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Pope rejects gay marriage in new document, but maybe not gay parenting

Pope rejects gay marriage in new document, but maybe not gay parenting

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Gay Catholic organization Quest has called the Pope’s recent document on modern marriage and family a ‘life-line to LGBT Catholics’, and insists that it does not reject gay parenting.

Amoris Laetitia (‘The Joy of Love’) – a document that outlines Pope Francis’s take on modern family – was published last Friday and overtly supported cardinals and bishops who do not accept gay marriage, as well as seemingly rejecting same-sex parenting. The document asserted that: ‘There are absolutely no grounds for considering homosexual unions to be in any way similar or even remotely analogous to God’s plan for marriage and family.’

However, Terry Weldon, Quest committee member and author of the Queering the Church blog, told Gay Star News that while the text did not equate same-sex marriage with opposite-sex marriage, it was ‘dangerous to read into the document the assumption that same-sex marriage and family are not supported’.

‘A certain stability’

‘It is true that the text says that same-sex unions cannot be equated with marriage,’ Weldon said, ‘but it is not true to extend that lack of support to same-sex relationships, or to families headed by same-sex couples, or to single gay parents.’

He pointed to the passage of the document that read: ‘We need to acknowledge the great variety of family situations that can offer a certain stability.’ Weldon told Gay Star News: ‘[I]t is clear that [same-sex unions are] included among those that “can offer a certain stability”. This will also extend to gay parents. Among many statements about the importance of parenting and the value of adoption, there is nothing against gay parents, or gay adoption.’

Silencing gay critics

It’s not quite an endorsement, but coupled with Pope Francis’s call for better treatment of gay congregants, some might say it is a long-needed step in the right direction. Another passage from the document reads:

We would like before all else to reaffirm that every person, regardless of sexual orientation, ought to be respected in his or her dignity and treated with consideration, while every sign of unjust discrimination is to be carefully avoided, particularly any form of aggression and violence.’

Of this, Weldon said: ‘By insisting on the primary importance of personal conscience, and recognition of the complexity of real-world situations, [Pope Francis] has offered a life-line to LGBT Catholics, and pulled the rug from under our critics. To them he now says: “Who are you to judge?”’

Document contains ‘disappointments’

While admitting the document held ‘many disappointments’, Weldon referred to the Global Network of Rainbow Catholics’ (GNRC) statement that they welcomed ‘the fact that the doors of welcome… have not been slammed shut definitively’.

The GNRC continued: ‘The GNRC is pleased that Pope Francis offers some clues as to where the key might be found, even if it looks more like it might be under the door-mat!’

But there has been strong criticism of the Pope’s comments elsewhere in the gay Catholic community, particularly in regard to the idea that ‘every child deserves a father and a mother’. A major new study released this week that concluded child outcomes are the same whether they are raised by gay parents or opposite-sex parents put paid to that.

The GNRC’s full response to Amoris Laetitia can be read here.

Main image: Aleteia Image Department/ Flickr