Stupendous news from the Synod on the Family -- a draft document on dealing with gays and those in "irregular" (non-Church-sanctioned) marriages:
"Homosexuals have gifts and qualities to offer the Christian community: are we capable of welcoming these people, guaranteeing to them a further space in our communities? Often they wish to encounter a Church that offers them a welcoming home," said the document, known by its Latin name "relatio".
"Are our communities capable of proving that, accepting and valuing their sexual orientation, without compromising Catholic doctrine on the family and matrimony?" it asked.
While Church marriages clearly were "the ideal" for Catholics, it said, there were "constructive elements in those situations that do not yet or no longer correspond to that ideal".
Catholics used to call such cohabitation arrangements "living in sin", another phrase that bishops at the synod were urged not to use when speaking about these couples.
The very fact that this discussion is being held at all is encouraging. The main threat that faces the Church is from careerists who are bankrupt morally and who use adherence to Church law as a way to advance in rank and influence. Now, Pope Francis has
as opened another path -- one that is line with God's boundless love to all his creatures and that admits the complexities and seeming contradictions of the human person. The injury that has been done in the name of Christ to homosexuals is disgusting, blasphemous and an everlasting stain on the history of the Church. Clearly, the example of loving, committed gay and "irregular" relationships "even to the point of sacrifice" has broken through to the highest levels. Perhaps the Church, that whorish bride of Christ, has allowed herself to be raised out of the gutter of phariseeism and false piety to walk a new road with her Spouse. I am glad that I have lived to see the day. I sometimes think the only reason I remain in the Church is to hold it accountable for its crimes.
And it's not just the ordained who get ahead by crapping on gays and those in unsanctioned relationships. Anyone who feels morally superior -- just because they follow all the Church's petty rules -- is implicated in these sacrileges. We are called to love as Christ loved us. He who came into the world to save it, and not to condemn it, is "honored" by those who judge and condemn in his name. This has got to stop, and it has got to stop now.
Bravo to all, whether in or out of the institution, who have so bravely opposed its unloving, unmerciful and biologically backwards teachings. As I told a gay friend, "you may never be able to forgive the Old Girl for her sins. But I am personally in communion with you, whether we express that in sharing Eucharist or a sacramental meal at a restaurant."
Lord, let us find a way to stop finding personal profit in the needless infliction of pain on our sons and daughters.