It would appear that the Vatican is now changing their stance on gays, divorce and other hot topics within the church community. A newly released Vatican report is calling for the church to be more open, appreciative and accepting of gays. Another area in which the church is looking to be more enlightened is for Catholics that may want to receive communion but have been divorced, especially those who have also remarried. The new report is also touching on the issue of birth control and couples living together that are not married.
The new report which was presented as part of a Monday news conference follows up on a meeting between church leaders. The meeting that has been taking place with the Catholic clergy has mostly been focused on how to deal with war, poverty and immigration and the effects these issues are having on families. This new Vatican report changes the language on how the church regards civil unions, divorced members of the church and their ability to take communion and the way gay members of the church are accepted.
This new shift in how the Catholic church handles these issues is being called revolutionary by some experts on the Vatican. While just a few years ago the idea of gays and lesbians being accepted by the church or civil marriages being accepted in any form would have seemed far-fetched, this new proposal from the Vatican seems to indicate that the new Pope has a more gentle and a much more enlightened approach on acceptance. Just last year Pope Francis said that it was not his place to judge when discussing gays and lesbians.
As the Vatican changes their stance on gays, other areas that were touched upon in the report include members of the church who have been divorced. For divorced members of the church that get remarried, the church is looking to offer the couple a chance to repent before being allowed to once more accept communion. While the report makes this option a possibility it is not being suggested as a general solution. Instead, this solution would be up to a Bishop to make the recommendation as to whether repentance is acceptable.
Civil marriages were also a topic of the report. Within the report, the idea of marriage is seen as a luxury and that in these difficult economic times it is not always feasible for individuals to get married. Instead, the report touches on the fact that some couples live together for economic reasons and that the church should be a place where these individuals are accepted no matter what their problems may be.
The idea of acceptance is the overall message from the new Vatican report. Whether the individual in question is gay, lesbian, divorced or living with a partner in a civil marriage, the church is looking to be a place where people are welcomed. No matter what people are facing the church is trying to offer more forgiveness and acceptance.
While this report is only a preliminary one from the Vatican, the change in stance on gays, civil marriages and divorce looks to be officially shifting. A final report from the meetings is scheduled to be released at the end of the week when the meeting concludes. The report when finished will act as a general proposal to be addressed for a larger meeting that will be held next year in October.
Opinion by Kimberley Spinney
Photo by Benson Kua – Flickr License