Pope Francis and the Vatican surprised church members on Monday when the traditional view of homosexuality and same-sex unions was changed to reflect current societal norms. Instead of focusing on the negative influence of gay lifestyles, the church has stated that individuals should accept homosexuality, and that gays have “gifts” to offer the Catholic church and positive aspects of their lifestyle should be focused on when the couple lives together without marriage.
For over 2,000 years, the church has had a negative stance toward homosexuality, yet Pope Francis has altered the Vatican’s on the lifestyle by stating, “Who am I to judge?” Bishops took Pope Francis’ side by stating that they would welcome gays into the church and provide an “accepting and valuing their sexual orientation without compromising Catholic doctrine on the family and matrimony.”
Surprisingly, the announcement has garnered more positive support that negative. Reverend James Martin, a Jesuit author, feels that the change in the church’s stance is similar to the way Jesus accepted people of all lifestyles.
“This is a stunning change in the way the Catholic church speaks of gay people. The Synod is clearly listening to the complex, real-life experiences of Catholics around the world, and seeking to address them with mercy, as Jesus did.”
Although praise is echoing across the world, there are those that are chastising the church for their change in policy. Maria Madise, a coordinator for the Voice of the Family, an organization made up of pro-life and conservative members, feels that parents will owe their children an explanation to the cohabitation of homosexuals and how they are exempt from mortal sin.
“What will Catholics parents now have to tell their children about contraception, cohabiting with partners or living homosexual lifestyles?. Will those parents now have to tell their children that the Vatican teaches that there are positive and constructive aspects to these mortal sins? This approach destroys grace in souls.”
The document, known as relatio post disceptationem, does not deny the the moral problems associated with same sex unions, but also notes that chastising the individuals may unintentionally reject an influential member for the church, and denies the mutual aid and support the church should offer. Although homosexual unions are focused on in the document, living together prior to marriage, or in lieu of marriage, also applies to traditional partners as well.
Institutions of the Catholic church, such as the University of Notre Dame, have recently adopted policies that support homosexual unions and both partners within. What are your views on the changing viewpoint?
[Photo Courtesy: Feministing]