Bishops’ debate over gays: Lost in translation?

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Pope Francis and prelates attend the morning session of the extraordinary Synod of Bishops on the family at the Vatican on Oct. 9, 2014. Photo by Paul Haring, courtesy of Catholic News Service

Pope Francis and prelates attend the morning session of the extraordinary Synod of Bishops on the family at the Vatican on Oct. 9, 2014. Photo by Paul Haring, courtesy of Catholic News Service

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VATICAN CITY (RNS) The change in the English version was not made in the Italian original, where the term “accogliere,” which means “to welcome,” was kept.


  • rwpauli

    If this Synod tries to legitimize sin, there will be a new schism in the Catholic Church. I pray that cooler heads prevail. Your use of “hardliners” and “conservatives” needs balance. Why not call them belivers in orthodoxy? Why not label the “liberals” instead. Your internal bias shows. Please just report the facts and avoid the labels. That would be the essence of good journalism.

  • Joe Barbara

    It is amazing the way Cardinal Burke and his allies trip all over themselves to denounce decisions whenever those decisions move in a direction that is more in keeping with the spirit of Jesus. Can’t those guys see they are the Pharisees of today? And are not those guys aware that the more vitriolic and adamant a person is against gays, the more it could be a tell? That is basic psychology. Why are they not so worked up about hunger, environmental destruction and war? These conservative cardinals need to reread the Sermon on the Mount.

  • Mon

    “…keeping with the spirit of Jesus”? Is that where your interpretation of the message He was trying to convey cause you to reject 2000 years of Church doctrine based on what He actually said?
    Scripture and Christ Himself, warns us of the reality of Hell and its eternity (not sure if you are aware of that). Cardinal Burke, and those like him, that you have so kindly labeled “vitriolic conservatives” are being charitable by calling the actions of sin as depriving the soul of sanctifying grace. To deny sin or to downplay its significance is of itself a moral evil. Yes, corporal works of mercy are a blessing to those in need, but based on your comments, you seem to equate the importance of our temporal bodies with that of our eternal souls.

  • gilhcan

    Ok, why is Francis adding conservative voices like Napier and Denis to the report committee? Why not add a queer lay person? There are plenty among qualified lay theologians just as there are plenty among the clergy.

    The church is too big, it is guaranteed to fail, fail Jesus, as it has so many times in the past. How is it possible, at a world-wide level, to find any meaningful consensus about gays or sexually active unmarried straight people among a gang of celibates who have led the obstruction of justice in the greatest sex scandal among their own clergy to ever rock the throne of St. Peter?

    “Too big to fail” is a guarantee of failure. We found that with the corrupt purchase by corporations of politicians in the United States. It brought on the Great Recession that continues after ordinary taxpayers bailed out Wall St. crooks and bloated their purses with bonuses for their failure.

    Nothing but contention is the result of attempting to bring such a diverse group of minds under any single roof. There is no way in heaven, on earth, or in hell that they can agree. And it is not that they are fighting for any theological point, it is that they are hiding so many scandals under those colorful robes.

  • Fran

    Yes, Gilhcan, it will all go down, along with the corrupt, greedy and selfish political and economic systems….:-D

  • Fran


    There is no place of fiery torment forever; only the common grave where the dead, both good and bad, are asleep in death (Ecclesiastes 9:5,10), not conscious of anything at all. It really is a loving arrangement, and not a cruel and tormenting one. 🙂

  • john r.

    I agree 1000%

  • Fran

    Ditto…the truth never changes, but evidently this Church does!

    If this Church claims to represent the only true God and how he feels about homosexuality and/or same sex marriage (1 Corinthians 6:9, 10; Romans 1:24-27), then why should they try to change God and his viewpoint, when He NEVER changes (Malachi 3:6)???

    Does this Church EVER read the Bible???

  • Simca

    Our lord was crucified for our sins. We are all sinners. The Catholic Church enforces sinners. As always the Catholic Church flip flops when it comes to money. They gain by adding homosexuals gays lesbians into the Catholic Church. They are still paying for the thousands of priests that have violated children. What are they teaching now that it’s okay for our children to violate each other it’s a shame. This hurts as devout Catholics that the church is trying to change their doctrine . What do we teach our grandchildren now as grandparents, we’ve seen are dropping our children are advocating that we stay there. Simca

  • jz

    Why the loose talk of schism? Such talk is scandalous and needs to be stopped by anybody purporting to be a faithful Catholic. A faithful Catholic has trust that the Holy Spirit will guide our God given leaders. And in case you’re confused on the topic, you are NOT one of those leaders.

  • jz

    They’ve been saying the same thing for 2000 years…yet the Church still stands.

