Just yesterday, Camille posted about a draft report released this week by Catholic clergy members that was being hailed as “revolutionary” for how it treated topics like homosexuality and cohabitation. Did it deserve that label? Not so much, but that was the general perception.
Among other things, the report said “Homosexuals have gifts and qualities to offer to the Christian community”… which is at least better than saying they’re sinners who should burn in hell.
But as we’ve seen the Vatican do so many times in the Pope Francis era, they were quick to walk back from even that tiny bit of progress. After conservative Catholics complained that the statement deviated from Church teachings, the Vatican issued a statement saying we shouldn’t take the document all that seriously:
… [the Vatican] said the report on gays and lesbians was a “working document,” not the final word from Rome.
The Vatican also said that it wanted to welcome gays and lesbians in the church, but not create “the impression of a positive evaluation” of same-sex relationships, or, for that matter, of unmarried couples who live together.
My favorite response to that backtracking has to be this one:
“I actually don’t think this is as much of a backtrack as we usually see!” said Marianne Duddy-Burke, head of the gay rights group Dignity USA.
This is how bad it is for Catholic Church leaders these days. Even when they make incremental steps in the right direction, they are criticized by the loudest voices within their bubble. Keep in mind none of these “radical” moves comes even close to accepting or affirming people who don’t fit the traditional Church-sanctioned mold, and yet the “Who am I to judge?” mentality that Francis took when he was elected has yet to permeate the rest of the Vatican.
It’s a common pattern at this point: The Catholic Church had a chance to become a teeny-tiny bit more accepting and relevant… and they blew it.
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