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Monday, October 13, 2014

The Synod Document

UPDATE (10/14/14): And now the Vatican spokesman and conservative cardinals/bishops/theologians disavow the document - sigh :( - Synod day 10 presser: Walk back? and Opposition grows to synod document that sees good in gay relationships, cohabitation and civil marriages and This Catholic ‘earthquake’ on homosexuality is splitting the Church


There's been much in the news about the document just released by the synod ... The Washington Post is excited: Vatican stuns Catholic world with greater openness toward gays and lesbians, TIME magazine not so much, though: What the Vatican Really Said About Homosexuality

From the religious press, you can read what John Thavis has - A pastoral earthquake at the synod, and also what Damian Thompson has - ‘Earthquake’ in Rome as Vatican synod talks about homosexuality and divorce

From what I've read of the document, which you can read here at The Tablet, it asks whether the church can change it's semantics and its pastoral attitudes to be more merciful toward those people that it has more or less condemned up to this point (LGBT people, divorced people, people who use contraception, people who have sex outside of marriage, etc.).

What the document does *not* do is suggest any change in doctrine or even any examination of doctrine. For instance, while the document asks if the church shouldn't be more charitable about gay relationships, it also writes that ... "[there are] moral problems connected to homosexual unions", and while people who use contraception are to be treated with mercy, the document also writes that "an unconditional opening to life [is] that which human life requires to be lived to its fullest".

Yes, this document is progress when compared with the church under JPII and B16. But let's put this in perspective ... the church's doctrine on these issues is *not* intrinsically Christian ... there is no other Christian church (that I'm aware of) that condemns people for using contraception, for getting a divorce, and there are many Christian churches that accept the ok-ness of gay relationships (the Quakers, Presbyterians, the Episcopal church, the United Church of Christ, etc.), so though this document may be a step in the right direction wow, do we have a long way to go!


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