become less exclusive and more humble.

The document, known by its Latin term “Instrumentum Laboris”, underscored the wide gap between official Church teachings on issues of sexual morality and their acceptance and understanding by the worldwide faithful.

It was based on responses to a 39-question survey to dioceses around the world ahead of the synod. For the first time in preparation for such a meeting, the Vatican asked bishops to share the survey widely with parish priests and for them to seek the views of their parishioners.

The Church’s traditional position on homosexuality has led to some cases of the children of gay people being excluded from Church activities.

While the new document did not signal any immediate change in the Church’s condemnation of homosexual acts and its opposition to gay marriage and to the adoption of children by gay people, it used language that was remarkably less judgmental and more compassionate than past Vatican statements.

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