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Saturday, October 18, 2014

Cracks are Forming as Catholic Church Scraps Welcome to Gays in Family Document

Pope Francis making his way to open the synod
Divorced, civilly remarried Catholics still can't receive communion

Catholic bishops have scrapped their landmark welcome to gays, showing deep divisions at the end of a two-week meeting sought by Pope Francis to chart a more merciful approach to ministering to Catholic families.

The bishops failed to approve even a watered-down section on ministering to gays that stripped away the welcoming tone contained in a draft document earlier in the week.

Two other paragraphs concerning the other hot-button issue at the synod — whether divorced and civilly remarried Catholics can receive communion — also failed to pass.

Francis insisted in the name of transparency that the full document be published with the voting tally. The document is to serve as the basis for future debate leading up to another meeting of bishops next October. 

In other words, we failed this time but wait til next year. Francis is determined to get gays included in the church and it's surprising that the effort failed so completely, even after a very provocative 'shot across the bow' of those who opposed him. 

Yesterday, American Cardinal Raymond Burke was told that he was being demoted from his prestigious and powerful position to one of considerably less importance:

Burke told Buzzfeed he was being transferred from his position as prefect of the supreme tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura to be patron of the sovereign military order of Malta, though he said he had not received a formal order. He assumed his role as chief guardian of canon law in June 2008, having been appointed by Pope Benedict XVI.

Benedict also appointed Burke to the Congregation for Bishops in 2009. Four years later, Francis removed Burke and 13 other bishops  from the 18-man group.

Expect to see a lot more movement of cardinals and bishops before next October as Francis fixes the outcome of next year's synod. I am deeply disappointed in Francis. My impression of him has always been that he is a true man of God and a man who listens to God. That impression has done a complete 180 this week.

I don't believe that anyone who truly listens to the Holy Spirit can propose any kind of communion with practicing gays. Communion is a fellowship, a 'oneness' with others of like mind and spirit. In the real 'body of Christ' it is oneness with Jesus Christ and with each other. 

Practicing gays, adulterers, and others may 'take' communion, but they cannot be 'in' communion with those whom Christ calls His own. To call them into communion is neither fair to them nor to the rest of the church, and certainly is an affront to God.

Gay marriages registered in Rome

Meanwhile, Rome's mayor registered 16 gay marriages celebrated abroad. The Italian bishops' conference said it was "unacceptable" that Marino registered the weddings the same day Catholic bishops were wrapping up a two-week summit on Catholic family values.
Pope Francis opening the synod
Gay marriage is illegal in Italy. Interior Minister Angelino Alfano recently sent a notice to local prefects saying any registrations of foreign gay marriages would be voided, and Rome's prefect vowed to do so immediately.

Nevertheless, Mayor Ignazio Marino received thunderous applause upon arrival at the city hall reception room where the couples and their loved ones gathered to make the marriages official in Rome's city ledger. Marino transcribed the date and locations of their weddings, including in Spain, Portugal and the U.S.

Jonathon Dominic Spada, 26, from Santa Barbara, California, and Fabrizio Maffeo, 35, a Roman computer specialist, were there to register their 2013 marriage in Boston.

"It's important — a limited recognition, but it's something," Maffeo said. "I'm proud of our mayor."

Premier Matteo Renzi has said he would propose legislation allowing gay unions, though it's not expected to include adoption.