Catholic synod makes much needed changes
It is no secret which side of the argument the Roman Catholic Church has historically been on regarding family matters, such as gay marriage and divorce. According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, in article six, the sixth commandment, there is a section regarding homosexuality and chastity in which it states its stance regarding this matter.
“Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity, tradition has always declared that ‘homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered,’” the Catechism states. “They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved.”
From this you can see the church’s somewhat negative perception of homosexuality, but Pope Francis hopes to turn that view to a more accepting light during a two-week assembly that began Monday, consisting of 200 bishops and himself.
These issues regarding family matters, such as gay marriage and divorce, are issues the Catholic Church has held a consistent stance on, which is why Pope Francis calling the meeting is such a revolutionary decision.
An article in The New York Times called the meeting an effort by the pope to “welcome and accept gay people, unmarried couples and those who have divorced, as well as the children of these less traditional families.”
Pope Francis wants the church’s message to be available to everyone independent of the personal background from which they come. This topic of conversation is long overdue, and Francis should be admired for initiating such action.
Archbishop Bruno Forte, the synod’s secretary, commented during a news conference earlier this week on gay marriage and how each person, aside from what outward features they may have, are all children of God.
“The fundamental idea is the centrality of the person independently of sexual orientation,” Forte said.
This is the kind of attitude that the church should already have. Shunning someone from the church because of something out of their control, like being a child of unmarried parents or a homosexual, is wrong and is not a very Christian thing to do.
Christians are seen to be people who are welcoming others and are supposed to help those in need; however, the stance against homsexuality seems to contradict this.
Many of Jesus’ acts were for those cast aside by everyone else, and loving others as you love yourself is a tenet of the Christian message.
There will obviously be an outcry from some of the more conservative Catholics. According to an article in The New York Times, there were 41 objections after the preliminary reading of the 12-page report written by a committee picked by Francis.
Pope Francis is simply a Christian man. He wants to be accepting and he wants to set a new tone regarding the Catholic Church’s stance regarding these matters, which can be seen with his report on Monday.
He has been given certain privileges and powers, but does not let that go to his head and negatively influence his love for others. This synod is the perfect example of how important it is to him that all people be accepted and loved.
The Times article says that these synods rarely produce much substance, but apparently this one has been compared to the Second Vatican Council, which met over 50 years ago and “produced monumental changes in church liturgy, relations with other faiths and the conception of the roles of priests and laypeople.”
When the Second Vatican Council made changes to their views 50 years ago on other religions by having a more understanding attitude toward them, it created a greater sense of tolerance on behalf of the church. This time the meeting also has the potential to change the views on acceptance in family matters for the better.
This may be a little like comparing apples and oranges by comparing the 12-page report of 2014 to one that came out 50 years ago. However, if we look at the impactful outcome 50 years ago, it was undoubtedly a step forward for the Catholic Church and something the assembly has the chance to do here again.
USD is a school that encourages its students to make a positive change in the world. Pope Francis is ultimately trying to create a more accepting world by challenging the Catechism of the Catholic Church with his report. Good for him.