  • The religious conflicts of our day are due to interpreting scripture literally. The books of the Bible were written as, 1) Man’s understanding of God’s will at the time they were written and, 2) Man’s attempt to justify evil acts such as slavery, the subjugation of women and genocide by the Israelites in Caanan as the will of God. I am grateful that today we have a better understanding of God’s will and that the Catholic Church is taking small steps toward welcoming all regardless of their God-given sexual orientation, race or gender.

  • Wendy

    Yo! “talk needs to be stopped” -what are you, the Catholic KGB speaking?

    But seriously, the Catholic church is in major decline and lurching into being just sorry bloody history unless it changes its tune in major ways. Soon no one will friggin care about it -about friggin time too.

    The Pope is a dope. Let his religion fade into oblivion.

  • Wendy

    [expletive deleted] Fran. Revelations 21:8 one example of many of burning hellfire

    “But for the cowardly and unbelieving and abominable and murderers and immoral persons and sorcerers and idolaters and all liars, their part will be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.”

  • Sid

    Wendy’s right, franner. Lotsa that deep frier stuff in there.

  • Sid

    Wendy’s right, franner. Lotsa that deep cooker stuff in there.

  • Art

    Many expected to hear from Lazarus a wonderful account of scenes witnessed after death. They were surprised that he told them nothing. He had nothing of this kind to tell. Solomon declares, ‘The dead know not anything … . Their love, and their hatred, and their envy, is now perished’ (Eccl. 9:5, 6)”
    You and Wendy are wrong.

  • Art

    @ Fran.
    “Yes, Gilhcan, it will all go down, along with the corrupt, greedy and selfish political and economic systems….:-D”
    Wrong! Read Rev 13 and the book of Daniel… I think you will see that the beast power gains total control before the end. But! God is the Victor.

  • Re: “… then why should they try to change God and his viewpoint, when He NEVER changes …”

    Are you sure you want to go with the idea that God’s “viewpoint” on marriage truly “NEVER changes”? If so, you should know that godly marriages have worked differently in the past. For instance:

    Abraham: Married Sarah (Gen 16:1), then took as additional wives Hagar (Gen 16:3) and later Keturah (Gen 25:1).

    Jacob: Married Leah (Gen 29:23), then Rachel (Gen 29:28), then Bilhah (Gen 30:4), then Zilpah (Gen 30:9).

    Moses: Married Zipporah (Ex 2:21), then an unnamed Ethiopian woman (Num 12:1).

    David: His named wives were Michal (1 Sam 18:27), Abigail (1 Sam 25:39), Ahinoam (1 Sam 25:43), Eglah, Abital, Haggith, & Maacah (2 Sam 3:3-5); and Bathsheba (2 Sam 12:24); there were an unknown number of other wives as well (2 Sam 5:13).

    Solomon: Had 700 wives plus 300 concubines (1 Kg 11:3)

    And those aren’t all. Lots of other Old Testament figures had polygamous marriages and even had concubines.

    Re: “Does this Church EVER read the Bible???”

    I honestly wonder whether or not you have, if you’re so sure your God’s “viewpoint” on marriage truly “NEVER changes.” Clearly it HAS changed.

  • Brasidas

    The fact is the teachings of Jesus was to welcome just about anyone, who wished to believe in his message and yet these Catholic Bishops are ignoring what Jesus preached and going off the Old testament on sins, of which 99.9% of Catholics commit sins. Where these Bishops are upset not to be included for input shows a complete contradiction, because they are not taking the view points of Jesus. The Catholic Church is going against what Jesus taught with acceptance into his Church. The telling point here is the Bishops ignorance as not every homosexuals indulge in homosexual acts like anal sex and never will, which means they have committed no sin according to the bible The bible states clearly to the act of homosexuality sex as a sin, not that a person who is homosexual is a sin. which we know they have no choice over being homosexual. Thus there is no reason to deny anyone who can join this faith because , many Catholics commit sins and no matter the sin (accept blasphemy of the Spirit.), including murder, rape etc all their sins are forgiven through the act of contrition. Thus the Catholic church has allowed many people to join and forgive their sins through their deity, where again sins include crimes like rap and, murder etc all of who are allowed to be accepted as Catholics, so it does not even matter how bad a sin is to the Catholic Church, as any sin bar one can be forgiven

    So basically the Church is contradicting itself, seeking people to believe in Jesus and that he is supposed to have died and rose from the dead to save everyone’s sins. The last I cheeked, everyone meant everyone and if they use this precedent on a sin to deny people joining, then they would have to apply this to any person who has committed a sin and prevent them from being Catholics. It shows the poor logic those within the Catholic Church are applying here to dent people faith.
    I was a Catholic years ago, now atheist.

  • Frank

    How embarrassing that you have little understanding of what you speak.

  • Frank

    Gods Will is never about condoning sinful behavior. Try again.

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