Backlash for hopes of gays and lesbians
The final Relatio of the Family Synod has weakened the hopes for so much needed reforms within the Catholic Church. « This outcome is a disaster for gays and lesbians. » said Michael Brinkschröder, co-president of the European Forum of LGBT Christian Groups. « The church has failed to become an open house for everybody. It’s messages are inconsistent. It will take a long way to find common ground. »
Compared to the mid-term relatio, the final document does no longer express that homosexual people are welcome in a fraternal way. Love and care in same-sex couples and the treatment of children in rainbow families haven’t found positive evaluations any longer. Obviously, these aspects had already been deleted before the vote on the final Relatio.
The Synod fathers could not even approve with 2/3 majority a paragraph that says that homosexual people have to be treated with respect and tact – basically a quote from previous church documents. This is difficult to understand and may be caused by negative votes both from progressive and ultra-conservative bishops.
The only paragraph on homosexual persons that found appreciation of a 2/3 majority of the Synod imagines homosexual people as putting pressure on the church. The paragraph continues saying that « it is totally unacceptable (…) that international bodies condition financial aid to poor countries, on the institution of laws that establish the ‘marriage’ between persons of the same sex. » This would be inacceptable, indeed. However, it has remained unclear throughout the Synod, to which cases this refers. It is the duty of the Catholic Church to give prove to the reference of this paragraph. It might turn out as a phantasma of homophobic bishops who were not able to distinguish between the protection of the human rights of LGBT people against criminalization and the introduction of same-sex marriage.
Due to an intervention of Pope Francis, the paragraphs that failed 2/3 majority – both on homosexual people and on divorced and remarried people – will remain in the text. This nurtures hope that within in synodal process the whole issue will be treated again.
« I am very grateful for those bishops and auditors who have spoken out in favor of a welcoming and fraternal church », said Catholic theologian Michael Brinkschröder.
The European Forum of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Christian Groups is an ecumenical association of 42 organizations from 22 countries all over Europe. Partnering with Catholics from USA, Brazil, Chile, Zambia, Spain, France, Malta, Italy, Germany, UK and Poland it has formed a Catholic LGBT network. This network that has set up two conferences in Rome during the Family Synod: « The Ways of Love – International Conference for a Pastoral with homosexual and transsexual persons » (http://waysoflove.wordpress.com) and « When Identitiy Becomes a Crime – Criminalization of Homosexuality Globally ».
Dr. Michael Brinkschröder
Co-President of the European Forum of LGBT Christian Groups
Untere Weidenstraße 2
Tel. +49 89 65102063